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ProQuest African American Heritage

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African American Heritage a database for African American family history research, provided by ProQuest. Here, the user has access to a wide variety of military, birth, marriage, cohabitation, death, and census records. Also included are records from the Freedman’s Bank and various registers of slaves and free(d) persons of color. The former was a bank chartered by the federal government to encourage and guide the economic development of African American communities in the period following the end of slavery in the U.S. The latter refers to records, maintained by a number of states prior to 1865, of slaves and free(d) persons of color. Also available to the user are contacts to a community of genealogy researchers, who can provide assistance and mentoring. The readability of the documents available here can vary. Some are too faded to read easily, even with magnification, and others are handwritten, which can make them difficult to interpret. Navigating, enlarging, and reducing documents can be done without difficulty, though the range of movement and magnification is somewhat limited. Documents can be browsed and/or searched for by title, author, publisher, date, subject, language (although, at present, English is the only language available), surname and personal name, and location.

The search and browse options here are understandable and can produce useful results, though the number produced by any one query is usually not extensive, so multiple queries may be needed for any research project. Pricing for this database is determined by library or school size and the number of potential users, and consortia discounts are available (contact ProQuest for a specific price quote). Its licensing agreement is the same as those used for all ProQuest databases, and in its length and composition is quite average. The quality and quantity of content in this resource is not exceptional, but it will certainly be of use to those researching African American family history, and more generally Africana Studies, especially in the states indicated in this review.

Publication date: January 1, 2021

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