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African American Heritage takes genealogists back beyond 1870 with marriage records, slave registers and more

New content in a ground-breaking ProQuest genealogy product enables African Americans to more easily trace their ancestry and break through a boundary that has hindered research in the past. ProQuest African American Heritage has added marriage, cohabitation, and registers of slaves and free persons of color that date from the early 1800’s, making digitally accessible some of the earliest official records of Africans in the U.S. ProQuest African American Heritage is a digital resource exclusively devoted to African American family history research.

“Family historians exploring African American slave lines have often found that pre-1870 is a barrier that confounds further research because the names of slaves were rarely recorded in the earlier federal censuses,” said Chris Cowan, ProQuest Vice-President, Publishing. “However, we’re continuing to digitize documents that help break through that boundary and unlock far more clues for putting together a fuller and more informed family tree.”

Because the new records contain solely African American family history data, they make it easier to find African American ancestors here than in any other digital resource. The records include North Carolina Cohabitation Records (1820-1868) and Marriage Records from Brooke County, West Virginia (1909-1937). Plus, the Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Louisiana Registers of Slaves and Free Persons of Color from a variety of counties (1780-1864), and U.S. Colored Troop Records (1861-1865) have been added. While information can vary between sources and records, family historians will find searchable name indexes that include handy features such as sortable results lists, image transcriptions, accurate SOUNDEX searching, and more.

ProQuest African American Heritage was created in collaboration with leading African American genealogists and thought leaders in genealogical research. The resource is renowned for bringing together primary sources critical to African American family research and connecting genealogists to research tools and a community of research experts. ProQuest African American Heritage is part of ProQuest’s acclaimed and continually growing resources for family historians. Learn more at

About ProQuest

ProQuest creates specialized information resources and technologies that provide the most successful ways for people to search, find, use, and share information.

A global leader in serving libraries of all types, ProQuest offers the expertise of such respected brands as UMI®, Chadwyck-Healey™, SIRS®, and eLibrary®. With Serials Solutions®, Ulrich's™, RefWorks®, COS™, Dialog® and now Bowker® part of the ProQuest brand family, the company supports the breadth of the information community with innovative discovery solutions that power the business of books and the best in research experience.

More than a content provider or aggregator, ProQuest is an information partner, creating indispensable research solutions that connect people and information. Through innovative, user-centered discovery technology, ProQuest offers billions of pages of global content that includes historical newspapers, dissertations, and uniquely relevant resources for researchers of any level and sophistication—including content not likely to be digitized by others.

The company is nearing launch of an all-new platform that will transform delivery of several highly-regarded individual platforms into a consolidated research experience that will encompass all ProQuest family products over time.  Inspired by its customers and their end users, ProQuest is working toward a future that blends information accessibility with community to further enhance learning and encourage lifelong enrichment.

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16 August 2010

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Beth Dempsey
Public Relations Manager
(734) 707-2665