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If your ancestor is a naturalized United States citizen who immigrated to the U.S., try exploring the various ships that your ancestor may have sailed over on. If you have a passport and the date it was issued, you can request, for free under the Freedom of Information Act from the state department in Washington DC. You will need to prove that your ancestor is deceased. You will also need the passport applicant's name, passport number, year of birth, date of naturalization, place of residence, year of travel and your name, mailing address and telephone number. This request will take a bit of time to process, so be patient!
The Library of Michigan maintains a large collection of resources that relate to African-American genealogical research. Titles may be located through ANSWER, the Library's online catalog.
You'll find this wonderful resource here:
African-American Research Resources at the Library of Michigan
According to the NARA, approximately 95 percent of mid-19th century passport applicants were men. Many women also traveled overseas, however, but often there is no trace of their passports. Why?
Until the latter part of the nineteenth century, if a male passport applicant was going to be accompanied by a woman - be it his wife, child, servant, sister, mother, or any female under his "protection", the names, ages, and relationship of the females to the male applicant were stated on HIS passport application. One passport was then issued to cover the entire group.
Among the LOC's many wonderful resources is the 'Local History and Genealogy Reading Room'.
This collection includes books, monographs, CD-ROMS, a 'vertical file,' and many internet-based subscription services.
The library is located at:
Thomas Jefferson Building, Room LJ G42
101 Independence Avenue, S.E.
Washington, D.C. 20540-4660
Map showing location
The hours of operation are:
Monday, Wednesday, and Thursday: 8:30 a.m. - 9:30 p.m.
Tuesday, Friday, and Saturday: 8:30 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.
Sunday and Federal Holidays: Closed