Center for Archival Collections

Archival Chronicle

August 2008: Volume 27, Number 2

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CAC and Department of Africana Studies Sponsor Seminar:
Researching Historical Records for African American Studies Scholarship and Genealogy

An unidentified veteran proudly wears the pin commemorating his service with Company E of the 55th Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry. Many black Ohioans served in Massachusetts units. CAC general photograph collection.

Federal documents are a rich resource for the study of African American history, whether the goal is gaining a better understanding of the growth and development of our nation or learning more about a family's past.  Speaker Reginald Washington brings years of experience with these documents to northwest Ohio as he leads a fall seminar, "Researching Historical Records for African American Studies Scholarship and Genealogy."  The author of many articles and books helping researchers locate and make use of the information stored in these intriguing records, Mr. Washington will share helpful approaches to research in federal documents.

Sponsored by the Center for Archival Collections and the Department of Africana Studies at Bowling Green State University, the seminar is open to students, scholars, and the general public.   The seminar is free, but seating is limited.  Please RSVP by September 5, 2008 to:

Center for Archival Collections
E-mail: Lee McLaird lmclair@bgsu.edu
Phone: 419-372-2411

Students of history and Africana and American Culture Studies have found that family history is a fascinating first step into the wider world of research. Our speaker Mr. Washington has served as Archivist/Genealogy Specialist at the National Archives for ten years.  His articles have appeared in Prologue, The Record, Ancestry, and the Negro History Bulletin.  He gave congressional testimony in support of The Freedmen's Bureau Preservation Act of 2000 that authorized funds for the preservation of more than 1000 linear feet of field office records of the Bureau of Refugees, Freedmen and Abandoned Lands. This resource alone is a rich repository of social life in the post-Civil War South, providing vital documentation about people from marriage and land records to financial records.

--Lee N. McLaird

For Further Reading

Freedmen's Bureau Online, Your Source for African American History.

Sealing the Sacred Bonds of Holy Matrimony: Freedmen's Bureau Marriage Records, by Reginald Washington.

The Freedmen's Bureau, 1865-1872.  Description of the records held by the National Archives

African-American Research: Introduction and Links to Resources.  Describes the types of records held by the National Archives

"Incited by the Love of Liberty": The Amistad Captives and the Federal Courts, by Bruce A. Ragsdale. Inspired by the motion picture?  Learn more about the actual events.

Fugitive Slave Case: A Slave Named Stephen Pembrook--National Archives "Teaching with Documents" example of how records can be used to study events.

Ethnic History and Genealogies in the Archives Library Information Center. Lists of books on twenty ethnic groups which are available in the Archives Library Information Center at the National Archives. The National Archives has over 100 genealogical CD-ROMs available for use there.