African American History of Accomac* County, Virginia
Listen to Accomac Roots' theme music
an original composition by Bill Troxler†.
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AccomacRoots, affiliated with the non-profit Chincoteague Cultural Alliance (CCA)**, exists to serve as a resource for researching the genealogy of African American families on Chincoteague Island, Accomac County, Virginia (CI). From 1810 to 1850, free blacks and slaves comprised 40 to 50% of the population of the county. And yet, comparatively very little has been written or compiled about those families.
While a wealth of resources are available for tracing the roots of white families, the sources for black families are much more limited. Like the Island tombstone in our masthead, 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 families of color on Chincoteague Island. 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.
Both because the history of Chincoteague is intimately connected to that of Accomac County, and because future widening of the scope of information covered here is anticipated, the URL AccomacRoots was chosen. 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.
TWO NEW AFRICAN AMERICAN RESOURCE BOOKS NOW AVAILABLE: Manumission Deeds of Accomack County, Virginia & Manumission Wills of Accomack County, Virginia. See our Bookstore for details.
Cleanup of Christ Union Baptist Church Cemetery: On November 17, 2007 and January 12, 2008 the Chincoteague Cemetery Committee, with the help of additional willing hands and strong backs, cleaned up the badly overgrown center section of the cemetery. Roughly 4 large dumptruck loads of trees and brush were removed, and, in the process, several previously buried tombstone were discovered. See Cleanup Pictures.
LOOK UP SERVICE: Note at the left that
we have now added a "Lookup" feature to the Accomac Roots website.
So if you have specific information that you wish one of our volunteers to search
for in a specific reference listed on the "Sources"
page, got to "Lookups" and submit your question
to the email address beside that source.
VOLUNTEERS STILL NEEDED. If you have any of the geneological resources listed on the Sources page and would be willing to volunteer to lookup information for users of this site, please email Rick Smith at the Contact link below.
INFORMATION SOUGHT: We now have maped both of the African American cemeteries on Chincoteague, Odd Fellows and Christ Union Baptist Cemetery. If you know of the identity of the person lying in an unmarked grave in either of these cemeteries, please contact us at the link below so that we can add that information to the database.
INFORMATION SOUGHT: If you have any pictures of Accomac 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.
** The Chincoteague Cultural Alliance (CCA) is 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.
* The older spelling of the county's name is used, omitting the final "k," which was officially added to the name in the Twentieth Century.
†Accomac Roots theme composed and performed by Bill Troxler.
Copyright 2010, all rights reserved.
Recorded at Longtayle Studios, Chincoteague Island, Virginia