Genealogy Support

Genealogical Research rests at the core of the Coming to the Table Approach and its focus on Facing History openly and honestly. Many members of CTTT are active and skilled genealogists.

The table below introduces key resources, some developed by CTTT participants, to help orient beginning family historians.

If you would like help with your own research, or if you have skills you are willing to share with others in their research, please connect with our Linked Descendants Working Group.

Category Site name Annotation Related Bittersweet blog post Topical Video
Foundational for CTTT members    
  Our Black Ancestry A non-profit organization “dedicated to providing resources for African American genealogical research, preserving historical matierals and properties, and promoting healing of wounds that are the legacy of slavery.” Website Includes free resources and additional resources for members. Healing historic harms through research Sharon Leslie Morgan Keynote: Finding Healing through Family History
  Reparative Genealogy  Page includes an overview of phases of research and best practices for family historians, with links to resources and articles, provided and edited by affiliates of the Reparations4Slavery website, participants in CTTT. In Support of African American Family History Research: 27 Actions Descendants of Enslaver Families Can Take – *(Pinned Post) – BitterSweet Filmmaker uncovers family’s slave-trading history and Her ancestors enslaved mine
  Genealogy and anti-racism: a resource for white people A google doc of resources primarily for white genealogists providing critical background about the racist history of much genealogy, compiled by a CTTT participant. As the author notes “This guide assumes that readers are comfortable deconstructing race, talking about racism, and examining participation in racialized systems of oppression.” Is Genealogy Racist? – BitterSweet  
Comprehensive Resources    
  Cyndi’s List Outstanding compendium of genealogy links on the internet. Of particular interest is the African-American resource page with over 30 categories of links including “how to” guides and comprehensive listings of sources for finding African Americans throughout time. Includes links to resources by geographical area. The comprehensive nature of this resource can be overwhelming to beginning researchers but this is an excellent thorough resource, regularly updated. Free to use; advertisement supported.   Cyndi’s List – 5 Minute Finds – Ancestry Academy
  CTTT Youtube channel Videos and downloadable resources providing expert insight and background for family history researchers. See, for example, Mapping the journey of family history research and Trauma and encountering our legacy of slavery    
  FamilySearch FamilySearch is the largest free database of genealogical records from around the world. The Family Search site is a free resource hosted by the Church of Latter Day Saints (Mormon church) with considerable learning aids.   Introduction to Family Search | Learn How to Search the Database
Getting Started with Family History Research    
  You got started how? Revisiting your research process – BlackProGen Live Ep.93 Watch or listen to the linked video from BlackProGen to hear established researchers review their methods and share tips for how to get started with family history research.    
  Getting started from the National Genealogical Society The National Genealogical Society, a national non-profit in existence for over 100 years, has free resources and guides as well as membership benefits that can assist family historians to build knowledge and skills.    
  Researching African American genealogy The African American genealogy “wiki” page on FamilySearch offers a written guide to researching African American family histories, with additional links to resources.    
  United States Guided Research The “United States” resource “wiki” page on FamilySearch will guide researchers to find Birth, Marriage and death records for each state.    
Documentation tools for Genealogy    
    There are many possible platforms for storing and updating your genealogical research, falling into two categories: contributing to a single worldwide family tree (for example, FamilySearch or Wikitree), or a tree unique to your family, maintaining your own records. Many people do both. Building an individual tree can be done with software on your own computer (for example, RootsMagic or FamilyTreeMaker) and//or through online companies (for example, at Some personal computer software can be synchronized with information at the online companies. We endorse no single approach.    
Supportive communities    
  Linked Descendants Group for people connected to one another through slavery and its legacies; people related through ownership, kinship, or violence. We welcome people who are doing family research and know there is slavery in their ancestors’ history. Being open to finding people linked to you through slavery is essential, whether or not you have come across them so far. Linked Descendants – BitterSweet  
  Bittersweet blog BitterSweet: Linked Through Slavery publishes writers who are members of CTTT and who have a family history in slavery. We bring a passionate commitment to looking deeply at the truth of the history of enslavement at the heart of the founding of the United States, facing the pains and schisms embedded in that history and its present day legacy, seeking reconciliation, if possible, and supporting action to open eyes and hearts and to dismantle institutionalized racism. Looking for Links: First Steps – BitterSweet – see also the comments section on this post; see also  
  Local CTTT groups CTTT supports the establishment of local groups to provide space and opportunity for people to meet regularly together for truth-telling, deep dialogue, building relationships, healing, and taking action to dismantle inequitable systems and structures based on “race.” See the CTTT Touchstones that guide all groups; See for example profile of a local group facilitator:   Coming to the Table RVA bringing people together through conversations about race
Facebook groups:      
  I’ve traced my enslaved ancestors and their owners    
  Enslaved ancestors and freedmen genealogy    
  Our Black Ancestry    
  Beyond Kin project    
  Afro-American Historical and Genealogical Society

A non-profit national organization founded to preserve and support African American family history and research; annual conference and local chapters can be very supportive.


  Local genealogy groups Your research may benefit from participation in local or specialized genealogy communities – see link on left to clickable listings at FamilySearch    
  History hub  The National Archives’ crowdsourced history research platform. Family history researchers can get answers from multiple sources including National Archives staff, other agencies, and a community of citizen experts. See especially African American resource content.    
Reparative genealogical public research and data development projects to participate/support:    
  Beyond Kin Project Methodology and support for researching and linking enslaver families with families of those enslaved. See blog post explaining this method and its value.    
  US Black Heritage project at Wikitree See blog post describing this project by CTTT contributor Connie Davis    
  Citizen Archivist Missions at the National Archives Changing projects that may be meaningful for CTTT researchers. In Feb 2023, projects include opportunity to transcribe records of American Civil War military service for “United States Colored Troops”    



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