Friday, October 19, 2018

African Americans with Native Americans

During the first half of the 19th Century in the United States, African Americans and Native Americans in some places began bonding together because of their shared enemy, the white man. Slaves in the southernmost states fled south to Florida rather than attempt a longer escape to the north, knowing that the Florida wilderness provided a better opportunity to avoid capture and return to their owners. 

An engraved illustration of a Native
American Indian dance, from a
Victorian book dated 1883
that is no longer in copyright
Some African-Americans came to live with Native Americans in their villages and helped make a living there. Some Native Americans even owned slaves, although the slaves were treated more as farming partners or sharecroppers. The two cultures blended as they worked together to farm the land, hunt game, raise livestock, weave fabrics and baskets, create pottery, share cooking responsibilities, raised children, and shared experiences with one another. 
A U.S. commemorative stamp from
1948 shows the Map of Indian Territory
 & Seals of Five Civilized Tribes

In the course of these relationships, some African-Americans may have been returned to their former masters for bounty payments. However, a sizeable number of them were forced to relocate with members of the Five Civilized Tribes during the Trail of Tears to what now is Oklahoma and other lands set aside for resettlement.

By the start of the Civil War, more than 4,000 former slaves lived in Oklahoma. Some of them even joined and fought with the Union Army. Don't overlook checking records relating to Native Americans to locate your African American ancestors.

Tuesday, October 16, 2018

The Hispanic Reading Room of the Library of Congress

Most genealogists would mistakenly assume that the prestigious genealogy collection of the Library of Congress in Washington, DC, contains only U.S. materials. In fact, the Library of Congress (LOC) has an impressive collection of Hispanic materials in its Hispanic Reading Room. The Room also has its own Web site, available in both English and EspaƱol. The site boasts histories, maps, and excellent online collections of Hispanic, Portuguese and Caribbean materials. The Hispanic Room is open to the public, but a visit to the website at will prepare you for maximizing your research visit.

Friday, October 12, 2018

International Association of Jewish Genealogical Societies

If you are researching your Jewish ancestry, you will want to become associated with Jewish genealogical societies in the U.S. and in the country in which your ancestors originated. Joining such societies may provide the assistance in understanding and locating the available records in that area.  
The International Association of Jewish Genealogical Societies, Inc., (IAJGS) is a non-profit umbrella organization helping to coordinate the activities of national and local Jewish genealogical societies around the world.  Their website at provides information and links to these societies, as well as information about ISJGS.

The Arkansas State Archives Online

The Arkansas History Commission maintains a terrific Web-based index to its extensive state archive.  Included are a huge collection of photographs, in addition to thorough indices of Federal census records for Arkansas, manuscripts, newspapers (with a searchable city or county index of publications and time periods for which issues are available), state government records, county records (with a searchable index), military records (searchable by surname), maps, books and pamphlets, and church and cemetery records.  If you are planning a research trip or simply plan to write to inquire about records, this site is a well-conceived place to begin your preparations. Visit it at