Free database access during Black History Month and American Ancestors are opening their African American databases for free access during the month of February 2016.  At some of the databases include other than African American records. For example, the Southern Claims Commission Records and the WWI “Old Man’s Draft” Registration records are complete collections. free databases include records documenting slavery, the Civil War, Reconstruction, the World Wars and the Civil Rights Movement.

For example:

  • Court Slave Records for Washington, DC
  • South Carolina Estate Inventories and Bills of Sale, 1732–1872
  • US Colored Troops Civil War service records
  • Southern Claims Commission records
  • The Atlanta Constitution newspaper
  • WWII “Old Man’s Draft” Registration Cards

Click here for the Black History Collection home page to see samples of the records and links leading to more information about each collection. You will need to obtain a free registration to search the databases.


As part of their Black History Month promotion, guest users of will have free access to the following databases:

To help your research efforts, American Ancestors has created a guide to two of these databases, both focused on African American families in Massachusetts: Hampden County, MA: Black Families in Hampden County, 1650-1865 and People of Color in the Massachusetts State Census, 1855-1865.

These resources provide users with the ability to trace families throughout this period of history. American Ancestors will walk you through a case study of using both of these databases, and we’ll talk about other database collections available to research African American families. Search Spotlight: African American Records