About the Project

The African-American Families Database is sponsored and created by the Central Virginia History Researchers (CVHR) Group, based in Charlottesville, Virginia. The group includes a couple dozen core members who have decades of historical, genealogical, anthropological, and archaeological experience. Some members are researching their own families, while others are using family history to illustrate larger social and cultural trends in Albemarle County.

The first stage of this website provides a template for researchers trying to locate specific African Americans who lived between circa 1850 and 1880. This period is particularly challenging for African-American family research because of the difficulty in relating ante-bellum and post-bellum records.

For now we have chosen two plantations - Hydraulic Mills and Bleak House - to illustrate techniques for finding individuals.

In April 2010 we were awarded a Digital Start-Up Grant by the National Endowment for the Humanities. This support will allow us to create a pilot database for modeling the information available for two plantations in Albemarle County. We will post our on-going results on this website.


One of our members in front of Kenwood (at Monticello) - our monthly meeting spot.