Genealogical research for African Americans can be more challenging than other genealogical inquiries as a consequence of slavery and the changing legal status of African Americans. Records made prior to the Civil Rights era were segregated and are difficult to find, and oral histories passed down from generation to generation may be incomplete or inaccurate. Chris Cowan, vice president of publishing for ProQuest, notes that “With limited local resources and no dedicated electronic library resources for African American family history research, libraries have found it challenging to meet the unique needs of their users. Now, ProQuest African American Heritage helps to fill that gap by bringing together genealogical and historical resources critical to researching African American heritage back into the 18th century and helps people put together missing pieces of their past. ”
ProQuest African American Heritage is designed to provide a comprehensive and useful guide for researchers by presenting relevant and unique content as well as providing insights and suggestions on how to further their searching. It contains information vital to African American genealogical research, including U.S. federal census, freedman and slave records, birth, marriage, and death records, church records, court and legal records, genealogies and family histories.
In addition, ProQuest African American Heritage incorporates social networking, reference books, and other digital how-to tools from two key partners: AfriGeneas and Genealogical Publishing Company. AfriGeneas, the oldest and best-known African American family history site, provides social networking to connect people to a community of researchers, expert advice, moderated forums, chats, mailing lists, surname registry, and more devoted to African American genealogy and history. For over 50 years, Genealogical Publishing Company has been publishing authoritative genealogical and family history books that are widely respected by amateur and professional genealogy researchers alike. ProQuest African American Heritage will contain several selected titles from Genealogical Publishing Company, including, including a special online edition of Black Genesis. Black Genesis is an exhaustive guide that makes locating resources pertaining to slaves and free blacks easier. Written by Dr. James M. Rose and Dr. Alice Eichholz, this essential reference work features an extensive compilation of African American resources for all fifty states, Canada and the West Indies. With these resources, ProQuest African American Heritage provides connections to important assistance and mentoring from experienced African-American genealogists, which greatly increases the researchers’ success.
ProQuest African American Heritage is the latest addition to the company’s suite of genealogy resources, which include Heritage Quest® Online, Ancestry® Library Edition, ProQuest® Historical Newspapers, Digital Sanborn® Maps, Heritage Quest® in microform, and Genealogy and Local History in microform.
*Ancestry® is the registered mark of The Generations Network, Inc., and Sanborn® is the registered mark of The Sanborn Map Company, Inc.
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