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Researching African American Genealogy in Alabama: A Resource Guide

Researching African American Genealogy in Alabama: A Resource Guide

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Researching African American Genealogy in Alabama: A Resource Guide

Länge:
194 Seiten
1 Stunde
Herausgeber:
Freigegeben:
May 1, 2008
ISBN:
9781603060943
Format:
Buch

Beschreibung

Over the past two decades, in workshops and personal consultations, thousands of persons have have received the expertise and knowledge of author Frazine Taylor about Alabama genealogical research. In addition, she has taught the art to hundreds of students. As Dr. James Rose notes, all genealogists looking for the family tree in Alabama sooner or later come across Frazine. And now they have her book, Researching African American Genealogy in Alabama: A Resource Guide. In the book, she provides the information and guidance to help locate the resources available for researching African American records in archives, libraries, and county courthouses throughout the state. The idea for this guidebook rose out of her lecturing throughout the country and having noticed that reference guides on African American family history resources seemed to exist for every state except Alabama. This was regrettable not merely for researchers on African American history in Alabama. In fact, Alabama’s records play an especially important role in U.S. family history research because of the migration patterns of Alabama’s freedmen, first to urban areas of Alabama and then to northern cities, a trend that continued throughout the first part of the twentieth century.
Herausgeber:
Freigegeben:
May 1, 2008
ISBN:
9781603060943
Format:
Buch

Über den Autor

Frazine K. Taylor is a former Peace Corps volunteer and administrator who served in the Fiji Islands and traveled extensively in the South Pacific before she obtained her Master in Information Studies degree from Atlanta University. She has over twenty years experience as a librarian, archivist, lecturer and writer and has received numerous awards during her career including Employee of the Year from the Alabama State Employee Association. She is the former Head of Reference for the Alabama Department of Archives and History (ADAH) and was an expert on Alabama records at ADAH. Ms. Taylor is a member of the Afro-American Historical and Genealogical Society and serves on the Editorial Board of the Journal of the Afro-American Historical and Genealogical Society. She is the President of the Elmore County Association of Black Heritage, Chair of the Black Heritage Council of the Alabama Historical Commission, a member of BBAAGHS and of the Society of Alabama Archivists, and serves on the Board of Directors of the Alabama Historical Association. Ms. Taylor is the author of Researching African American Genealogy in Alabama: A Resource Guide (2008) and researched Tom Joyner’s and Linda Johnson Rice’s family roots and ties to Alabama for the PBS series, African American Lives 2.

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Buchvorschau

Researching African American Genealogy in Alabama - Frazine Taylor

Researching African American Genealogy in Alabama

A Resource Guide

Compiled and Edited by

Frazine K. Taylor

Foreword by Dr. James M. Rose

NewSouth Books

Montgomery

NewSouth Books

P. O. Box 1588

Montgomery, AL 36102

Copyright 2008 by Frazine Taylor. All rights reserved under International and Pan-American Copyright Conventions. Published in the United States by NewSouth Books, a division of NewSouth, Inc., Montgomery, Alabama.

ISBN-13: 978-1-60306-044-8

eBook ISBN: 978-1-60306-094-3

LCCN: 2008027480

Visit www.newsouthbooks.com.

In memory of my parents,

John L. Jones and Martha Odessa Blowe Jones

Contents

Foreword

Preface

Introduction: How to Use This Book

Section I: An Overview

Chapter 1: How to Begin

Chapter 2: Oral History

Chapter 3: Official Records

Chapter 4: Migration Patterns

Chapter 5: Records Pertaining to Slavery in Alabama

Chapter 6: Historical Preservation and Family history

Chapter 7: Freedmen’s Bureau in Alabama

Section II: Selective Records Survey of Alabama’s Sixty-Seven Counties

Chapter 8: Introduction to County Records

Appendix A: Alabama Military Discharge Papers

Appendix B: 1833 Alabama Slave Laws Codified

Appendix C: 1852 Alabama Slave Laws Codified

Appendix D: African American Civilian Conservation Corps in Alabama

Appendix E: Freedmen’s Bureau: Alabama (organized by Shamele C. Jordon)

Acknowledgments

Index

About the Author

Foreword

Dr. James M. Rose

Hundreds of patrons have received the expertise and knowledge of Frazine Kennett Jones Taylor about Alabama genealogical research. In addition, she has taught the art to hundreds of students. All genealogists looking for the family tree in Alabama sooner or later come across Frazine.

They now have this great resource by her. This guide will help researchers to locate the resources available for researching African American records in archives, libraries, and county courthouses throughout the state.

Preface

Location! Location! Location! That catchphrase popularized by the real estate community fits with the underlying theme in this book about researching African American family history in Alabama. As the genealogy bug attacks more and more African Americans, resource location almost always becomes one of the critical needs in their research process. Throughout this book, I will be using the terms family history, genealogy, family historians, and sometimes genealogist. In their book Black Genesis, James Rose and Alice Eichholz gave us an insight into how genealogists breathe life into family history:

Genealogy is primarily a quest for identity, not in terms of name or status (although it has been used that way sometimes), but as a basis for understanding the psychological, social, political and economic forces that influenced us through our parents, grandparents, great-grandparents, and family life in general.

