The International African American Museum (IAAM) announces the launch of its newly established Genealogy Research Area and Reference Library at the Center for Family History (CFH).

This significant development aims to assist individuals, particularly within the African American community, in overcoming historical challenges related to tracing their ancestry. The new resources offer unprecedented access to millions of ancestral records and enhance the museum’s capabilities in genealogical research.

The Center for Family History has now added over 1,300 books to its Reference Library, significantly expanding its collection of genealogy and history resources. The newly introduced Research Area is equipped with iPad stations allowing visitors to explore 32 renowned genealogy and historical websites. These tools are designed to facilitate both novice and experienced researchers in discovering their family histories.

Brian Sheffey, Director of the CFH, emphasized the importance of these resources in correcting the longstanding misperception that African American ancestry is untraceable in the U.S. prior to 1870.

With these additional resources, we are poised to rewrite the narrative, providing vital links to past generations.

Brian Sheffey, Director of the CFH

To support the CFH’s commitment to sustainability, visitors are encouraged to use USB flash drives at these stations to save their research, supporting the center’s paperless initiative.

Furthering its educational mission, the CFH offers a range of programs, including the “Getting Started with Genealogy” sessions held from Tuesday to Friday, and a special virtual event, “Getting to Know the Center for Family History.” These programs are designed to assist researchers at all levels and to provide an engaging learning experience about genealogical methods and resources.

The museum also provides a virtual consultation service for personalized guidance in family history research. This service, available at a cost, can be accessed through the CFH website.

Admission to the Center for Family History is included with the purchase of a timed ticket to the museum, available through the IAAM website. More details on the Research Area, Reference Library, and programming can be found on the museum’s dedicated Center for Family History page.

The IAAM is committed to illuminating the rich history and cultural impact of African Americans in Charleston and beyond, using its platform to challenge and educate about the complexities of the African American journey. This initiative at the CFH not only enhances access to historical records but also serves as a profound community resource for connecting individuals with their ancestral heritage.

For additional information or to book a visit, please refer to


Center for Family History International African American Museum

14 Wharfside Street, Charleston, SC, 29401

Email: [email protected]


Image Source:

  • Photo by Eye for Ebony: instant images