African American History of Frederick County, Maryland
FrederickRoots* exists to serve as a resource for researching the history of the African American families of Frederick County, Maryland. Particular emphasis is placed upon the small farming communities of the County. The black communities currently covered are those of Oldfield (Keys Chapel M.E. Church), Libertytown (John Wesley Church), Mount Pleasant (Silver Hill Church), and Mt. Olive M. E. Church (near New Windsor).
Most of the families of these communities have their roots in slavery. A primary mission of this site is to trace those roots back to the first slave who was freed, identifying his or her owner, location, and documents of manumission**.
While a wealth of resources are available for tracing the roots of white families, the sources for black families are much more limited. Some information is accessible, but much is buried. Census records are less complete, official documents are less detailed, and birth/death data are fragmentary.
The information on this site is intended to fill a critical gap, and can provide a beginning point for those wishing to learn about the black families of the County. In addition to a genealogical database, the site also contains useful information extracted from the US Census and other sources. While far from complete, these data can provide a beginning point for investigation of more complete sources, either online or in local libraries.
This work began with an interest in the small 1800's community of Oldfield, located on what is now Keys Chapel Road. It is our desire that this resource will grow through additional contributors. We welcome the participation of others in our effort.
We encourage the submission of family trees, pictures, personal accounts, articles, and other historical and genealogical information for inclusion on these pages.
Finally, this site is a work in progress and we would appreciate any comments and, especially, notification of any errors one might find. Contact information is provided at the bottom of this page.
Commissioner of Slave Statistics Report: Frederick County, Maryland - 1864 by
Richard H. Smith, Jr., 2012
See it at our Bookstore link at left.
Read a recent Frederick News Post, Horizon Magazine article on our work (2/26/2012). Link to article.
INFORMATION SOUGHT: If you have any pictures of Frederick County African Americans in the 1800's or early 1900's, and would like to post them on this site, please contact us at the link below. Copies of pictures can be submitted electronically or we can make arrangements to scan them for you at no cost.
* FrederickRoots.com is a subsidiary of its sister site, AccomacRoots.com. AccomacRoots centers on the African American history of Accomack County, Virginia and is affiliated with the Chincoteague Cultural Alliance (CCA), a non-profit (501c3), tax-exempt organization formed to enhance community life on Chincoteague Island and the Eastern Shore by fostering and promoting the growth and vitality of the arts and culture.
** Manumission is the act of freeing a slave, normally either by deed or last will and testament. In many cases, freedom came about as a result of the conclusion of the Civil War.