African American Resources for New York
A list of resource for researching African American ancestors who lived in New York.
Archives and Libraries
Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture
515 Malcolm X Boulevard
New York, NY 10037-1801
Estate papers, 1817 of Brush, Ichabod, d. 1809. Mentions James Williams. Queens Borough Public Library Long Island Division 89-11 Merrick Blvd., Jamaica, N.Y. 11432
Wilson and Jane Rantus papers, ca. 1830-1890 Largely bills submitted by individuals and the village and town government. Letters written to Wilson Rantus from Thomas Hamilton, pioneer black journalist, 1854-1861. Other items include insurance policies for private homes, and estate papers.
"Genealogical history of black families of Orange County, New York" by Robert W. Brennan
- Patriots of Color. Free database at Archives.com. Includes details about 50 black New Yorkers in the Revolutionary War.
- "Honoring New York’s Forgotten Soldiers: African-Americans of the Civil
War: With Research Examples A-Z: A Case Study in Historiographic Genealogy" by Harry Bradshaw Matthews
African American slavery was common in New York during the colonial period. Hoff prepared a guide for tracing African American colonists:
- Hoff, Henry B. "Researching African-American Families in New Netherland and Colonial New York and New Jersey," The New York Genealogical and Biographical Record, Vol. 136, No. 2 (Apr. 2005):83-95. Digital version at New York Family History ($); FHL Book 974.7 B2n v. 136.
A law passed 29 March 1799 declared that "any child born of a slave after the 4th of July next shall be deemed to be born free." Owners discovered a loophole to keep these children enslaved by registering them in certain counties. Such lists have been located and published for the Town of Castleton (Richmond County), Kings County, and New York County.
Several lists of manumitted slaves have been discovered and published:
- 1700s-1810s - Eichholz, Alice and James M. Rose. "New York State Manumissions," The New York Genealogical and Biographical Record, Masters' Surnames A-B: Vol. 108, No. 4 (Oct. 1977):221-225; Masters' Surnames C-D: Vol. 109, No. 1 (Jan. 1978):22-24; Masters' Surnames E-I: Vol. 109, No. 2 (Apr. 1978):71-74; Masters' Surnames J-N: Vol. 109, No. 3 (Jul. 1978):145-149; Masters' Surnames O-S: Vol. 109, No. 4 (Oct. 1978):229-233; Masters' Surnames T-Z: Vol. 110, No. 1 (Jan. 1979):39-42. Digital version at New York Family History ($); FHL Book 974.7 B2n v. 109-110.
- "A History of Negro Slavery in New York" by Edgar J. Mcmanus.
- "The Free Negro in New York City in the Era before the Civil War" by Rhoda Golden Freeman
- "Voices from the front line : New York's African American statesmen of the Underground Railroad Freedom Trail : and the United States Colored Troops organized in the Empire State, 1863-1865 : roll call, men of the 20th USCT and 26th USCT : introductory essay and research guide" by Harry Bradshaw.
- African-American Heritage in Buffalo & Erie County
- African American History of Western New York
- Afro-Americans in New York Life and History
- Life Stories: Profiles of Black New Yorkers During Slavery and Emancipation
- Dick Eastman, "Archives.com to Publish the Patriots of Color Database," Eastman's Online Genealogy Newsletter, 24 February 2012, http://blog.eogn.com/eastmans_online_genealogy/2012/02/archivescom-to-publish-the-patriots-of-color-database.html.
- Alice Eichholz and James M. Rose, "Slave Births in Castleton, Richmond County, New York," The New York Genealogical and Biographical Record, Vol. 110, No. 4 (Oct. 1979):196. Digital version at New York Family History ($); FHL Book 974.7 B2n v. 110.