by Dawne February is Black History Month and the Genealogy Center can be your “gateway” to many resources for African American genealogy research. In conjunction with the International Black Genealogy Summit held here in October 2009, the Genealogy Center unveiled the African American Gateway, a collection of thousands of Internet links for African American research grouped by state, coupled with bibliographical notes for books and films in the Center’s collection. Specific to the Hoosier state is Indiana’s African American Settlements, a database of more than 7,000 names of individuals who lived in the communities settled by free and formerly enslaved African Americans who moved north into Indiana in large numbers from the 1830s to the 1870s. Digital photos and record images are linked to some of these individuals. Those with Allen County, Indiana, roots will want to check the African-American Resources available in the Ethnic Resources category on the Genealogy Center’s website. Included are extracts from birth, marriage and death records, the federal census, city directories and World War I draft registration cards. All of these resources are updated regularly, so check back often for new material! Several of the large subscription databases include African American research collections. For most of these, researchers must be in the Genealogy Center or at one of the Allen County Public Library’s branch locations to gain access. However, Footnote.com’s Black History area boasts “more than a million photographs and documents found nowhere else on the Internet,” and currently allows free access. Resources that onsite visitors to the Genealogy Collection can access and some of their features include:
  • Ancestry.com’s Celebrating African American Family History – family trees, slave narratives, information about U.S. Colored Troops during the Civil War, photographs, and the option of searching federal census schedules by limiting the race category to people of color.
  • ProQuest’s African American Heritage – World War I and II draft registration cards, Freedman’s Bank records, the AfriGeneasTM Community social networking site, and the Black Genesis state-by-state resource guide.
  • Heritage Quest Online – Another resource for Freedman’s Bank records.
Log on to the website or visit us onsite to celebrate Black History Month with the Genealogy Center!