Black History Month at FamilySearch

Fam­il­y­Search made the fol­low­ing announce­ment on Monday:

Salt Lake City—This month, mil­lions of indi­vid­u­als of African descent are cel­e­brat­ing Black His­to­ry Month by explor­ing their fam­i­ly his­to­ry roots. In the U.S., Fam­il­y­Search vol­un­teers have been busy help­ing dig­i­tize his­toric doc­u­ments and cre­ate free, search­able index­es to them online. Through­out Africa, from Accra to Zim­bab­we, where irre­place­able fam­i­ly infor­ma­tion and tra­di­tions are at risk of being lost due to neglect, war, and dete­ri­o­ra­tion, Fam­il­y­Search vol­un­teers are also help­ing pre­serve this valu­able his­to­ry so Africans can con­nect with their roots. Researchers can search the mil­lions of African-relat­ed records as they are pub­lished online at

They con­clude their announce­ment with the following:

Many of the records col­lect­ed by Fam­il­y­Search are now avail­able for free on More African records will be post­ed on the site in the com­ing months. Fol­low­ing are a few sam­ples of some types of records at that may be of inter­est to those doing African or African-Amer­i­can research. Many of them are works in progress.

    • Vir­ginia, Freed­men’s Bureau Let­ters, 1865–1872
    • U.S. Arkansas Con­fed­er­ate Pen­sions, 1901 to 1929
    • Ghana 1982–1984 Census
    • South Africa, Orange Free State, Estate Files, 1951–1973
    • U.S. South­ern States Births, Mar­riages, and Deaths
    • U.S. Nat­u­ral­iza­tion Petitions

This is tremen­dous amount of mate­r­i­al being made avail­able. Their blog entry about this release says that the Vir­ginia Freed­men’s Bureau records total more than 1 mil­lion records. It’s an impor­tant deliv­ery of doc­u­ments, and will pro­vide a great deal of help for African-Amer­i­can researchers.