Recently, I was perusing the Library of Congress’ genealogy reading room website. I clicked on the link to “Bibliographies and Guides.” This page includes the guide to African-American Family Histories and Related Works.
Surprisingly, I found one of my ancestral families (a collateral line) on that list! Many of the items were programs from family reunions that people submitted. What a fantastic idea.
There are other guides and indexes available at the link above, such as Searching for Female Ancestors: A Bibliography, Journey Into Your Past: African American Genealogy Resources and Civil War Diaries and Personal Narratives.
The Library of Congress’ Local History and Genealogy Room deserves more attention from genealogists. (I wrote a newer post about how libraries and books in general need more of our focus). The room itself is tiny in comparison to some of its better known cavernous rooms, but the materials this institution holds contains valuable jewels for our research.
In addition to the Genealogy Room, I highly recommend exploring the Map Collection, the Folklore Room and the Newspaper Collections. Their collection of city directories is also excellent.
Update, 8/2019: Be sure to check the excellent digital book collections available online, such as the one at Familysearch, Google Books and Internet Archive. Although these will never substitute for on-site research in person, I do believe in utilizing the Internet in every way.
Be sure to also check the published family histories at your State Archives and local historical societies and libraries. And when you finally write up your own family’s story, donate a copy to the Genealogy and Local History Room.
One day, your descendants just might find it.
I am an engineer by day, but my true passion lies in genealogy. I have been a researcher, writer, lecturer and teacher for over twenty years. This blog is where I share family history methods, resources, tips and advice, with an emphasis on slave research, slavery and its aftermath. This lifelong quest has helped me to better know my family’s past. I’ve taken back– reclaimed– some of that lost memory, especially that of my enslaved ancestors. I hope you’ll sign up to receive my posts—if you do, you’ll get a free PDF with some of my favorite tips! And please do share posts that interest you.