African American Resources for Florida

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Introduction[edit | edit source]

A list of resources for researching African American ancestors in Florida.

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Online Resources[edit | edit source]

Record Collections

  • 1830-1993 Florida Marriages, 1830-1993 at FamilySearch — How to Use this Collection
  • 1865-1872 United States Freedmen's Bureau Miscellaneous Records, 1865-1872 at FamilySesarch — How to Use this Collection
  • 1865-1872 United States Freedmen's Bureau, Records of Freedmen, 1865-1872 at FamilySearch — How to Use this Collection
  • 1865-1874 United States, Freedman's Bank Records, 1865-1874 at FamilySearch — How to Use this Collection
  • 1867-1945 Florida, State Census, 1867-1945 at Ancestry ($)
  • 1877-1939 Florida Deaths, 1877-1939 at FamilySearch; index — How to Use this Collection
  • 1880-1935 Florida Births and Christenings, 1880-1935 at FamilySearch; index — How to Use this Collection
  • 1880-1935 Florida Death Index, 1877-1998 at FamilySearch; index — How to Use this Collection
  • 1885 Florida, State Census, 1885 at Ancestry ($)
  • 1900-1921 Florida Deaths and Burials, 1900-1921 at FamilySearch; index — How to Use this Collection
  • 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)

  • Lists of Sources

  • Florida African American Cemeteries - list of cemeteries and tombstones
  • Lowcountry Africana is dedicated to documenting the family and cultural heritage of African Americans in the historic rice-growing areas of South Carolina, Georgia and extreme northeastern Florida.
  • Florida African American Heritage
  • Access Genealogy: Florida African American Genealogy
  • Genealogy Center: African American Gateway - contains links to societies, transcriptions of manuscripts, and a good bibliography of Florida books concerning African Americans.
  • African American Griots has links to military, cemeteries, censuses, vital records, etc.

  • Research Strategy[edit | edit source]

    History[edit | edit source]

  • Florida Memory, The Black Experience: A Guide to African American Resources in the State Library and Archives of Florida (accessed 6 April 2012).
  • Brown, Canter, Jr. Florida's Black Public Officials, 1867-1924, (Tuscaloosa, Alabama:University of Alabama Press, c1998). FHL book 975.9 D34b
  • Richardson, Joe Martin. African Americans in the reconstruction of Florida, 1865-1877. ( Tuscaloosa;: University of Alabama Press, [2008]). Find at a library near you.
  • Resources[edit | edit source]

    Biographies[edit | edit source]

  • Access Genealogy. Florida Slave Narratives. (accessed 6 July 2012). Interviews with former slaves done during the 1930s.
  • Cemeteries[edit | edit source]

    • Access Genealogy: Florida African American Cemeteries. This is a list of African American cemeteries in many of the counties in Florida. Some have links to transcripts of the tombstones in the cemetery.
    • Mel Fisher Maritime Heritage Society. Key West African Cemetery. This report details the evidence of an African cemetery at Higgs Beach in Key West, Florida, and describes how it was located. Includes facsimiles of historical records, maps, and photos. In 1860, the U.S. Navy intercepted three American-owned slave ships taking Africans to Cuba. Now refugees, the Africans were taken to Key West before being sent to Liberia. Many died and were buried at Higgs Beach.

    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]

    Sankofagen: Florida plantations and slave labor sites

    Law and Legislation[edit | edit source]

    Oral Histories[edit | edit source]

    Other Records[edit | edit source]

    Military Records[edit | edit source]

    • Documents Relating to the Military and Naval Service of Blacks Awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor from the Civil War to the Spanish-American War, (Washington [District of Columbia]:The National Archives, 1973), on 4 microfilm reels (now digitized) - FHL films 1601548-1601551.

    Newspapers[edit | edit source]

    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.[1] 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:

    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]

    African-American Research Library and Cultural Center
    2650 Sistrunk Boulevard
    Fort Lauderdale, FL 33311
    Phone: (954) 357-6282
    Website: Library and Cultural Center
    There are branches in various locations. They have resources with information on local history and books from Africa, the Caribbean and North and South America.

    Africana Heritage Project
    University of South Florida (USF)
    4202 East Fowler Avenue
    Tampa, Florida 33620
    Website: Africana Heritage Project
    Their mission "is to rediscover precious records that document the names and lives of former slaves, freed persons and their descendants, and share those records on this free Internet site."

    Carol E. Mundy African American Cultural and Diasporic Research Center
    University of Central Florida
    Building: CNH110
    4000 Central Florida Blvd
    Orlando, Florida 32816
    Phone: (407) 823-0026
    Website: Cultural and Diasporic Research Center
    The research center promotes the study of African American history and research the history that pertains to the central Florida area.

    Meek-Eaton Black Archives
    Florida A&M University
    445 Gamble Street
    Tallahassee, Florida 32307
    Phone: (850) 599-3020
    Website: Meek-Eaton Black Archives
    The majority of the archival holdings are records about the history of Africans and African Americans, especially their institutions and organizations, with an impressive holding of manuscripts, rare books, journals, magazines, maps, newspapers, and photographs.

    State Library and Archives of Florida
    R.A. Gray Building, Second Floor
    500 South Bronough Street
    Tallahassee, Florida 32399-0250
    Phone: (850) 245-6600
    Website: State Library and Archives of Florida
    The Archives is the central repository for the state government. It collects historically significant records, including private manuscripts.

    Societies[edit | edit source]

    Afro-American Historical and Genealogical Society
    Central Florida Chapter
    P.O. Box 1347
    Orlando, Florida 32802-1347
    Website: Afro-American Historical and Genealogical Society

    Florida African American Heritage Preservation Network
    P.O. Box 4261
    Tallahassee, Florida 32315
    Telephone: (850) 681-7881
    Website: Heritage Preservation Network
    "Its mission is to promote the preservation of African American landmarks and legacies...". It has a directory of Florida African-American museums with links to their websites.

    References[edit | edit source]

    1. "African American Records: Freedmen's Bureau," "African American Heritage," National Archives, accessed 11 May 2018.