It is a common misconception that all people of color who have entered the world of the colonies were subjected to enslavement. Do some research to find your roots and be surprised to find out that you might come from free Negroes during those times. There are various research tools for you to utilize. These research engines and techniques are guaranteed to take you a step nearer to fulfilling your knowledge about your ancestry.
Here are the steps that you could follow in tracing your black ancestry.
- Start with your family. Conduct an interview to as many members as you can, and find out what they already know. Try if your grandparents can remember their grandparents and go as far back as their memories would allow. Any information can be very helpful so be careful in jotting all these down. This pertinent information that you can initially gather will serve as your springboard in starting your search.
- Seek local church records. Grandparents’ and great grandparents’ wedding places usually have marriage certification records that can give away some information about their parents and local dwellings. Usually ancestral names are indicated within this particular document as well as previous addresses.
- Go back to the place where your family came from. This is similar to being in the home base. More likely, records in the town or municipal hall can verify that you are on the right track. Research on where your ancestral family really came from. A lot of Negroes have migrated to other places in search for a better way to live.
- Visit your family’s place in the cemetery. Visit also the cemetery located in your family’s original dwelling. Tombstones can provide some information for narrowing your search.
- Find legal records from courthouses. There is a vast collection of legal and valid documents that a courthouse holds for your research. The courthouse can be a confusing plethora of information. Know when to ask for proper assistance. Start with basic certificates such as births, deaths and weddings. Certificates that existed before the 1860’s can be connected to the “Free Negro” register list. Free Negroes were once ordered to register each and every one of their family members in the place where they have settled. This is especially true in southern jurisdictions. If the courthouse that you are in is located in the southern towns, more likely, you will find valuable information such as this. Once you get hold of the “Free Negro” registration information, you would also encounter some interesting facts pertaining to your ancestor’s release. You will also find in the records whether or not your ancestor has been born free. Aside from that, if the mother’s name is indicated there, you would be able to go back a generation more. Your ancestor’s freedom can be verified by the existence of a witness.
- Go online. There is a wide opportunity for fact finding once you have penetrated various search engines online that offer help in finding your ancestral lineage. One particular site is very useful and reliable among its visitors. This site goes back to the time of 1870, when freed slaves were first listed. With the information they have acquired in various courthouses from various state jurisdiction, a search engine has been formulated that will allow the tracing of Negro families.
Nothing can be more fulfilling than to find answers to your precious existence on earth. The sense of connection that you can achieve once you have made clear your ancestral history will remain unsurpassable with time.