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Resources for studying African-American Heritage at the CT State Library

African-American Genealogy

Please note that this finding aid deals primarily with resources pertaining to African-American genealogy and local history from colonial times through the end of the nineteenth century.  Some people of color in Connecticut with Cape Verdean or Caribbean ancestries do not necessarily view themselves as African-Americans but rather as a distinctly different cultural group with its own heritage and history.

Please check our Library Catalog for additional materials.

  • Beeching, Barbara J.  “African Americans and Native Americans in Hartford, 1636-1800:  Antecedents of Hartford’s Nineteenth Century Black Community.”  Unpublished paper  “submitted to Professor Pfeiffer, Social Studies 637,” Trinity College, 1993 [CSL Call Number HistRef F 104 .H39 A24 1993].
  • Beeching, Barbara J. Hopes and Expectations:  The Origins of the Black Middle Class in Hartford. Albany: SUNY Press 2017
    [CSL Call Number F 104 .H3 B44 2017].

  • Beeching, Barbara J.  “The Primus Papers:  An Introduction to Hartford’s Nineteenth Century Black Community.”  Master’s thesis, Trinity College, 1995 [CSL Call Number F 104 .H39 N4 1995].
  • Beeching, Barbara J. Reading the Numbers: Census Returns as Key to the Nineteenth Century Black Community in Hartford, Connecticut.  New Haven: Association for the Study of Connecticut History, 2005 [CSL Call Number F 104 .H39 N4 2005].
  • Brown, Barbara and James Rose.  Black Roots in Southeastern Connecticut, 1650-1900.  Gale Genealogical and Local History Series, Volume 8.  Detroit: Gale Research Co., 1979 [CSL call number HistRef E 185.93 .C7 B76].
  • "Connecticut History." Fairfield:  Association for the Study of Connecticut History. Vol. 44; No. 2, Fall 2005 [CSL Call Number F 91 .C668]. This issue is devoted to African-American studies and people.
  • Gates, Henry Louis, Jr. African American National Biography. New York: Oxford University Press, 2008
    [CSL Call Number GIRS Ref E 185.95 A4466 2008].

  • Green, Lorenzo Johnston.  The Negro in Colonial New England, 1620-1776.  Studies in History, Economics and Public Law no. 494
    New York:  Columbia University Press, 1942 [CSL call number Offsite H 31 .C7 no. 492]. 

  • Hodges, Graham Russell. The Black Loyalist Directory: African Americans in Exile After the American Revolution. New York: Garland Publishing, 1996 [CSL call number E 277 .B571996].
  • Johnson, Charles S.  The Negro Population of Hartford, Connecticut.  New York:  Department of Research and Investigations of the National Urban League, 1921 [CSL call number F 104 .H39 A24 1921].
  • Johnson, Charles S.  “The Negro Population of Waterbury, Connecticut.”  Opportunity: A Journal of Negro Life 1 (Oct. 1923) 10: 298-302, 1 (Nov. 1923) 11: 338-342 [CSL call number E 185.5 .06].
  • Nason, Mary L.  African-Americans in Simsbury, 1725-1925.  M. L. Nason, 1995 [CSL call number F 106 .S6 N37 1995]. 
  • Norman, Elizabeth J. African American Connecticut Explored. Middletown: Wesleyan University Press, 2013
    [CSL Call Number E 185.93 C7 A47 2013].

  • Pasay, Marcella Houle.  Full Circle:  Directory of Native and African Americans in Windham County, CT, 1650-1900.  Bowie, MD:  Heritage Books, 2002 [CSL call number HistRef 185.93 .C7 P37 2002].
  • Ritter, Kathy A.  Apprentices of Connecticut, 1637-1900.  Salt Lake City, UT:  Ancestry Pub., 1986
    [CSL call number HistRef  F 93 .R58 1986].

  • Rose, James M. and Barbara Brown.  Tapestry:  A Living History of the Black Family in Southeastern Connecticut.  New London County Historical Society, 1979 [CSL call number E 185.93 .C7 R67].  History of a black family and its origins.  The author trained under Alex Haley.
  • Trapp, Patricia A.  “Silent Voices and Forgotten Footsteps: A Chronicle of the Early Black Culture of Glastonbury, 1693-1860.”  Master’s thesis, Wesleyan University, 1996 [CSL call number F 104 .G5 T73 1996].
  • Warner, Robert Austin.  New Haven Negroes:  A Social History.  Reprint, Arno Press, 1969 [CSL call number F 104 .N69 N4 1940].
  • Welch, Vicki. And They Were Related, Too: A Study of Eleven Generations of One American Family! Philadelphia: XLibris, 2006
    [CSL call number CS 71 .C746 2006].


There are several genealogy indexes to vital statistics documents in Connecticut, especially for the colonial era. They contain information pertaining to baptisms, births, deaths and marriages of free blacks and slaves, as well as whites. Often times enslaved individuals were known only by a first name, so it is important to check the "No Surname" indexes found after the Alphabet indexes for each collection. Researchers should also check under a slave owner’s surname. A helpful book on African-American Names is Black Names in America: Origins and Usage, by Newbell N. Pucket  [CSL Call Number E 185.89 .N3 P82]. For more information about the genealogical indexes, please see the main Genealogy Index Guide page.

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