Black History Month good time to start research

Credit: Special

Credit: Special

Black History Month is always a good time to start your research if you are of African American descent and have not started before.

The January/February issue of Family Tree magazine ( has a great article titled “Black Roots Online” with lots of tips on both how to start as well as what websites are most useful. In the section, “Key Records for Black Genealogy Research,” the writers assume you are starting by interviewing your kin, and thus have some information to work with. So, No. 1 is “Family Memory.”

Then they recommend the U. S. Census online, and supplementing that information with vital records, which are online for certain dates, depending on the state in which your ancestors lived. There you will find birth and death certificates, as well as marriage records (at the county level).

No. 4 is newspapers. With so many digitized nowadays, there can be some good information online. The Freedmen’s Bureau Records from the late 1860s can be very helpful and are now online and being indexed, so they are no. 5. The equally important, but a different source entirely, are the Freedman’s Bank Records where account holders named their parents and their siblings. This can be a gold mine if your kin are found there.

No. 7, the last item, is published history books and biographies. This could include county histories, city histories and biographical books, all depending on where your ancestors lived, and their occupations.

So, check out this magazine for a wealth of other tips, especially websites, and get started. The magazine can also be found via your local library.

Lunch and Learn: Voices Across the Color Line

The Georgia Archives Lunch and Learn lecture for Feb. 10 will feature Paul Crater, from the Atlanta History Center, speaking on “Voices Across the Color Line: An Oral History of the Atlanta Student Movement.” Noon, free, bring your lunch. For further information, check or call 678-364-3710.

Georgia Charter on display at Georgia Archives Feb. 10

In celebration of Georgia Day (Feb. 12), the Georgia Archives will display original copies of the Georgia Royal Charter (1732) and Georgia’s recorded copy of the Declaration of Independence (1776) onsite at the Georgia Archives on Feb. 10 only.

Contact Kenneth H. Thomas Jr., P. O. Box 901, Decatur, Ga. 30031 or