Skip to Main Content
It looks like you're using Internet Explorer 11 or older. This website works best with modern browsers such as the latest versions of Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Edge. If you continue with this browser, you may see unexpected results.

African American Genealogy: About

This guide provides a beginner's introduction to African American Genealogy research, as well as an overview of available resources at the New York Public Library and beyond.

Introduction

Welcome! The focus of this research guide is to assist those interested in understanding the methodology and resources available in order to effectively conduct African American genealogy research. The guidelines and resources are concentrated on African Americans brought to North America, specifically the United States, by means of the Atlantic Slave Trade.  Within this guide you will find tips for beginners on conducting African American Genealogy research and resources that are available mainly at the Schomburg Center for Research and Black Culture, but also from other parts of the New York Public Library and outside sources as well.

Milstein Division of United States History, Local History and Genealogy

The Milstein Division, located in the Stephen A. Schwarzman Building, houses a renowned collection of family histories and other genealogical collections, with a particular focus on the New York region. Visit www.nypl.org/milstein.

Milstein Division

 

Jean Blackwell Hutson Research & Reference Division

The majority of the resources discussed in this guide are available in the Jean Blackwell Hutson Research and Reference Division (JBH) of the Schomburg Center. This division provides access to, published information by and about people of African descent throughout the world, concentrating on the humanities, social sciences, and the arts with a strong focus on New York City and 20th / 21st century publications. This guide will discuss specific collection items related to African American genealogy, but you can also find: books (including self-published and independently published titles), newspapers (specializing in African American historical newspapers), newsletters, pamphlets, periodicals, microfilm, maps, databases (including genealogy databases), and clippings. To learn more about JBH visit the Guide to the Jean Blackwell Hutson Research & Reference Division.

Research & Reference Reading Room

 

Assistant Chief Librarian, Jean Blackwell Hutson Research and Reference Division

Get a New York Public Library Card

Sign up to get a NYPL card herehttps://www.nypl.org/library-card 

City residents and those working or attending school within the five boroughs will need to pick their card up at any one of our 92 locations in Manhattan, the Bronx and Staten Island.

Visitors to New York City from the United States
If your home address is in the United States, but not New York State or City, you qualify as a New York City Visitor from the United States, and you are eligible for a temporary card. You must pick up your card in person at an NYPL location in the Bronx, Manhattan, or Staten Island within three months of submitting your application. The card will remain valid for three months, at which point you will need to renew again in person.

Visitors to New York City from Outside the United States
International visitors are welcome to apply for a three month visitor's card. After you apply online, pick up your card in person at an NYPL location in the Bronx, Manhattan, or Staten Island.  Please note in addition to photo ID we require proof of permanent  address i.e. utility bill or driver's license.