When researching an African American family, start by using the same sources as other researchers (see our Genealogy & Local History section for more information). This guide focuses on additional resources of special interest for African American families.
Separate “Slave Schedules” were created as part of the 1850 and 1860 censuses. The slave schedules do NOT include the names of the slaves. They list the name of the slave owner and give details on the number of slaves owned by age and sex.
For more information on censuses, see our research guides on the topic:
Between 1936 and 1938, writers and journalists working for the Works Progress Administration interviewed over 2300 former slaves. (It appears that none of the people interviewed were from Gaston or Lincoln Counties.) These interviews are available in several ways with different approaches to searching:
The “Bureau of Refugees, Freedmen and Abandoned Lands” also known as the Freedmen’s Bureau, was formed at the end of the Civil War. The Freedmen’s Bureau created many records containing the names of newly freed slaves in the period before the 1870 census. Records include labor contracts between planters and freedpeople, apprenticeship disputes and complaints, court, education, ration,transportation, hospital, marriage, and more.
The Freedman's Savings and Trust Company was an institution where former slaves and their dependents could place and save their money. The bank branches were primarily in large and coastal cities.
List of Free African Americans in the Revolution: Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Maryland and Delaware by Paul Heinegg "Over 420 African Americans who were born free during the colonial period served in the Revolution from Virginia. Another 400 who descended from free-born colonial families served from North Carolina, 40 from South Carolina, 60 from Maryland, and 17 from Delaware."
Go to: http://www.freeafricanamericans.com/revolution.htm
Also family history of colonial militia and French and Indian War soldiers by Paul Heinegg. "There were over 75 free African Americans in colonial militias and French and Indian Wars in Virginia, North and South Carolina."
Go to: http://www.freeafricanamericans.com/Virginia_NC.htm
Ancestry Library Edition "U.S., African American Newspapers, 1829-1947" contains issues of African-American newspapers printed in the 19th and early 20th century. (Available in Library)
929.375 WYN NCC. North Carolina extant voter registrations of 1867, by Frances Holloway Wynne.
FamilySearch.org has the North Carolina, Voter Registers and Certificates of Registration, 1868-1964. Index and images of voter registration lists and certificates of permanent registration from various counties in North Carolina.
Go To: https://www.familysearch.org/search/collection/3326982
Ancestry Library Edition contains the African American Collection which includes many data collections.
(Available in all library branches)
Go to: https://fold3library.proquest.com/barcode?accountid=11047 Log into Fold3 with your library card or visit library branch.
Author: Gaston County Public Library
Title: African American Genealogical Research
Revised: 1 February 2022
©Copyright 2021, Gaston County Public Library. All Rights Reserved.