Frequently Asked Questions
Society of the First African Families of English America
The following are some of the questions we are often asked. Hopefully our responses will help you with applying for membership.
- Are birth certificates, marriage certificates, and death certificates required? It is preferred, but in some cases, these records may not exist, so the Society of the First African Families of English America will accept other forms of proof, such as census records, newspaper obituaries and announcements, and Bible records if they are contemporary with the event. There must be documentation connecting each generation.
- Are there guidelines for preparing the application? Yes, the application includes instructions and guidelines.
- Are there internet sites that provide clues for ancestorial connections? Genealogical lineages found on FreeAfricanAmericans.com or Ancestry.com are good tools and hints for possible research but are not acceptable as a primary source. The original records found on Ancestry.com (wills, censuses, and other vital records) are acceptable items of proof.
- Can you recommend consultants who can help with genealogical research? Unfortunately, we cannot advise of consultants that can provide their service, and PLEASE beware of spam artists it can be costly and not netting any reliable results. Check refences as examples of successful research with guarantees.
- Does Society of the First African Families of English America accept printed genealogies as proof? Printed genealogies are only accepted if they contain thorough documentation. Most do not meet this standard.
- Does the Society of the First African Families of English America accept internet documentation? No, avoid relying on information from the internet as proof of lineal descent. Instead, use the internet only for hints about finding the primary sources needed for documentation.
- Does the Society of the First African Families of English America require that the applicant supplies a copy of the original document or will it accept a published abstract, for example for a will? Published abstracts that are complete are okay, but they must clearly document the connection.
- Does the Society of the First African Families of English America assist with research? No, the Society does not assist applicants with research for their application, the burden is on the applicant.
- What is the Society of the First African Families of English America application process? The application can be found on our Application Process web page, follow the instructions.
- If I am a member of DAR [SAR or SDUSMP] can my record application be used if my ancestors originally descend from an African? The SOFAFEA accepts record copies from other approved lineage societies. If a colonial record/document explicitly places their birthdate prior to March 5, 1770, the answer would be yes. Please refer to the Instructions for Submitting an Application on other heredity societies.
- Will the Society of the First African Families of English America accept proving back to a common ancestor on an already accepted application? Yes, but the applicant should ask the Society of the First African Families of English America genealogist first about the specific application that will be used. Send the membership number or name of the member whose application paper will be used. The First African Families Genealogist will check it and respond whether that existing application paper is acceptable or whether additional documentation must be provided.