Formal instruction on how to research a family’s history plays an important role in tracking down the branches of the family tree, however, nothing beats the resource that maps the way. The idea for this guidebook rose out of my lecturing throughout the country and having noticed that reference guides on African American family history resources seemed to exist for every state except Alabama. Books like Black Roots in Southeastern Connecticut, 1650–1900, by James M. Rose and Barbara W. Brown, and Free African-Americans of North Carolina, Virginia and South Carolina by Paul Heinegg are among the fastest growing state resources that I have seen. Whereas, Alabama’s African American resource information had remained only a chapter in many of the basic family history resource books.

This was regrettable not merely for researchers on African American history in Alabama. In fact, Alabama’s records play an especially important role in U.S. family history research because of the migration patterns of Alabama’s freedmen, first to urban areas of Alabama and then to northern cities, a trend that continued throughout the first part of the twentieth century. Florette Henri states in Black Migration: Movement North, 1900–1920, By 1917–1918 they were pouring into northern cities, especially those with heavy industries, so that Detroit’s black population in 1920 was eight times as great as in 1910; Cleveland’s was four times as great, and Chicago’s was two and one-half times as great.

The flight of blacks from the Southern states scattered families and today makes it a challenge—but not an impossibility—to research African American family history. This resource guide is intended to help identify and locate the resources for researching African American records in archives, libraries, and county courthouses throughout the state of Alabama.

Introduction

How to Use This Book

When using this book, you will notice that I mention many materials that can be found at the Alabama Department of Archives and History and at the courthouses in Alabama’s sixty-seven counties. The bibliographies at the end of each chapter are by no means exhaustive but rather are a place for starting your research.

The first section of the book reveals pointers on beginning and researching a family history. The book is arranged so that the reader can review aspects of research and receive additional clues, but I can’t overemphasize that the book is by no way comprehensive in the overall study of all of the records pertaining to African Americans in Alabama.

In the second section, on the county records, I have listed the names of the records, the county location, and, if warranted, what information the records contain, especially if the listing appears to be a new discovery. You will find a few illustrations of records that needed further explanation—an image was the best way to make certain that the information was clear to the reader. Abbreviations are seldom used and when they are an explanation follows.

I have used Internet references cautiously because the Internet is rapidly evolving and Internet addresses are changing so fast that even as you read this book, some of the URLs listed may have already changed. The Internet is just another research tool; use it with care and verify what you learn with additional documentation from other sources. The most helpful Internet search strategy is to use a number of search engines, such as www.mmama.com, (which claims to be the mother of all search engines) or www.dogpile.com. These search engines simultaneously search several other engines, such as Google, Yahoo, etc., so that your results will be from several engines by doing just one initial search. This is not a foolproof method and references are always missed! That is why it is necessary to have a list of each search engine and an explanation of the search methodology, which usually can be found on the site’s own web page. Always look for related sites about your subjects when using the Internet. My recommendation for a general all-around Internet site on records and information on African Americans is AfriGeneas.com. This site is devoted to African American genealogy and to researching African ancestry in the Americas.

The Internet has made genealogy research a lot less intimidating because of the instant availability of records—information that previously was accessible only through archives, libraries, or repositories. Genealogists as a group are never satisfied until they have researched and located all available records. The very existence of a massive storehouse of online data that conventional search engines such as Google or Yahoo cannot penetrate boggles the mind. This information is buried in databases and other research resources and is referred to as the invisible web, hidden web, or deep web. For genealogists, this is indeed another resource that can be tapped for information not found by using the usual search methods.

Let me explain what happens when we look for family history information on the Web. We use the conventional search engines such as the ones mentioned above, but these search engines will not retrieve resources in specialized searchable databases because of the way web pages are indexed. These resources exist by the thousands and is estimated five hundred times larger than the surface web, which is estimated at over four billion pages.[1] The Internet search engines are giant databases of words automatically maintained around the clock by small computer programs called spiders, bots, or robots that use HTML (hypertext markup language) for indexing. These programs randomly search the contents of web pages indexing web page addresses as they go. This makes it easy for search engines to retrieve data on demand. When a search engine comes to a page in the invisible web it can record the address, but it cannot tell you what information the site contains. Why? Because of the technical barriers and/or deliberate decisions of site owners not to include their sites’ information for conventional search engines to gather.

Why can’t these pages be retrieved by a search engine? Because some sites may be made up of a data type that cannot be indexed, such as graphics, CGI scripts, or PDF files, or the sites may require registration or log-in, such as ancestry.com or AfriGeneas.com. For the most part the invisible web is made up of information stored in databases. It has been suggested that in order to locate such web resources, one should add the word database to a conventional search engine question.

I have briefly discussed the invisible web because I think it is important to be knowledgeable about other tools/resources that can be utilized for family history research and to know that you must search the information differently. The fact that the usual search engines search only a very small part of the Internet makes it necessary to find other ways to access the deep web. I encourage you to learn more about this valuable resource.

There are useful general gateways into the invisible web for beginners. Direct Search (www.freepint.com/gary/direct.htm), Gary Price’s Invisible Web Directory (websearch.about.com/od/whatistheinternet/a/usewww_2.htm), and Virtual Library are examples.

[1] "Searching

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