African American Family History Research
The owner of this website has been researching collective and individual African American family histories in the upper Yadkin Valley, North Carolina for over a decade. The geographical area of on-going primary study encompasses the following eleven counties:
Davidson, Davie, Forsyth, Guilford, Iredell, Rockingham, Rowan, Stokes, Surry, Wilkes, and Yadkin.
Portions of Alexander and Caswell Counties are also in the study area.
As most persons of African descent were enslaved in this country, the process of researching African American family history requires a somewhat different strategy. For example, free heads of households were enumerated with the first U. S. census in 1790 and every ten years since then. It would be another four generations, in 1870, before most African descendants would be listed in census records. Additionally, enslaved persons did not own real property and were not legally allowed to marry. Some individuals unfamiliar with African American geneology think that not having access to census, property tax, and marriage records presents insurmountable obstacles to doing this type work. That is far from the truth. Some church and plantation/farm records give excellent "vitals" information on enslaved persons such as birth, marriage (yes! marriage), and death. However, beyond these sources are a wide array of public records that give glimpses into the existence and trials of African American ancestors before 1870. Admittedly, it takes more time and more effort, but like the pearl hidden within the oyster, diligence and determination will unveil their presence for the whole world to see.
I welcome the opportunity to assist you with researching your ancestral roots in the upper Yadkin Valley region.
I further welcome the opportunity to exchange information with families within the above counties.
I am available for on-the-ground research for those persons with roots in the area who now reside elsewhere.