The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

February 18, 2013

Frankie Meyer: African-American ancestral records available

By Frankie Meyer
Globe Columnist

JOPLIN, Mo. — Families with African-American ancestry have an especially difficult task in researching family history, because many of their ancestors were slaves who were not allowed to read or write before the Civil War. Consequently, letters, diaries and similar records are scarce.

Fortunately, black families in Missouri have several archives and museums that will be helpful.

Before visiting these sites, however, researchers should first digitize old photos and documents and have older relatives tell what they know about them. Families should also record the stories of the older family members. Even distant cousins need to be contacted.

Places to start  your research

Suggestions or queries? Contact Frankie Meyer, 509 N. Center St., Plainfield, IN 46168 or email