African American Court Records
Court records in county courthouses or federal district courthouses can contain genealogy. Such records include court docket books, court minute books, and court case files in the court clerk's office. Federal court records more than thirty years old are moved to the National Archives which serve that court's state.
State Government Records Petitions can be a source of genealogical information. Some blacks petitioned their state, asking for special help. (For example, a law was passed in the Republic of Texas in 1840, requiring all free blacks to leave by 1842. Some blacks petitioned the Republic, and were allowed to stay.)
The Digial Library on American Slavery provides information about slaves, slaveholders, and free people of color. This website provides acess to information gathered and analyzed over and eighteen-year period from petitions to southern legislatures and cournty courts filed between 1775 and 1867 in fifteen slaveholding states in the United States and the District of Columbia. This is a free resource provided from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro library.
The book (975 F23s): State Slavery Statutes: Guide to the Microfiche Collection. by Paul Finkelman. This book includes index by subjects, names and geographic locations. State slave statutes for the states of Alabama, Arkansas, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Mississippi, Missouri, North Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, and Virginia.
The Family History Library has the 354 microfiche collection of State Slavery Statutes, typescript original records created by the General Assembles of the states. The records are the acts of laws. Published by University Publications of America.
State Slavery Statutes
|State||Family History Library Fiche #||Number of Fiche|
|Alabama, ca. 1818-1865||6118902||22 fiche|
|Arkansas, ca. 1818-1864||6118903||8 fiche|
|Delaware, ca. 1790-1865||6118904||13 fiche|
|Florida, ca. 1822-1865||6118905||16 fiche|
|Georgia, ca. 1789-1865||6118906||31 fiche|
|Kentucky, ca. 1792-1856||6118907||38 fiche|
|Louisiana, ca. 1804-1865||6118908||34 fiche|
|Maryland, ca. 1789-1865||6118909||35 fiche|
|Mississippi, ca. 1799-1865||6118910||31 fiche|
|Missouri, ca. 1813-1865||6118911||17 fiche|
|North Carolina, ca. 1789-1865||6118912||19 fiche|
|South Carolina, ca. 1789-1865||6118913||31 fiche|
|Tennessee, ca. 1795-1865||6118914||16 fiche|
|Texas, ca. 1836-1864||6118915||10 fiche|
|Virginia, ca. 1789-1865||6118916||33 fiche|
Civil Court Records from Other Parishes, 1700s-1900, will include successions, marriages, and conveyance (deed) records. The latter include sales of slaves as well as sales of land. Slaves sometimes sued their owners in county court for mistreatment.
Registers of Slaves or Free Negroes Before the Civil War
Some states required free blacks to have a certificate. Some state required slave registration. Such records can be found in some county courthouses, state libraries, archives, or historical societies.