Would you like to join the re-launched African American/US Black Heritage Project? [closed]

+50 votes

We are happy to announce that the African American Project (now named US Black Heritage) is moving and grooving anew and we need your help!

Some of our goals are to add, connect, and honor members of the African American community as well as welcoming new WikiTree members and helping them to connect to their ancestors.

If you are a WikiTree member, have signed the Honor Code, and would like to join us, please:

**Answer below** with what activity(s) you would like to help us with and which team you would like to be on: (current choices are Profile Improvement, Enslaved People, Topics--see our project page for more information. More teams will be created as more members are added).

Do you want to help, but you can't commit to regular activity? Follow the black_heritage tag and watch for posts from us asking for help on specific tasks/projects.

Want an easy task you can do now? Please add the African-American sticker to all of your profiles from this community. This will help us honor them as well as watch our number of profiles grow. {{African-American Sticker}}

Thanks so much!

Want to join? See our new post here:


closed with the note: Opening a new request post
in Requests for Project Volunteers by Emma MacBeath G2G6 Pilot (826k points)
closed by Emma MacBeath
I will need guidance on where, how and when to upload what I have and in what format-thank you!

Tanya Warren
Hi Tiffany and Tayna, I sent you both private messages. Emma
Hello! I would love to help with research for Enslaved People in the Carolinas. I am currently researching multiple counties (Florence, Orangeburg, Richland, Lexington...) in South Carolina and would love to adopt profiles or help research names of enslaved people in these areas.
I would like to help with Enslaved People.
Thank you J.A. and Julia. I'm sending you private messages with more information. Emma
I am much the same.  My Sizemore ancestors are related somehow to the Melungeons though I am white and my direct line was white (other than the original NA ancestors).  It's through this same line, actually through the families of the women they married, that I found enslavers.  Now I'm trying to connect other associated families, including the enslaved.  These ancestors were also based in Virginia, as well as SC, NC, TN.
I also have Sizemores in a collateral line of my Melungeon Goins/Going/Gowen ancestors.  Many of the VA, NC, TN Melungeons went west , so you might want to check KY, IN, and others for your family.    Mine ended up in IN and eventually found greater freedom in MI.  They were listed as Mulatto in the early days, but most could pass for white.  We have been white for generations now.
My Sizemore ancestors moved from VA to western KY/TN in the early 1800s and I think the ones considered Melungeon were maybe cousins to my ancestor and migrated a bit differently.  Mine served in the Union during the Civil War and moved to southern Illinois following the war.  The thing that made me aware of Melungeons was my curiosity at seeing headstones with the Goins name near my ancestors graves.  I have a Black friend named Goins so it peeked my curiosity.  Not entirely sure how they all fit together but we descend from the same Sizemores.
Jack H Goins is the patriarch of the Melungeon Society and has Sizemores in his direct line.  I suggest you Google him to find his blog and a wealth of other sites that have more information on the Melungeons than you could ever want.  From what I have learned there are three different Goins clans, one of which is definitely Black.  The others have, for the most part, become White with passage of generations and intermarriage.
I need help with my first African American family tree.

I was told that all Peoples are related and I met a 30 year old with that name and I would say he is family but I can't get anywhere with his tree. Are there any special helps?

Peoples is my married name. The lineage I followed starts with David Peebles coming to America in the time of Cromwell.

47 Answers

+34 votes
Best answer
I'd like to offer my congratulations on the re-launch of this project and my Kudos to Emma, Sarah, Lucy, and everone else who have put in all this work to get this restarted.  It is no simple task to get a project running and we thank you for your hard work and dedication!
by SJ Baty G2G Astronaut (1.1m points)
selected by Gene Ellison
Thank you SJ!
+21 votes

I really don't need to be joining any more projects, since I'm not doing justice to the projects I've already joined, but as part of my work as a Connector, I've been slowly adding the unconnected profiles from the Asante's 100 Greatest African-Americans list to the Let others know what locations you are working on page. So far, I'm a little over halfway through the list.

by Greg Slade G2G6 Pilot (459k points)
Thanks again for your work on this list, Greg. It will be great to fill out the list on the Relationship Finder Quick Links.

And thank you, Emma, for your work on the African-Americans Project! You're a great project leader.
Oh my gosh, thank you so much Greg! This is the kind of work we need from those who can't commit to regular work on our project goals. So helpful!

