Reference Review: African-American Genealogy at a Glance

Just the other morning, a young protege was saying that her research seemed unfocused and that she thought she needed to go someplace other than her usual research venues. I talked a few ideas with her. Then, the next day, I received a review copy of Genealogy at a Glance: African American Genealogy Research. My protege’s dilemma was solved (almost)!

A 2011 addition to Genealogical Publishing Company‘s series, Genealogy at a Glance, this four page reference is by Michael Hait, one of the points of light in the sometimes foggy world of genealogical research. (Wait, did you say four pages? Yes, yes I did say “four pages!”).

Okay, so I was skeptical, too, that such a topic could be adequately and accurately reduced to just four pages of text. But as I studied it, I found it to be concise, easy to understand, yet accurate and comprehensive. Hait covers the field very nearly completely in the space allotted. From “Basic Research Sources” to “Free African Americans in the North and South” the author gives tips and reference citations. He tells where to find the records (many have limited availability).

This reference is useful for novice and experienced researchers alike. It certainly is a road map of sorts for the newcomer; for the old hand, it may jog a memory or inspire a new approach. For all experience classes, it can provide an organizing template for research.

The material really is usable “at a glance.” Hait’s writing is direct and active; the editorial lay out is easy to follow. At the end, he includes a short list of online resources and a “Further Reading” section.

A concession to space, no doubt, was the omission of special collections at academic research institutions such as the Louisiana State University Libraries or the University of Virginia, which house many files of slave-owning families.

But nonetheless, Michael Hait, who writes the African-American Genealogy Examiner column, scores again with this simple, but elegant reference guide. Check out Michael’s own websites at and Planting the Seeds.

Genealogical Publishing Company is the world’s leading publisher of genealogical books and CD’s, with over 2000 titles in its catalog.


2 Responses to “Reference Review: African-American Genealogy at a Glance”

  • Craig says:


    Thanks for your comment! I unfortunately can’t make the event but I will be promoting on the blog!

  • Your blog is wonderful. Very informative and inspirational!
    Please consider posting information about another great resource for African American families.
       The National Black Genealogy Summit will take place October 20 – 22, 2011 in Fort Wayne, Indiana. Fort Wayne’s Allen County Public Library is home to one of the nation’s most comprehensive collections of genealogy records, and an excellent source of documents pertaining to Black genealogy in particular.
       The three-day conference will feature a number of nationally-known genealogy and research experts, and a wide variety of workshops for everyone from beginners to experienced family researchers.
       For more information, please visit
       Thanks for your consideration.

September 2011
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