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The Sandborn Digital Fire Insurance Maps Collection contains more than 660,000 maps for 12,000 American cities and towns.  Drawn up around the 1800s and 1900s, these maps listed streets, buildings, places of work, schools, city layouts and the names of residents.   Maps from different years can show changing street names and details on boundaries and land use.  Some have been digitized and made available online in free collections.  The quickest way to access this collection would be via Proquest.    Proquest provides Sandborn maps in searchable digital form.  The earliest map in the collection dates from 1867 and the latest is 1970.


The Selective Service Act was passed by congress on May 18, 1917 after it was decided that America would enter in WWI. At the time of WWI the US Army was small compared to the armies of other European powers.   By 1916 it was clear that to participate in the War would require a larger army.  It was the first act mandating military service in the United States and by guidelines, set down by the act, all males 21-30 were required to register.  By August 1918, the government needing more soldiers would extend the age range to 18-45.

For more information on how to search the Records of the Selective Service in WWI go to or if researchers need more of a breakdown, LIKE ME go to

The Slave Heritage Resource Center is filled with important historical resources regarding the topic of slavery. It is the Web’s best collection of compiled slave documentation.  It shares its data in the form of interviews with former slaves, who reflect on their experiences in slavery.  It contains original images taken by the interviewers.  

Havana, Cuba

Slave Life Insurance Policy Receipts from La Providencia in Cuba contains the records of Life Insurance Policies taken out by slavers on their slaves.  Slavers routinely covered their slaves with life insurance policies.  The policies included data like the names and locations of owners, the insured value of the slaves, and descriptive information about each slave, like name, age, gender, skin and hair color, height, facial features, health, and the presence of scars. The collection includes an inventory of 105 slaves in the jurisdiction of Trinidad in the area of Rio de Ay, as well as a coolie immigration documents from Trinidad.  The collection features 17 insurance policies and other documents pertaining to La Protectora Insurance Companies of Cuba.


Slavery and the Courts, 1740-1860 is a collection of over 100 pamphlets and books.  It contains records of the experiences of African American slaves in the colonies.  The collection is an assortment of trials, cases, reports, and arguments.


New York Life Insurance

In August 2000, the California legislature found Insurance Policies from the slavery era documenting the use of insurance to cover slaveholders for the damage to or death of their slave property.  These records are available free to view and can be accessed in PDF format via the website.  The information included in the database pertains to names of slaves, names of slaveholders and New York Life canceled policies report.  

Some of the occupations held by slaves insured were:

  • Fireman

  • Boatman

  • Miner

  • Cabin Boy

  • Turpentine Distiller

  • Saw Mill

  • Timber Gatherer

  • Coach Maker

  • Wheelwright

  • House Servant

  • Carpenter

  • Carriage Painter

  • Wheelwright

  • Cigar maker

  • Blacksmith

  • Tailor

It made lots of sense to slaveholders moving west that they would need to insure their “property" before traveling such a long distance.  And this was especially true for those leaving the thirteen original colonies for frontier settlements in the American West.  

By Drew Smith

Published in 2009, Social Networking for Genealogists by Drew Smith explores the rise in use of user-generated content on the web.  It addresses the benefits of using websites such as Flickr, Twitter and Wikipedia to expand researcher access and to share information.  The timely exchange of necessary information provided by these websites highlights the impact of blogs, wikis, podcasts, message boards and mailing lists. Share photos and videos, tag and establish an online personal library.  Social Networking for Genealogists connects the novice with ways to meet those peers that will aide them on their genealogical journey.  Its author, Drew Smith, is also the co-host of the very popular Genealogy Guys Podcast.

African American Civil War Memorial Museum

The Sons and Daughters of the United States Colored Troop is a chartered organization attached to the African American Civil War Memorial Freedom Foundation.  

Its goal is:

"to augment the Foundation's mission to use the high visibility of the National Monument "The Spirit of Freedom" statue and the names of the 209,145 United States Colored Troop soldiers to change the way American History is taught and to motivate young people, especially African Americans, to civic pride and patriotism on a national basis."

Its mission is to honor the historical legacy of soldiers who served in the United States Colored Troop (USCT) and to educate the public on their role.  The organization operates on the state level and assists in carrying out the African American Civil War Memorial Freedom Foundation's goals and programs.


