Missouri Resources

for African-American Research

Thanks to Traci Wilson-Kleekamp for this information!

Several Missouri County Coordinators & others have responded to the discussion about African American research -- asking what kinds of information to look for.

In particular -- if there is any information about the "slave community" or the ante-bellum community for any Missouri county.. this is very important to researchers. This may give them some clues as to the backdrop of the community, slave owners and lifestyle of that era and area!

Another very cool search engine -- allows you to research collections at university libraries. For example I discovered that Duke University had 11 boxes of records on the TUTT family that migrated from VA to Missouri.. and settled in Callaway County first... not Cooper County as I first thought!

The most important resource an African American Researcher needs is slave schedules for the county they are researching. If anyone has transcribed slave schedules, or would like to...please let me know. There are some online... but many more are needed. Free People of Color had to be registered.. you would only find these records at the courthouse or on microfilm somewhere. Here's a link to my website for Slave Schedules and other resources:

To share this kind of information, white researchers must become somewhat sensitized to the plight and difficulty of those researching enslaved ancestors. For the most part, besides being counted as chattel on tax, land deed and slave schedules, African Americans were not counted as people until the 1870 census. Other records of interest would be church records, which notes people of color being allowed or dispelled from the church etc., but they are not always given a surname. Sometimes they are noted by their first name and "as belonging to "X" slaveowner." Bottom line is that African American researchers are very dependent upon getting information from the slaveowning family's documentation.

On my site I have some resources for Marriage, census and cemetery data:

Here's an example of what Church Records can show:

And wills... this is where I found my great great grandfather's mother...Mary Ann... mentioned is her mother and siblings I believe

Public Auction notices for slaves; can be found in probate records:

Many people in conducting research in their families run across slave related information. It is both painful, embarrassing and confusing all at once. It is my hope that when anyone runs across Missouri slave-related data that they would post it to my website at:

If you scroll down to the middle there a links for just about everything. You could also help others by posting your slave related data on the Missouri list that you subscribe to... and you can always forward it to me. Just know that I get many, many emails -- so it is much easier to post the information to the link noted above. If you want to mail, fax or email me scanned documents -- I'm game for that too. Since Missouri was settled by Virginia, Kentucky and Louisiana people -- [Tennessee too] if you have a Missouri family with ties to those state [or any other state -- where you can establish the genealogical ties] this is particularly helpful for the African American researcher who must first know EVERYTHING they can about the white slave owning family. Why? Because we must trace slave ownership through marriages, death, relocation, rentals, property purchases, farm ledgers, lawsuits, and family letters, bibles etc., where slaves could be mentioned as a record of ownership. It's pretty crazy.

I've included some links below that many of you may already know about.. but to give you an idea of what African American researchers need.

Missouri State Archives

Roll-by-roll listing County Record on microfilm by county Description of Records on Film

For African American Researchers; the items below are of interest. If your family owned slaves; records purchase, sale, rent, mortgage, gift, lawsuits etc., could be found under the various listings related to probate noted in the link above. Of particular interests are books and other resources which transcribe or are abstracts of Wills, Administrations and Probate. If anyone has a book with this type of information, I would like to purchase or borrow it ASAP.

Also of interest in looking for enslaved ancestors are
Black Cemeteries
Black Marriages

Here are a couple of examples:

Land Deed Records
Final Settlement and Inventory Records -- this shows the final disposition of the estate including who slaves in the family were sold and given to and for how much. Land Deed records are equally important. Tax records will note how many slaves person owned.

I hope this helps clarify just a little bit of what it takes to research enslaved peoples. For those of you managing Missouri county sites; I think the information above is a good outline of materials to try and collect.

I also have a link for "look-up" volunteers. Please copy me on correspondence to "look-up" volunteers -- because I may also have another researcher to connect you with.

Thanks alot;

traci wilson-kleekamp
african americans in missouri

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