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Burton Historical Collection

Selected African American Resources


Blacks in selected newspapers, censuses, and other sources: an index to names and subjects.
L016.326 A116b5 v. 1-3 Suppl. v. 1-2

In Black and white: a guide to magazine articles, newspaper articles and books, concerning more than 15,000 Black individuals and groups.
016.326 S866I (SSER) 


Census records specifically covering free African Americans include:

List of free Black heads of families in the first census of the United States.
929.3 N4631

Free Negro heads of families in the United States in 1830.
325.26 W86 Vault 

Slave Schedules of U.S. Census for 1850 and 1860

The only name on a slave schedule is that of the slave owner; however, a personal description including the age, sex, and color (black or mulatto) is given for each slave.  Most slave schedules list the slaves chronologically by age rather than in family groupings.  Slaves over 100 years old were sometimes named and occasionally the occupation is given such as blacksmith or carpenter.  (Besides the southern states, the District of Columbia and New Jersey [1850 only] also submitted slave schedules.)


The large slaveholders of Louisiana – 1860.  Menn, Joseph Karl.
976.3326 M521

The large slaveholders of the deep South, 1860 : dissertation.  3 vols. Menn, Joseph Karl.
975 M526x Vault 

Church Records

A short list of some of some African American church records:

Bethel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Detroit, 1911-69 (includes baptism, marriage, death, and membership registers)
BHC microfilm #1167

St. Matthew’s and St. Joseph’s Episcopal Church, Detroit, 1894-1975 (includes confirmations, baptisms, marriages, and deaths)
BHC microfilm #1068

Second Baptist Church, Detroit, 1935-1979 (includes a register of marriages and deaths)
BHC microfilm #1069

Military Records

General index to pension files, 1861-1934
Includes army, navy, & marine corps with the bulk of files covering the years 1861-1916.  Most files relate to Civil War service.  This index contains name, rank, unit, and term of service; names of dependents; filing date; application no., certificate no.; and state from which claim was filed.
BHC microfilm #1324

Index to compiled service records of volunteer Union soldiers who served with U.S. colored troops   
This is an alphabetically arranged card index of volunteer African American soldiers who served the North in the Civil War.  Each index card gives the name of a soldier, his rank, and the unit in which he served. 
BHC microfilm #783

List of pensioners on the roll, January 1, 1883, 5 volumes. 
This list includes everyone then receiving a pension from the US and gives the name of each pensioner, cause for which each was pensioned, rate of pension per month, and date of original allowance. The list includes African Americans who received pensions as a result of their service in the Civil War or earlier military service.
351.507 U5p 

Records of service of Michigan volunteers in the Civil War, 1861-1865, First Michigan Colored Infantry.
Volume 46 covers the First Michigan Colored Infantry and provides name, age upon enlistment, place of enlistment, a brief record of service including promotions, the discharge date and place, or place of death if the soldier died while in service.
977.4 355.07 M5r


Detroit Courier (previously Pittsburgh Courier – Detroit edition) Jan 1962-Aug 1968 [inc. hardcopy]
BHC newspapers

Detroit Tribune, 1933-1964
BHC microfilm #605

Michigan Chronicle, 1939 – current
BHC microfilm #254

Pittsburgh Courier (Detroit edition), Jan 1944-Jun 1955; Jul 1957-Jun 1959 [hardcopy]
BHC newspapers

Pittsburgh Courier (National edition), 1923- [microfilm]

Freemen’s Bureau

Freedmen’s marriage certificates, 1861-69 
Records arranged alphabetically by state; there under alphabetically by last name.  States included are Arkansas, Florida, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Tennessee, and Virginia.  The District of Columbia is also included.  Information usually found is date of marriage, name of male, name of female, county of residence for both bride and groom, age, color of complexion, cause of separation & number of children from previous spouse, name of officiating minister.  
BHC microfilm # 1504

Freedmen’s Savings & Trust Co. – indexes to deposit ledgers, 1865-1874
This microfilm reproduces 46 volumes of indexes to deposit ledgers that list the names of depositors in 26 branch offices.  The indexes include the depositors’ names and account numbers, or in some cases what appear to be the page numbers of the deposit ledgers.
BHC microfilm #1272

Freedmen’s Savings & Trust Co. – registers of signatures of depositors in branches, 1865-1874 
The information contained in the registers includes: account number, name of depositor, date of entry, place of birth, place brought up, residence, age, complexion, name of employer or occupation, wife or husband, children, father, mother, siblings, and signature.  Some entries also contain the name of the former owner and the name of the plantation.  In many entries not all the requested data are given.
BHC microfilm #1272

Records of Freedmen’s Hospital and New Orleans Area Field Offices of the Bureau of Refugees, Freedmen, and Abandoned Lands, 1865-69.
Reports of sick and wounded from Aug 1866-May 1869.  These reports consist of a summary of patient data and a more detailed narrative that lists a patients name, age, and sex.  There are also reports of orphans and discharged soldiers.
BHC microfilm #1442

Ships Manifests

Port of New Orleans, Louisiana inward bound slave manifests, 1807-1860.
BHC microfilm #1442

Port of New Orleans, Louisiana outward bound slave manifests, 1812-1860.
Records are arranged chronologically by date.  Information for slaves include name, sex, age, height, color (black or mulatto).  You’ll also find slave owner’s name and the ship’s name; port from where the ship came; or port of destination.

Genealogical Societies

Fred Hart Williams Genealogical Society (African American)

Detroit Society for Genealogical Research

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