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Researching Soldiers in World War I

Researching Soldiers in World War I

My great-grandfather Lawson Holt served in the Army during World War I. Like most, his were among the records destroyed during the infamous 1973 fire at the National Personnel Records Center. This post shows how it is possible to still find out more information about your ancestor’s military service, even though those files are gone. […]

How Were Slaves Sold?

How Were Slaves Sold?

It is a well-known fact when researching African-American enslaved ancestors that slaves were frequently sold. In fact, many enslaved people had a personal experience of their own sale or that of another family member. It’s recounted in numerous slave narratives, such as this excerpt from Leonard Black’s narrative: “As near as I can remember, my […]

Researching U.S. Colored Troops

Researching U.S. Colored Troops

For many years now, I’ve been interested in researching U.S. Colored Troops who served in Union forces from the communities where my family lived. Almost 200,000 black people, slaves and free blacks, served in the Union Army and Navy. The 1863 Emancipation Proclamation began the process of large-scale recruitment of black men into the service as […]

Slaves Search For Their Families in News...

Slaves Search For Their Families in Newspapers

After emancipation, former slaves placed thousands of ads in newspapers in search of sold-away spouses and children. These ads are just one more source that document the sale of millions of enslaved people. False Reasons Slaveowners conjured up many reasons to justify the buying and selling of people, especially when breaking up families. One was that […]

Tips on Using World War Draft Registrati...

Tips on Using World War Draft Registrations

World War Draft Registrations (World War I and World War II) are some of the most valuable records in genealogy research. These records are especially helpful for researching men born in the late 1870s or 1880s. The lack of a 1890 census record makes that 20-year-gap hard to cross. Read the Details It’s important to […]

Remembering Jim Crow

Remembering Jim Crow

I just finished reading the book Remembering Jim Crow, published in 2001. For those researching African-Americans, we spend a lot of time dealing with the complexity of slave research. I think we all need to pay more attention to the era of segregation. Most of us remember this era or have parents alive who do. […]

Freedmans Bank Records, Part 1

Freedmans Bank Records, Part 1

The Freedman’s Savings and Trust Company is better known as the Freedman’s Bank. Their records are among the most popular for those researching African-American roots. Background Established by Congress in 1865, the Bank was primarily designed for use by the nation’s recently freed four and a half million formerly enslaved people. It eventually grew to […]

The Terror of Reconstruction

The Terror of Reconstruction

The image above is a famous Thomas Nast drawing illustrating Andrew Johnson’s veto of the Freedmens Bureau in 1866. It shows him kicking the “Bureau” and little black people falling out. The drawing may be a funny caricature, but what black people were experiencing was no laughing matter. Violence: The Order of the Day Often […]

Slavery Studies

Slavery Studies

As I have researched more and more enslaved ancestors, I have become more immersed in researching the history of slavery. I have learned so much. Most genealogists are not professional historians. But we can benefit from being familiar with some of the evolution in slavery studies. I encourage anyone researching enslaved people to read at […]

 
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