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The following are 10 excellent sites for exploring an African-American heritage:

1. AfriGeneas

2. The USF Africana Heritage Project
This all-volunteer research project and Web site sponsored by the Africana Studies department at the University of South Florida works to discover records that document the names of slaves, freedpersons and their descendants, and share them online.

3. Freedmen’s Bureau Online
The Bureau of Refugees, Freedmen and Abandoned Lands, generally referred to as the Freedman’s Bureau, was established in the War Department by an act of March 3, 1865 to supervise all relief and educational activities relating to refugees and newly freed slaves. On this site you can find many reports and documents generated by the Freedman’s Bureau, including labor records and marriage records, as well as a comprehensive overview of the Freedman’s Bureau history, the Reconstruction Era, labor contracts and other aspects of African American life after Emancipation.

4. American Memory Collection
This huge collection of documents, photographs, sound recordings, maps, and other records related to African American history and culture is an essential starting point for those interested in learning more about their African American heritage.

5. Civil War Soldiers & Sailors System
Search this free database for information on the 235,000 USCT (Unites States Colored Troops) soldiers, regiments (units), battles, and NPS civil war parks. It also includes histories of 180 USTC units/regiments.

6. Slaveholders and African Americans, 1860-1870
Tom Blake has spent many years identifying the largest slaveholders on the 1860 U.S. census, and matching those surnames to African American households listed in the 1870 census (the first census to enumerate the former slaves by name). He estimates that these large slaveholders held 20-30% of the total number of slaves in the United States in 1860.

7. Free African Americans of Virginia, N Carolina, S Carolina, Maryland & Delaware
Paul Heinegg shares the entire body of his published work on free African Americans online, as found in his books Free African Americans of North Carolina, Virginia and South Carolina and Free African Americans of Maryland and Delaware, including about 2,000 pages of family histories based on colonial court order and minute books, free Negro registers, marriage bonds, census records, etc. You’ll also find hundreds abstracted tax lists.

8. American Slave Narratives – An Online Anthology
A project of the University of Virginia, this database of slave narratives includes a sampling of some of the 2,300+ interviews and photos of former slaves taken between 1936 and 1938 with first-hand accounts of their experiences.

9. African American Cemeteries Online
Search by surname or explore by state to find people buried in African American cemeteries across the United States. Cemetery transcriptions are contributed by volunteers.

10. The African-American Migration Experience
The Schomberg Center for Research in Black Culture presents information on the thirteen defining migrations that formed and transformed African America, including International Slave Trade, Runaway Journeys, the Domestic Slave Trade, Colonization and Emigration, Haitian Immigration, Caribbean Migration, African Migration and African American migration within the United States.

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