African American Resources for Kansas

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Introduction[edit | edit source]

A list of resources for African American research of ancestors who lived in Kansas.

Online Resources[edit | edit source]

  • 1818-1936 Kansas Births and Christenings, 1818-1936
  • 1840-1935 Kansas Marriages, 1840-1935
  • 1846-1867 U.S., Freedmen’s Bureau Marriage Records, 1846-1867 ($)
  • 1855-1911 Kansas County Marriages, 1855-1911
  • 1861-1872 United States, Freedmen's Bureau Marriages, 1861-1872
  • 1865-1874 Freedman's Bank Records, 1865-1874
  • 1885-1930 Kansas Deaths and Burials, 1885-1930
  • African American Digital Bookshelf - a growing list of digital books on FamilySearch and other websites
  • Discover Freedmen - this site searches all of the Freedmen's Bureau record collections on FamilySearch altogether (and redirects there)
  • Kansas City Public Library: Genealogy
  • Research Strategy[edit | edit source]

    Kansas African American Genealogy

    History[edit | edit source]

    The first African American settlers in Kansas were slaves brought into the area in the years before the Civil War. The few slaves that may have been in Kansas before the Civil War may be listed in the United States Census Slave Schedules. The issue of slavery was heavily contested between the pro-slavery and anti-slavery forces in the state; Kansas was known as "Bleeding Kansas" because of violent clashes between the two groups. Kansas entered the Union as a free state months before the start of the Civil War. During the Civil War, African Americans in Kansas formed volunteer military units to fight against the Confederates. To learn more, see African Americans in Kansas. After the Civil War, Kansas was advertised as a good place for African Americans to settle; the 1859 Kansas Constitution opened the state to all settlers regardless of their ethnic or racial background.[1]

    A large exodus ("Exoduster Movement") of African Americans out of the deep south into Kansas began in 1879. This exodus occurred in part because of recruitment by other African Americans and the prospect of jobs and in part because of the difficult economic times for poor African Americans in the South. Although the Kansas Constitution welcomed settlers of all races, many African Americans faced discrimination from white settlers and also hard economic times. While some African Americans either went back to the South or migrated west into unsettled territory, the majority of African Americans remained in Kansas indefinitely.[2][3]

    Another huge wave of black migration occurred in the 1920s and 1930s. During this time, the mechanization of the cotton and other industries and hard economic times forced many African Americans out of their homes. Jobs in the meat packing industry in Kansas lured many to migrate there.[4]

    To learn more, see these websites:

    To learn more, see these books:

    Resources[edit | edit source]

    Biographies[edit | edit source]

    Cemeteries[edit | edit source]

    Census Records[edit | edit source]

    Church Records[edit | edit source]

    Emancipation Records[edit | edit source]

    Funeral Homes[edit | edit source]

    Genealogies[edit | edit source]

    Land and Property[edit | edit source]

    Plantation[edit | edit source]

    Oral Histories[edit | edit source]

    Other Records[edit | edit source]

    Military Records[edit | edit source]

    Many of those involved in the Civil War moved west after the War.

    Newspapers[edit | edit source]

    Since 1876, African Americans newspapers have been published in Kansas. See African American Newspapers to learn more about these newspapers and find a list of more than 80 African American newspapers.

    Probate Records[edit | edit source]

    Reconstruction Records[edit | edit source]

    Freedman’s Bank[edit | edit source]

    An excellent source is the Freedman’s Savings and Trust Company (visit the African American Freedman's Savings and Trust Company Records page to learn more). This company was created to assist African American soldiers of the Civil War and freed slaves. Freedman’s Savings and Trust Company signature cards or registers from 3 March 1865 to 25 July 1874 may list the name of the depositor, date of entry, age, birthplace, residence, complexion, name of employer or occupation, wife or husband’s name, death information, children’s names, name of father and mother, brothers’ and sisters’ names, remarks, and signature. Early books sometimes contained the name of the former master or mistress and the name of the plantation. Copies of death certificates were sometimes attached to the entries. The collection is organized alphabetically by state, then city where the bank was located, then date the account was established, then account number.

    Online collections of Freedman's Bank records:

    Freedmen's Bureau[edit | edit source]

    The Bureau of Refugees, Freedmen, and Abandoned Lands was created by the US government in 1865 until 1872 to assist former slaves in the southern United States. The Bureau created a wide variety of records extremely valuable to genealogists. Such documents include censuses, marriage records, and medical records. These records often include full names, former masters and plantations, and current residences.[5] For 1865 and 1866, the section on abandoned and confiscated lands includes the names of the owners of the plantations or homes that were abandoned, confiscated, or leased. It gives the county and location, a description of the house, the number of acres owned, and the number of cabins of former slaves. These films do not appear to contain the names of former slaves.

    To find Freedmen's Bureau records:

    Other FamilySearch collections not included:

    Visit the African American Freedmen's Bureau Records page to learn more about utilizing these records.

    School Records[edit | edit source]

    Slavery Records[edit | edit source]

    Vital Records[edit | edit source]

    Birth[edit | edit source]

    Marriage[edit | edit source]

    The Freedmen's Bureau (1865-1872) was created by the US government to assist former slaves in the southern United States. One of their responsibilities was to record the marriages (past and present) of the former slaves. These records can be found in the collections below and include the lists of marriages that occurred previously, marriage certificates, and marriage licenses. The information contained on the records may include the name of the husband and wife/groom and bride, age, occupation, residence, year or date of marriage, by whom, number of children, and remarks.

    Death[edit | edit source]

    Divorce[edit | edit source]

    Voting Registers[edit | edit source]

    Archives and Libraries[edit | edit source]

    The Kansas African American Museum
    601 N Water
    Wichita, Kansas 67203
    Phone: 316-262-7651

    Midwest Genealogy Center
    3440 S. Lee's Summit Road
    Independence, Missouri 64055-1923
    Phone: 816-252-7228

    Wichita Public Library
    711 W. 2nd
    Wichita, KS 67203
    Phone: (316) 261-8500

    Societies[edit | edit source]

    The Kansas Genealogical Society & Online Library
    2601 Central Ave, LL Suite 17
    Dodge City, Kansas 67801

    References[edit | edit source]

    1. "African Americans in Kansas," Kansas Historical Society,, accessed 16 August 2018.
    2. "Museum - African American History," Kansas Historical Society,, accessed 16 August 2018.
    3. "African Americans in Kansas," Kansas Historical Society,, accessed 16 August 2018.
    4. "African Americans in Kansas," Kansas Historical Society,, accessed 16 August 2018.
    5. "African American Records: Freedmen's Bureau," "African American Heritage," National Archives, accessed 11 May 2018.