February is the month we celebrate Black History Month. Originally called National African American History Month, it is the month we recognize the achievements of African Americans throughout the country and the profound roles they have played in U.S. history. We recognize African American contributions to the arts, the sciences, education, politics and literally every part of the American culture.
This is a time to focus our attention to the individual lives and contributions of well known figures like Martin Luther King, Jr., Louis Armstrong, Rosa Parks, George Washington Carver, Harriet Tubman and so very many more who gave us so what we enjoy today. It is also a time when we show our respect and appreciation to our own African American ancestors by learning about their lives and reading what they did to leave their mark in the pages of American history. It is our obligation to never forget the sacrifices they made and to teach our children who these people were.
As you begin to search out the stories of your ancestors, visit FamilySearch’s African American Records and Research home page to connect with some excellent historical record collections. Some of these collections include:
- United States, Civil War Service Records of Union Colored Troops, 1863-1865
- Freedmans Bank Records, 1865-1874
- Freedmen’s Bureau Marriages, 1815-1869
- Virginia, Freedmen’s Bureau Letters, 1865-1872
Other excellent records include census records, birth, marriage and death records, probate records, family trees and more, depending where one’s ancestors lived.
FamilySearch also includes 11 excellent online classes that cover some aspect of doing African American research. You will discover historical documents and photographs that will shed light on the lives of early African Americans. FamilySearch also includes links to dozens of online websites that provide a wide variety of historical and genealogical resources for genealogists and family historians.
During this month and in the year ahead, visit FamilySearch.org to learn more about your African American heritage and see what you can be proud of.