In honor of Black History Month, established in 1926 and celebrated in February, here’s a roundup of resources – websites, blogs, repositories and more – to help you learn more about your family. Each resource listed offers more links to additional information.
Today is also the birthday of African American baseball superstar Henry Louis "Hank" Aaron, born in 1934. A major league baseball icon, Aaron is best known for breaking Babe Ruth's home run record. Read more on Aaron.
For many black families with roots in the Southern US states, research can be frustrating. Although African American genealogy research can get back to the 1880s and much earlier, it is difficult for most researchers. Researching their family trees has been almost impossible, as their ancestors' original names were literally erased. Slaves' African given names were replaced by English names and their surnames were those of their owners.
With the advent of new databases and technological tools, research has become much easier. A growing number of individuals are preparing their family stories and discovering images of their unique history.
The first part of Tracing your Irish Ancestry can be found here.
Although there are strong similarities between the record systems of Britain and Ireland, there are also some very significant differences that need to be taken into account:
- The 1901 and 1911 censuses have long been open for public research in Ireland (and as previously mentioned you can now access the census online at http://www.census.nationalarchives.ie/).
- For the same reason, a range of different sources, known as “census substitutes” acquired an unlikely significance. The most prominent is Griffith’s Primary Valuation, an all-Ireland property survey published county by county between 1848 and 1864. This is one of the most important surviving 19th century genealogical sources.
- Although the Irish county system appears to conform to British practice, place names below the county level are very differently organised and, since most records relate to specific localities, it is necessary to have a clear grasp of these differences when researching.
- Most of the major record categories have starting dates significantly later than their British equivalents.