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A new indexing opportunity

It was a joy for The Legal Genealogist to join the initiative launched earlier this year by the Center for Family History at the International African American Museum, FamilySearch and BlackProGen Live called Restore the Ancestors 2019, “a volunteer community effort to index FamilySearch records of interest for African American genealogy, with a special focus on records for the former slaveholding states.”1

As I noted at the time, of all of the lasting — and devastating — effects of slavery in the United States, perhaps the worst from a genealogical perspective is severing generations of people from each other. Taking people away from their families. Taking even their names. Taking people away from their history. Taking them away from the names of their ancestors.2

Restore the Ancestors 2019

What the project provides is an opportunity for the entire genealogical community to do what it can to restore the names of those ancestors by indexing records at FamilySearch. The first project undertaken by the Restore the Ancestors 2019 indexers was the early marriage records Colleton County, SC, an area where few antebellum records survive. Completed ahead of schedule, those records are now in post indexing processing and will be available soon on FamilySearch.

Now, Restore the Ancestors 2019 is launching its second indexing set:

Our newest record set, “US, South Carolina, Charleston—Birth Registers, 1901–1926 [Part A]” is very information-rich. The birth registers record the baby’s name, place of birth, midwife or doctor who delivered the baby, the father’s name, the mother’s maiden name, the birthplace of both parents and the father’s occupation. These records will be invaluable for those researching ancestors born in the city of Charleston, and you can help us make this a free, searchable collection on FamilySearch!3

Indexing records on is easy. Many of us have done it for other projects at other times and we’ve found it to be downright fun. Other than needing to register for this project rather than just jumping in, this project is no different. And if you’ve never done indexing there before, the project asks you to start with its first announcement — you can find it here — to get step-by-step instructions on how to join in the Restore the Ancestors Project and indexing records on FamilySearch.

The blog post announcing this newest set of records for indexing — you can find it here — has step-by-step instructions for this second round of indexing.

And there’s a Facebook group after we register for the project where we can go for more help.

It’s fun.

It’s a good deed for genealogy in general and for an underserved population in particular.

And did I mention that it’s fun?

Come on out and join us as we Restore the Ancestors 2019.

Cite/link to this post: Judy G. Russell, “Restoring the ancestors, round 2,” The Legal Genealogist ( : posted 30 Aug 2019).


  1. Toni Carrier, “Announcing the Restore the Ancestors 2019 Project: Help Us Index Records for African American Genealogy,” Center for Family History, International African American Museum ( : accessed 4 Apr 2019).
  2. Judy G. Russell, “Restoring the ancestors,” The Legal Genealogist, posted 4 Apr 2019 ( : accessed 30 Aug 2019).
  3. Toni Carrier, “Restore the Ancestors Project – How to Index Charleston, SC Birth Registers,” Center for Family History, International African American Museum ( : accessed 30 Aug 2019).
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