For many African Americans, the brick wall beyond 1870 can be one that is insurmountable.  Once you reach and find your people on the 1870 census, the next step for those who may have enslaved ancestors is to try to connect their ancestors to a possible owner and then by researching the owner’s family, you will inadvertently learn more about your ancestor’s life and their life experiences.

Personally, I’ve hit that wall on several lines and have attempted with limited success, been about to learn more about my ancestors prior to 1870.  This lack of success has lead to me seek out resources that speak specifically to the problems facing researching interested in tracing African American lineage before 1870.   So far I’ve encountered 2 books that speak specifically to this topic that I would like to share.  I have not read the books cover to cover (yet) but I am currently reading Slave Genealogy. I hope these resources will help you if you are tackling tracking enslaved African American ancestors. Happy hunting!

The links for the books will link you to the books’ record.

Slave Genealogy

Slave Genealogy: A Research Guide with Case Studies by David H. Streets.







Slave Ancestral


Slave Ancestral Research: It’s Something Else by Mary L. Jackson Fears







Additional Resources

Slave Importation Affidavit Registers

Slave Importation Affidavit Registers for Nine Georgia Counties, 1818 – 1847 by Dawn Watson

If you have or are researching African American ancestors in Camden County, Columbia County, Elbert County, Franklin County, Jackson County, Jasper County, Morgan County, Pulaski County, and Wilkes County, you may want to take a look at this book.  It includes transcriptions of the Slave Importation Registers in the above mentioned counties.  There are also two indexes included in the book.


The Way It Was in the South




The Way It Was in the South:  The Black Experience in Georgia
by Donald L. Grant