The SCGenWeb TM Project

African American Research

Please note that while we cannot do research, we hope to provide assistance, through data and links, to African Americans with roots in South Carolina.

If you are just beginning to research your family's history, please know that it is always important in doing genealogical research to start with what you know, work backwards in time, and DOCUMENT your sources. You will never regret the time you take to write down "where" you found information!


    • Diary of David Gavin
      Mr. Gavin was an attorney in St. George's Parish (modern Dorchester County), who maintained almost a daily journal from 1855 until his death in 1874. In his diary he recorded information about people and events of "Lowcountry" SC. This source contains much slave data; Mr. Gavin attended every slave sale in the area, so there is a large index of slave names.

    • African-American Genealogies
      Data for Allendale County

    • African Americans in the South Carolina Room
      Rich resource for Anderson, Clarendon, Greenville, Kershaw, Orangeburg, Richland, Sumter, Union and Williamsburg Counties

    • The Afrigeneas Slave Data Project
      an excellent resource for African American Genealogy is Afrigeneas. The URL is They have a section for the collection of slave data for all states - even with recommended formats and an online form.
    • Avery Research Center
      "The Avery Research Center for African American History & Culture of the College of Charleston is an archives and small museum that has been established to document, preserve and make public the unique historical and cultural heritage of South Carolina Low Country African Americans."
      If you have ancestors from Charleston, don't miss this site.
    • How to Research African American Obituaries
      Help for beginners.
    • First Person Narratives of the American South
      documents the American South from the viewpoint of Southerners. It focuses on the diaries, autobiographies, memoirs, travel accounts, and ex-slave narratives of relatively inaccessible populations: women, African Americans, enlisted men, laborers, and Native Americans. The texts for this project come from the Academic Affairs Library of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and the Editorial Board for Documenting the American South guides its development.
    • Free African Americans of North Carolina and Virginia
      Lists numerous free slaves throughout various counties in North Carolina and Virginia. Provides in-depth explanation of information.
    • Free African Americans of Virginia, South Carolina, North Carolina, Maryland, Delaware
      Researcher Paul Heinegg lists numerous free slaves throughout various counties in North Carolina and Virginia.
      Slaves brought into Brunswick County, Virginia, from North and South Carolina, 1780 -1781


Recommended reading

Koger, Harry
Black Slave Owners.
(Yes, that's right; there were Free Black Slave Masters in South Carolina.)
Explores little-known history of black slave holding. 286 pages.

Slave narratives from Georgetown County, South Carolina. Ten interviews with ex-slaves from the rice planting section of Georgetown. By Christopher C. Boyle, edited by James A. Fitch.

When Roots Die: Endangered Traditions on the Sea Islands. The author explores the changing lifestyle of African Americans on the Sea Island of South Carolina and Georgia. By Patricia Jones-Jackson, forward by Charles W. Joyner. 189 pages.

The water brought us: The story of the Gullah speaking people. By Muriel Miller branch. 106 pages.

My folks don't want me to talk about slavery. Narratives by former North Carolina slaves. Edited from remarkable interviews sponsored by the Federal Writer's Project during the 1930s. By Belinda Hurmence. 103 pages.

Before freedom. Narratives by former South Carolina slaves. Edited by Belinda Hurmence.

We lived in a cabin in the yard. Narratives by Virginia slaves. Edited by Belinda Hurmence. 103 pages.

Rice and Slaves: Ethnicity and the slave trade in Colonial South Carolina. Daniel C. Littlefield explores the slave trade through shipping records and other sources to explain why certain African tribes were more valuable to the American Colonists than other tribes. 199 pages.

Back of the Big House: The architecture of plantation slavery. A study of the structures on the plantations that are often overlooked. The work includes both blueprints and pictures of mills, icehouses, dairies, kitchens, slave cabins and much more. By John Michael Vlack. 290 pages.

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