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Tracing Your African American Roots

Why You Should Trace Your Roots Now

An unidentified African American soldier in Union uniform during the American Civil War (sometime between 1863-1865) with his wife and his two daughters. Maryland — Library of Congress Prints & Photographs Collection

Today we'll follow the paper trail that begins just after the Civil War, a time when former slaves started legally identifying themselves by first and last names. Three invaluable sets of records housed at the National Archives tell their stories.
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