About ProQuest® African American Heritage
Searching | Browsing | Working with what you find | Contents
We hope that you find ProQuest African American Heritage intriguing, easy to use, but most of all helpful as you look for those who have gone before.
The Homepage and Site Navigation
The homepage includes the elements listed below.
- The main navigation menu. The main navigation menu displays on pages throughout the site. Menu selections include:
- Home — Click to go to the homepage.
- Search — Click to go to the main Search page where you can search all collections, or search specific record collections.
- Browse — Click to go to the global Browse page and browse specific record collections.
- Publications — The area of the site where you can search and browse reference and how-to publications such as books.
- Community — Offers links into AfriGeneas™, a ProQuest partner site where you can engage with a community of African American researchers.
- A utility menu to the right of the main menu. Menu selections include:
- A left sidebar that provides:
- Birth, Marriage, Death records including Marriage records from North Carolina and West Virginia, and Cohabitation records from North Carolina.
- U.S. Federal Census records for every available census year since its inception in 1790. The Federal Census is conducted every ten years. Seventy years must pass before census records for a given year are made available to the public. This means that the most recent census available in ProQuest African American Heritage is 1930.
- Records of the Freedman's Bank (officially the Freedman's Savings and Trust Company), created in 1865 to serve the African American community throughout the United States.
- Military Records provide access to African American draft registrations from World Wars I (1917–1918) and II (1942). NOTE: The World War II draft registrations available here are those for the so-called 'old man's registration' of 1942. The men included in this registration were between the ages of 45 and 64, and although required to register, were deemed too old to serve. This is the only one of seven WWII draft registrations released to the public. Privacy rules will determine when the remaining six registrations become available.
Also available in Military Records are U.S. Colored Troops Service Records. These are the compiled records of volunteer Union soldiers who served with the United States Colored Troops from 1861–1865.
- Slaves and Free(d) Persons of Color registers form an invaluable collection with its roots in the institution of slavery. Although free persons of color were just that, free...that didn't mean that states didn't want to keep track of who was living where. By registering, African Americans of the time had 'papers' that they were required to provide in order to prove they were indeed, free. The registers cover approximately the years 1780 to 1866. The collection currently includes:
- Louisiana — Registers of both freed slaves and persons of color who were born free, having never been enslaved.
- Ohio — Registers of free blacks living in Ohio, most of them former slaves primarily from North Carolina and Virginia.
- Pennsylvannia — Registers of slaves only. The registers frequently include only a first name for individual slaves, along with the full name of the slave owner. A very common practice of the day was for slaves to take the last name of their owner. The Slaves and Free(d) Persons of Color search page allows you to search using the slave owner name.
- Publications, including reference and how-to books. Future releases of ProQuest African American Heritage will expand this library of research material.
- A 'Special Online Edition' of the indispensable reference book Black Genesis: A Resource Book for African American Genealogy. Included as a fully searchable Adobe Acrobat PDF, the book identifies resources in every U.S. state, Canada, and the West Indies. As you explore the book, you can easily visit suggested Internet resources by clicking the corresponding link.
AfriGeneas™, a ProQuest Partner
AfriGeneas is a ProQuest partner site providing access to an active community of researchers interested in African American genealogy. Staffed entirely by volunteers, AfriGeneas offers:
- Live chat with genealogy experts.
- User submitted content including death, slave, and marriage records, as well as photographs.
- Topic-specific community forums.
- ...and more!
Most images used throughout ProQuest African American Heritage are part of the Precious Photos collections at AfriGeneas. ProQuest is grateful for permission to use these compelling images.
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