African American Resources for Massachusetts

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African American Resources

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Introduction

Online Resources

Research Strategy

History

To learn about the history and end of slavery in Massachusetts, see "African Americans and the End of Slavery in Massachusetts".

Resources

Biographies

Cemeteries

Census Records

Church Records

Emancipation Records

Funeral Homes

Genealogies

Land and Property

Plantation

Oral Histories

Other Records

Military Records

Newspapers

Probate Records

Reconstruction Records

Freedman’s Bank

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

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

Slavery Records

Vital Records

Birth

Marriage

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

  • Massachusetts Deaths, 1841-1915 - information may include name, death date and place, age, residence, gender, race, marital status, spouse, birthplace, cause of death, parents and their birthplaces, and burial date and place

Divorce

Voting Registers

Archives and Libraries

Museum of African American History
46 Joy Street
Beacon Hill
Boston, MA
Phone: 617.725.0022

Societies

Massachusetts Historical Society
1154 Boylston Street
Boston, MA 02215-3695
Phone: 617.536.1608

Includes a web presentation entitled "African Americans and the End of Slavery in Massachusetts".

References

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