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Western Pennsylvania Genealogical Society
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We hope that these helpful links will aid you in your research in the WPGS home counties and elsewhere.  Please notify website@wpgs.org if any of these links produce an error message or are no longer available. Thank you!
 
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Researching African American genealogy can be challenging, particularly as you work through records from before the Civil War. The good news is that wonderful resources are becoming more accessible all the time. Post-1870 Research: If you are tracing African American ancestors in records after 1870, your research path looks like the research path of any United States-based family line. Begin with yourself and your immediate family. Work back using standard records, such as censuses and vital and land records. FamilySearch’s online United States Genealogy guide in the FamilySearch wiki is a good place to start. The Transitional Period: For many people tracing African American genealogy, the period during and right after the Civil War is key. In 1860, nearly 4 million enslaved individuals lived in the United States, representing just under 13 percent of the population.
Last Updated: 20 May 2020
AAHGS was founded in 1977 in Washington, DC by a small group of historians and genealogists who felt a need to share resources and methodology for pursuing historical and genealogical research. For more than 35 years, our members have worked together to trace the historical ties that bind us one to another, mold the present, and shape the future. They operate as a national organization with local affiliate chapters. The national organization is responsible for maintaining the website, producing publications, hosting the annual conference, maintaining communications and promoting the work of AAHGS on a national level. Chapters represent “our feet on the ground.” They meet regularly to share historical information and conduct local projects. Members of AAHGS are a diverse group of people of various ages, ethnicities, and professions - all united in their desire to preserve our past as way of enabling our future. The organization is affiliated with the National Genealogical Society and the Federation of Genealogical Societies. AAHGS sponsors and supports projects and programs all over the country, either on a national basis, through our local chapters or through the initiative of individual members. Our members share their knowledge and discoveries by conducting workshops and giving lectures at events for a wide variety of organizations. They have worked with private and parochial school systems, Boy Scouts of America, Black Family Reunion, George Washington University, Federal Departments of Housing and Urban Development, Defense and Justice, Library of Congress, National Archives and Records Administration, U.S. Postal Service, National Park Service, and other historical and genealogical organizations.
Last Updated: 10 October 2019
Emancipation freed nearly 4 million slaves. The Freedmen’s Bureau was established to help transition them from slavery to citizenship, providing food, housing, education, and medical care. And for the first time in U.S. history, the names of those individuals were systematically recorded and preserved for future generations.
Last Updated: 8 March 2019
African American genealogy research can be difficult and sometimes requires thinking outside of the box. There are several resources outside of U.S. Census records that can provide information or clues to further your research.
Last Updated: 10 October 2019
This is the 4,429,408 entries name index of Slave Schedules from the Eighth Census of the United States, 1860. Generally, the census only names the slave owner. Schedules exist for Alabama, Delaware, the District of Columbia, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Mississippi, Missouri, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, and Virginia. The images come from NARA microfilm publication M653.
Last Updated: 23 October 2019