The South Carolina Digital Library (SCDL) is a collaborative effort that includes South Carolina’s schools, libraries, archives, museums, and other cultural heritage institutions. Its mission is to encourage collaborators to create, maintain, and promote digital collections.  The SCDL strives to provide the knowledge, the resources, and the capacity necessary for South Carolina institutions to complete individual digital projects. 

An incredible value, it provides easily accessible source material along with dynamic learning tools in rural areas throughout the state.  The web site gives greater access to the special South Carolina historical materials housed in the many museums, libraries, archives, and historical institutions in the state.  Researchers can access the collections of state libraries, colleges, universities, museums, and archives.  Media types also include images, audio, sheet music, manuscripts, maps, newspapers, and objects.  SCDL currently contains 165 total collections.

Vol. 1-20

The South Carolina Magazine of Ancestral Research is an indispensable resource for individuals researching family in Pre-Civil War South Carolina.  


It is chocked full of:

    Biographical Sketches
    Genealogical Articles
    Family Records
    Bible Records
    Letters
    Memoirs
    Diary Extracts
    Lists of Early Settlers
    Migrations
    Marriage Notices
    Marriage Licenses and Bonds
    Obituary Notices
    Church Records
    Membership Lists
    Cemetery Inscriptions 
    Records of Military Service
    Colonial Plats
    Writs of Partition
    Inventory Books
    Wills
    Will Books
    Estate Books 
    Notices
    Tax Lists
    Returns
    A list of Tax Collectors
    Voting Lists
    Petitions
    Equity journals 
Memorialized Records

Founded in 1973 by Laurence K. Wells its current subscription price is $30 per year.   One person can purchase an index to every name in volumes 1-20. These hardcover indexes provide a great wealth of information.  If you subscribe to…guess what…it comes with your subscription!  So, you can search magazine volumes 1-20 using event, location or keyword, basically for free.

Note:  Back issues of the SCMAR are available for purchase through the Brent H. Holcomb page.  


Online Records Index


Fold 3

Located on Fold3 at the National Archives these records contain inventories, appraisements and sales books.  The collection lists the assets and property of South Carolina’s slave-owners.  The information that can be gathered is mainly probate and tax-based.  The documents include bills of sale, estate settlements, livestock values and of course, the transfer of land and slaves.

For more information go to
National Archives and Records Administration

U.S. Southern Claims Commission Master Index, 1871-1880 was started in 1871 by the U.S. government in order to enable Southerners the right to file claims for the reimbursement of losses incurred during the Civil War.  

Claims could be filed by individuals who could:

1.)  Prove that he or she had a legitimate loss of property and 
2.)  Prove that he or she did not provide assistance to the Confederate Army

Over 22,000 cases were filed by individuals and families, as well as businesses, institutions, churches, and other organizations, it contains names and locations of the claimants.  Not only do the names and locations of the claimants provide background information about the Civil War, but each claimant was required to provide witnesses. The witnesses had to answer the same 80+ questions that the claimant had to answer. Many of these witnesses were former slaves whose names rarely appear on any other legal document from the Civil War era.  Witnesses provided names and dates for family members who often lived on other plantations. Many of the files are very rich in genealogical information.  

The Southern Claims Commission Status of the claim 

A = approved
D = disallowed
B = barred

Approved = received some money 
Disallowed = claim denied, no money received 
Barred = barred due to failure to submit sufficient evidence by the deadline set by the Commission number (all claims will have a commission number, only disallowed claims will have an office number and both allowed and disallowed claims will have a report number, barred claims will not)

IMPORTANT NOTE: Be sure to write down the claim status and any associated numbers to the claim researchers are researching. Proceed to the following databases depending on if the claim was indicated in the index as being ALLOWED, DISALLOWED, or BARRED. Be sure to carefully read the descriptions on those pages and follow the instructions outlined in order to locate the paperwork for that claim.


This is a slang Term used by slaves to refer to the close family feelings slaves they would have for each other even though they were not members of the same biological family.  A child who had been sold away from or lost their parents would be placed under the guardianship of older slaves whom they would call Uncle or Auntie. 


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