And thank you for your kind words, Chris.
+15 votes
Emma, I'd like to be part of the Project as a member of the Profile Improvements Team.
by Debi Hoag G2G6 Pilot (325k points)
Thanks so much, Debi. I've got you added!
+14 votes
I would suggest you might want to add a "Collaborator Team" or something similarly named, for people like me who don't really have the time to add another separate activity, but who already have responsibilities on other projects that touch African Americans and/or enslaved people, and would appreciate the opportunity to contribute from that perspective.  In my case, I have related responsibilities for Maryland in both the Southern Colonies and United States Projects.  As a Team Leader in Southern Colonies, I would want my team members to be knowledgeable about developing concepts and polices regarding enslaved people, and to support the efforts of this project.
by Jack Day G2G6 Pilot (368k points)
This is on the list of things we want to make happen once we have the basics in place. Thanks for suggesting!
+9 votes
My plate's pretty full, not sure if I should join anything new right now. I did go ahead and add the sticker to a couple profiles I manage.
by Thomas Fuller G2G6 Mach 8 (81.6k points)
Thanks Thomas. We're thrilled with every contribution among the WikiTree community that helps us get closer to our goals!
+13 votes
Besides my own ancestry, I work primarily with Puritan Great Migration Project profiles.  I've seen wills in PGM profiles that indicate slave ownership...  So, please clarify, should a new profile be created for the slave who has no surname, birth or death dates/places?

As I continue to find slave ownership in PGM profiles,  I'll certainly follow this project's guidelines, and add the appropriate stickers.
by Cheryl Skordahl G2G6 Pilot (230k points)
We are still considering how to handle profiles of enslaved people with no known LNAB and/or dates. For many, surnames were not chosen until after 1865.

I think it may be a good idea to create a page to list people who need to be researched further, such as someone named in a will with a first name only. I have to think up an easy and accessible way to do this.
thank you, Lucy.  I'll await your direction for page of slaves with 1st name only.
+12 votes
Emma, please count me in. I would like very much to work on profiles for notable African Americans. So many are in needy condition. Recently I did the profile for Lorraine Hansberry, suggested it as a feature profile, and it could not be featured because not connected to the main tree. So I wanted to get in touch with somebody and see what to do, so glad this project is happening.
by C Ryder G2G6 Mach 8 (82.1k points)
Thanks so much C! I sent you a message with more information. Emma :-)
+14 votes
My Ph.D. dissertation was a family history of a NC family who did enslave people.  In 1865 three of the men so enslaved took the family name and as a result I have a full chapter in my dissertation tracing those families from 1830 1900.  I have begun to add some of that work to WiKi, but I was not aware of the special marking that is possible.   I can continue to add them as time permits or I could up-load the whole chapter for others to work with.

Nelson Weller
by Nelson Weller G2G2 (2.4k points)
Hi Nelson, thanks so much for this information! If you don't have time to work on it yourself, you could create a space page with the information and invite others to help you add it to WikiTree. We could add it to our Profiles Team list. It's up to what you want to do.
+11 votes
I would like to put a little time into Project Improvement.  Have started some research into Peake family of Cleveland, Ohio, area, said to be first Black family to settle in Cleveland (1809).  After 1860 most of this family is in two Michigan counties.  Their race assignment in the censuses is very varied.
by Janice Patterson G2G Crew (680 points)
We would love your help with Profile Improvement, Janice, thank you. I have sent you a message with more information.
+11 votes
Thank you for the suggestion. Just about all of the cousins on my father's side have African ancestry, and many of them are Americans. Our African lineage came from West Africa via the Bahamas. It's great to see how we are all connected.
by Marion Ceruti G2G6 Pilot (156k points)
Are you referring to the sticker? Thank you for adding it to help us connect family.
+10 votes
I do not have time to devote on a regular basis, but can possibly help in one or two ways.

(Spoiler Alert).  "The Lost German Slave Girl", by John Bailey, tells the story of an 1840s New Orleans court case in which it was claimed a young slave girl was actually Sally Miller, a German immigrant who was wrongly enslaved. The book describes Bridget Wilson, a slave who was gifted to my 3rd great grandparents to help raise their children.  I can add information about Bridget (who may be related), if that information is not already present.

