Professional Research Services


The 1860 census counted 3,953,760 slaves living in the southern states.  Documenting the lives and family relationships of those slaves can take a lifetime without the help of experienced professionals. African American research is difficult, which may be the reason few full-time genealogists specialize in that aspect of their field.  Years ago Lineages, Inc. saw the void and became experts in African American genealogy.

Our services have been designed to meet the needs of anyone who hires us to trace their ancestry. Most African Americans have several research goals, including:

  1. Untangle the truths in their family's oral history from the embellishments that have been introduced with each retelling of the story.
  2. Trace their ancestors back as far as possible in the time allowed for each project.
  3. Identify who owned their ancestors and where they lived as slaves.
  4. Determine if any of their ancestors were free persons of color before 1865.
  5. Find out where their ancestors lived in Africa.

Oral history plays a very important role in tracing African American ancestors. Over the years of telling, bits and pieces of the original story become embellished. Some stories become so distorted that they lead amateur researchers far from the truth. A professional genealogist does not have an emotional attachment to a client’s oral history. They will attempt to document each fact and set aside those that cannot be proved.

After tracing an African American family back to 1865 our focus will turn to identifying who owned them during slavery. Their names will appear in public records only in relationship to that owner. We'll search property, estate and court records, as well as slave schedules, to prove the owner-slave relationship. Sometimes public records are silent about that relationship, which limits the number of generations that one family line can be traced. If we hit a dead-end on one line, we'll move to another and see where it goes. All during this process, the story of your slave ancestors will evolve.

Tracing ancestry is similar to solving a mystery. A researcher examines dozens of public and private records to gather facts and clues about your family’s past. Then the pieces are fit together to construct a well-documented family tree.

Each completed research project consists of the following:

  • a detailed report explaining how research was conducted
  • a list of records searched, photocopies and extracts of the records in which your ancestors are recorded, including census records, military service files, estate records, old deeds, birth, marriage, and death certificates, and many other types of records
  • Carefully computerized lineage charts and family group records showing your line of descent come with each project.


Research Packages

Standard African American Research Project
The least expensive of Lineages' in-depth afrian amerian research projects focuses upon one or two family lines. Our staff will search multiple record sources to extend the surname of your choice as far back as possible in the hours allocated by your retainer. Our goal will be to extend back to approximately 1866.
     Contact us at (801) 571-6122 to order now!

Expanded Research Project
This 30 hour research project involves tracing as many family lines back to the time of slavery - includes identifying their slave owners, as well as the plantations where they lived and worked.
     Contact us at (801) 571-6122 to order now!

Perpetual Family Tree Project
This 60 hour + research project involves tracing as many family lines back to the time of slavery - includes identifying their slave owners, as well as the plantations where they lived and worked. We'll dig deeply to find historical and biographical information to write detailed biographical sketches about your ancestors. This project also includes a free weebsitefeaturing your Computerized Family Tree! Relatives can view your tree and email us information about their branch of the family. We'll add it to your computer file and update your online tree! We'll also add digitized family photos!
     Contact us at (801) 571-6122 to order now!

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