Research Library

Researching African American ancestry is challenging for even the most experienced researcher. The Lowcountry Southeast presents additional challenges because of its long and complicated history. Our Research Library provides resources you will need for a successful ancestor search in the Lowcountry, as well as historical background for envisioning the lives of ancestors.


Beginning Genealogy

Learn How to Begin Your Ancestor Search

Want to research your family history but not sure how to start? Visit our Beginning Genealogy page to learn how to get your genealogy research started on the right track. Our self-paced 10 step course will help you gain solid research skills and avoid common mistakes!

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Research Methods by Michael Hait

Professional genealogist Michael Hait’s Research Methods page will help you refine your skills and stay on track with sound research principles. Learn about the genealogical proof standard. Learn how to evaluate source records, resolve conflicting evidence and more.

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South Carolina Slaveholders - Genealogy and Records

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Key Archives

Learn about archives with unpublished manuscripts such as plantation journals, estate records, legal documents and other family papers. Search the archives’ catalogs online to prepare for your research trip or request copies. A wealth of records awaits you in archives in the southeast!

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Freedmen’s Bureau Microfilm Reel Guides (Descriptive Pamphlets)

Did you know that the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) has produced descriptive pamphlets for all microfilmed Freedmen’s Bureau records? These guides tell you exactly what is on each reel, to help you decide which reels you wish to view.

You can view reel guides for SC, GA and FL here by clicking on the links to the right.

Freedmen’s Bureau Microfilm Reel Guides (Descriptive Pamphlets) – South Carolina

Records of the Assistant Commissioner for the State of South Carolina Bureau of Refugees, Freedmen, and Abandoned Lands, 1865-1870 (NARA Micropublication M869) VIEW

Records of the Field Offices for the State of South Carolina, Bureau of Refugees, Freedmen and Abandoned Lands, 1865–1872 (NARA Micropublication M1910) VIEW

Freedmen’s Bureau Microfilm Reel Guides (Descriptive Pamphlets) – Georgia

Records of the Assistant Commissioner for the State of Georgia Bureau of Refugees, Freedmen, and Abandoned Lands, 1865-1869 (NARA Micropublication M798) VIEW

Records of the Field Offices for the State of Georgia, Bureau of Refugees, Freedmen and Abandoned Lands, 1865–1872 (NARA Micropublication M1903) VIEW

Freedmen’s Bureau Microfilm Reel Guides (Descriptive Pamphlets) – Florida

Records of the Field Offices for the State of Florida, Bureau of Refugees, Freedmen and Abandoned Lands, 1865–1872 (NARA Micropublication M1869) VIEW

Index of Crop Liens, James Island, Charleston County, SC

Index of Crop Liens, James Island, Charleston County, SC, 1885 to 1894

The Barbados and Carolina Connection

The historical connections between Charleston and Barbados run deep. Many of the colonists who founded the Carolina colony came to South Carolina from Barbados. Barbadians’ political, economic and cultural influence were great in the earliest years of the colony. In the first two decades after settlement, the majority of Carolina’s inhabitants – free and enslaved – came from Barbados.

Some of the Lowcountry families with ties to Barbados include the Brewton, Bull, Colleton, Elliott, Fenwick, Gibbes, Harleston, Jenkins, Mathews, and Middleton families. Many other Lowcountry families have roots in Barbados. READ MORE

Florida Records

1850 Federal Census Slave Schedules – Florida

1860 Federal Census Slave Schedules – Florida

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