Also, I sometimes come across references to individual African Americans in my research, some as early as the 1600s. I can add profiles about these individuals as I happen to come across them, if it would be of help.
by John George G2G1 (1.9k points)
Hi John, this would very much be of help. Also, if you can add the African American sticker as you create the profiles, it will help family more easily find their ancestors. Thanks so much!
Thank you. I have begun to enter information on the profile for Bridget Wilson, Wilson-72607, who was born about 1809 in Tatnall County, Georgia. Based on my secondary sources, Bridget's grandmother was probably born in Africa. I have some additional information to add, including the names of some of Bridget's children.
It's looking great, thanks John!
+11 votes
Im historian for the Plano Old City Cemetery and the adjacent Davis Cemetery (aka Colored Cemetery) . Ive compiled a tree on ancestry from all the headstones currently placed in these two cemeteries. Ive added about 80 names from death certificates in Collin County Texas for people I believe are buried there but have no headstones. Im guessing there are about 300 in total with no stones. Since early Collin county people seemed to have married within communities Ive also included the Ross Cemetery in McKinney. If this is information your group would be interested in Id be happy to help.
Oh my gosh, yes please! This is such valuable research. We would also love if you would like to join the project. You weren't logged in when you posted so I can't send you a personal message.
I also have the entire list on a spreadsheet. It does not include the relatives Ive documented on ancestry. Is there a way to upload the spread sheet without having to retype the whole thing? Ive uploaded a gedcom for my family and had to connect the people one by one to avoid duplicates but in the case of the cemetery there are unconnected families which I understand would require numerous gedcoms.
Aurora, just wanted to say "hi" and it's a small world - I'm working on a similar project for the Routh cemetery in Richardson, Collin County, Texas :)
Aurora, you can't upload a spreadsheet to WikiTree, however, do you use Google sheets? Can you import your spreadsheet to Google sheets and make it public? You could then share the link to the sheet for everyone to be able to view.
Im friends with one of the Routh descendants, Ive been looking up stuff for her.
+11 votes
I’ll join! Focus on the Enslaved People subproject. I’ve added some names and ages of EPs in my slaveholder ancestors’ bios for now. I’m using the BeyondKin.org method on my Ancestry.com tree.
by Elaine Martzen G2G6 Mach 4 (46.0k points)
Yay! I am so glad you have BeyondKin experience since we are looking at this as a model for our subproject. We could very much use your input on this. I sent you a message with more information about the project. Emma
I'm hoping to connect you to another person looking at ways to share the BKP work on the open internet, who asked here on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/groups/1448445325226364/permalink/3968764843194387/


Ok, thanks!
+11 votes

Congrats on the timely reboot, thanks especially for any future consideration and guidance regarding how to handle those enslaved individuals who lack vital details and last names.    

I can't join your project due to advanced brain overload, but thought I'd drop in with the unfortunate news that your sticker imagery has been double "photo-bombed" by one the the oldest trickers in human history. The timeless practical joker named Kokopelli has crashed the lively party of your sticker! 


This deity comes from straight out of Ancient Southwest American iconography. He may be ancient, but he is full of fun, joy, music, and the seeds of future babies. While he is American in the deepest senses of the word, he is not African American. 

I know the project is evolving and I really appreciate everyone's hard work and leadership. Maybe in time someone out there might come forth with an idea for a better sticker image, and should that someday happen everyone should know it is very easy to swap the image in a way that alters the ticket on each profile that employs it.

And should the leaders prefer to keep the image, at least we know who the life of the party is....   


About the trickster: 



by R Adams G2G6 Mach 2 (21.2k points)
Ah, good point on the size.  But I could have sworn that the chains image was different than it looks now, somehow?  The last time I really looked at it was around 2015, and I'm not crazy about it, either, but everyone else liked it.

Oh. I found it here:


I don't know where else to look. This one from the Southern Colonies has a background and would need to be cleaned up:

I would like to see something with a positive message since this will be on profiles across history and time.
The other one is here: https://www.wikitree.com/index.php?title=Space:US_Southern_Colonies_Slavery&public=1

But it looks like the same image.
Well, there is the famous statue of the liberated slave with his chains broken.
I like the graphic I saw around here with the US shape with the African colors (red, black, green). I also made a graphic that superimposes the shape of Africa over the Eastern US with the western US red, the overlapping black and the African portion green. It looks nice, but I am not sure it would show up well very small. I have hesitated to upload it for some reason.

I found it.

