For an African-American researcher, few resources are as valuable as the Slave Narrative Project or the Freedmen Bank Records of 1865-1874.
If you are blessed to have an ancestor captured on either of these records – feel charmed!
The Slave Narratives help us to truly understand what our ancestors endured on a day-to-day basis. They are also packed with intimate details relating to extended communal & family relationships that as slaves, would not be documented anywhere else.
The Freedmen Bank Records provide ALL of the personal information of the account holder including, Spouse, Parents, Siblings, year of birth, and county/state of residence.
Ancestry.com provides online access to both databases (for a fee). The Library of Congress link above provides free access & download to the Slave Narrative records – although these seem to vary from the records on Ancestry. Of course – they are both available via the Federal/State Archives.
I have gone through the Ancestry database & identified the Narratives of individuals from Wilkes or Warren County and/or who had an “Wingfield” or “Favor” association. If you’d like to see – click on the “Slave Narrative” page to the left.
I haven’t found any of my ancestors in the Freedman Bank records, yet – but I’m still searching!
Of just 480,000 records, it’s a needle in a haystack BUT just imagine what it means if you happen to be blessed with one of those needles!