African American Resources for New York

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Introduction[edit | edit source]

A list of resource for researching African American ancestors who lived in New York.

Online Resources[edit | edit source]

Research Strategy[edit | edit source]

History[edit | edit source]

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.[1]

Several lists of manumitted slaves have been discovered and published:

  • 1659-1846 - O'Neill, Terri Bradshaw. "Manumissions and Certificates of Freedom in the New York Secretary of State Deeds," The New York Genealogical and Biographical Record, Vol. 139, No. 1 (Jan. 2008):72-73. Digital version at New York Family History ($); FHL Book 974.7 B2n v. 139.
  • Record of Slave Manumissions in New York During the Colonial and Early National Periods. By Harry B. Yoshpe, University of the State of New York, State Education Department, Albany. Journal of Negro History Vol. 26 January, 1941 No. 1 pages 78-107
  • 1700s-1810s - Eichholz, Alice and James M. Rose. "New York State Manumissions," The New York Genealogical and Biographical Record, Masters' Surnames A-B: Vol. 108, No. 4 (Oct. 1977):221-225; Masters' Surnames C-D: Vol. 109, No. 1 (Jan. 1978):22-24; Masters' Surnames E-I: Vol. 109, No. 2 (Apr. 1978):71-74; Masters' Surnames J-N: Vol. 109, No. 3 (Jul. 1978):145-149; Masters' Surnames O-S: Vol. 109, No. 4 (Oct. 1978):229-233; Masters' Surnames T-Z: Vol. 110, No. 1 (Jan. 1979):39-42. Digital version at New York Family History ($); FHL Book 974.7 B2n v. 109-110.
  • "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.

Resources[edit | edit source]

Biographies[edit | edit source]

Cemeteries[edit | edit source]

Census Records[edit | edit source]

Church Records[edit | edit source]

Emancipation Records[edit | edit source]

Funeral Homes[edit | edit source]

Genealogies[edit | edit source]

"Genealogical History of Black Families of Orange County, New York" by Robert W. Brennan

Land and Property[edit | edit source]

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. 1830-1890Largely 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.

Plantation[edit | edit source]

Oral Histories[edit | edit source]

Other Records[edit | edit source]

Railroad

Inventory of the Blacks in the Railroad Industry Collection, 1946-1954

Military Records[edit | edit source]

  • Patriots of Color. Free database at Archives.com. Includes details about 50 black New Yorkers in the Revolutionary War.[2]

Newspapers[edit | edit source]

Probate Records[edit | edit source]

Reconstruction Records[edit | edit source]

Freedman’s Bank[edit | edit source]

Freedmen's Bureau[edit | edit source]

School Records[edit | edit source]

Slavery Records[edit | edit source]

Vital Records[edit | edit source]

Birth[edit | edit source]

Marriage[edit | edit source]

Death[edit | edit source]

Divorce[edit | edit source]

Voting Registers[edit | edit source]

Archives and Libraries[edit | edit source]

Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture
515 Malcolm X Boulevard
New York, NY 10037-1801
(212) 491-2200

Cornell University
Ithaca, NY 14853
Carl A. Knoch Library Division of Rare and Manuscript Collections
Samuel J. May Anti-Slavery Collection

Societies[edit | edit source]

References[edit | edit source]

  1. 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.
  2. 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.


References[edit | edit source]