Discover Your African-American Ancestry at the Library
Finding your genealogical roots can be challenging–even more so if your family tree includes people of color. Fortunately, the Fauquier County Public Library has several resources to help you uncover your African-American heritage. Whether you’re just beginning your journey through family history or looking to dig deeper, you’re bound to find a few helpful hints in these resources.
If you’re just getting started, the library has several titles that will help you get your bearings in genealogy research:
- A Genealogist’s Guide to Discovering Your African-American Ancestors by Franklin Carter Smith. This book provides tips to help researchers find and accurately record vital documents for African-American ancestors who lived both after and before the Civil War.
- Black Genesis: A Resource Book for African-American Genealogy by James M. Rose. First published in 1978, this was the first book to outline methods for researching African-American genealogy. It includes information on resources available in each state as well as Canada and the West Indies.
- Black Roots: A Beginner’s Guide to Tracing the African-American Family Tree by Tony Burroughs. This book includes sample histories and details how to use marriage, birth, death and other records to research ancestors who lived between 1870 and the present.
Having trouble finding records about your veteran ancestor? Try these resources:
- Forgotten Patriots by Eric Grundset. Considered to be one of the best resources specific to African-Americans and Native Americans who served in the Revolutionary War, the book includes maps and illustrations along with veteran names.
- Fold3, from Ancestry.com. This resource includes “colored” troop records which you can access for free through the end of February.
If some of your ancestors came from Fauquier County, here are a few resources all about African-American families in Fauquier:
- African Americans of Fauquier County by Donna Tyler Hollie. This is a great resource for photographs and discovering local family names.
- Local Sources for African American Family Historians by Joan W. Peters. Discover Fauquier County court records, census listings, minute books, and more.
- Fauquier County, Virginia Register of Free Negroes by the Afro-American Historical Association of Fauquier County. Between 1793 and 1865, all free African-Americans in Virginia were required to be listed in a registry. Listings include the name of the individual, age and (where available) a description about how the person was freed.
∼ Frances, clerk, Bealeton branch library