African Americans Genealogy in Washington, DC

On the first day of January, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred
and sixty-three, all persons held as slaves within any State, or designated part of a State,
the people Whereof shall then be in rebellion against the United States, shall be then,
thenceforward, and forever free.
~~ Emancipation Proclamation

Slavery was outlawed in the District of Columbia on April 16, 1862.

African American Genealogical Research

The District of Columbia has, percentage-wise, the highest African American population in the US and many DC genealogical researchers may find the following links and research helps useful.

African American genealogy is a growing specialist field, involving hundreds of thousands of amateur genealogists as well as professionals.

Notable African-Americans of Early Washington, DC

General / How To:

Family Tree Maker's African-American How-To

List of African American Genealogical Societies

DC Resources:

List of some of the most historic black churches and cemeteries in DC

List of DC African-American records in the National Archives

Martin Luther King Library (main library, DC Public Libraries. Has extensive African-American history section in addition to Washingtoniana Section on local history/genealogy)

District of Columbia Emancipation Act

African-American Mosaic

African American Genealogy E-Mail List: A mailing list for exchanging resources, help, surnames lists, data, etc. among African American genealogical researchers. Mailing address for postings is To subscribe, send email to with the following message: subscribe afrigeneas firstname lastname. (This should be in the body of the message, not subject line).

Links to Lists of Links

AFRIGENEAS (Great Website of on-line African American Genealogical group, see above)

Christine Charity's African American Genealogy Page (LOTS of great links)

Cyndi's List -- African American Genealogy Links (Cyndi's is all-around tops in most subjects)

On Line Searches:

African-American Civil War Soldiers: National Park Service Civil War Soldiers and Sailors System. This will eventually contain data on all troops, North and South. Currently, the data is limited to those who served in Union Army "Colored" Regiments.

African American History Links

Underground Railroad (an important part of DC's history)

AAHPF (African American Heritage Preservation Foundation)

Library of Congress - African American History Resources

Maryland State Archives includes a section for African American research--definitely worth a look!