That could work. To me this new image says "Africa....America" very simply informative, functional, slightly reminiscent of caribbean flags due to color,  but......it is not as symbolically, and historically evocative for me as the Sankofa with its uniquely colorful green to purple fade.

About the chains image, it's very very strong in evoking the steely cold inhumanity of slavery, but for most of the African American profiles I've created or worked on, it does not really fit them since they weren't slaves. They were free farmers, factory workers, entrepreneurs, washer women, domestics, soldiers, cooks, artists,  etc.  

So for me the chains are not universal enough, though could maybe work as a linked image for both enslaved and enslaving persons if the sub-project was into that.

I've been looking at the symbolism and I also like the Aya "the fern". "It is a symbol of endurance and resourcefulness. The fern is a hardy plant that can grow in difficult places. This symbol suggests that you've endured many adversities and outlasted much difficulty."

I also think the graphic should be a simple black and white. Referencing Kente colors and their meanings, black stands for maturation, spirits of the ancestors. White is for purity, healing, festive occasions. The other colors mentioned are:

  • Gold - royalty, wealth, spiritual purity
  • Yellow - royalty, wealth, holy, precious
  • Blue - peace, harmony, love
  • Green - harvest, growth, spiritual renewal
  • Red - blood, strong political and spiritual feelings
  • Maroon - mother earth, healing
  • Purple - earth, healing, femininity


Aya! That's a good one both for the look and the meaning. I found the above Aya at the Ghanaian Museum's website where they have a glossary of Adinkra meanings.  : https://ghanaianmuseum.com/adinkra-symbols-and-meanings/ 

p.s. Above image is set to 50 pixel height.

wikitree Help:Stickers says: "Profile Stickers can have no more than two thumbnail images. They will be displayed at 50 pixels wide. Ideally they should be square, i.e. 50x50. They can be slightly taller but should never exceed 75 pixels high."

+9 votes
I'd like to help on profile improvement and I will add the sticker to some of my profiles!   Excited to see this happening.
by Tara Wildes G2G6 Mach 1 (18.1k points)
Yay Tara! Thank you for volunteering. I've sent you a message with more information. Emma
+10 votes
hi emma! i would love to join the project.
by Liz Marshall G2G6 Mach 8 (85.2k points)
Great! I will add you! Have you thought about which team would suit you?
Yay Liz!
+9 votes

I'll help out wherever I can. I haven't added most of my family to wikitree yet, the bulk of my info is still on Ancestry only. 

by Jai Sanders G2G1 (1.2k points)
Thank you so much, Jai! I sent you a message with more information. Emma :-)
+8 votes
And I can't join for regular participation but I've added a tag and will help as I can. I'll be adding the sticker to my relative. Thanks - Lucy
by Lucy Robinson G2G6 Mach 1 (15.0k points)
Thank you so much for your contributions, Lucy!
+9 votes
Hi Emma,

Thanks for reaching out. Yes, I would like to help fill the gaps for the African-American project. I have started by placing the African-American sticker on the profiles I have created. I still have a ways to go as I have created over 4,000 profiles over the last few months. I still have many many more. I also see where I should also use the Slavery sticker, so I will do that on the few that I know began their life on this earth as slaves. What else do I need to do to indicate I am a volunteer. Also, I think I saw a project for adding profiles from the U.S Census records. Is that correct. I would love to do that!
by Denise Jarrett G2G6 Mach 1 (17.5k points)

Yay! So glad you came by. 4000 profiles is so amazing! Do we have a slavery sticker? If so, I need to add it to our list. If not, we can certainly talk about creating one.

For our project, the Profile Improvement Team will be adding family groups from census records, among other tasks. I'm currently adding all families from the 1880 St. Marks, SC census for instance. 


I will send you a message with more information. 

I haven't seen a slavery sticker.

I'm working from the 1870 Horry County, South Carolina census. It would be great if more people could work on this.
+9 votes
Looking forward to this project.  I have both African and European ancestors.  I can trace some European ancestors back hundreds of years.  I can only find 1 or 2 African ancestors who were born during slavery, but lived most of their life afterwards (thanks to 1870 and 1880 census).  I would love to find more of them.  Thanks!
by Keith Truax G2G Crew (480 points)
Awesome, Keith!  Welcome! I sent you a message with more information.
Hi Keith, I sent you a message, but haven't heard back. Let me know if you didn't get it. Thanks!

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