Discovering your family’s past is empowering. You may be opening the door on a mystery or solving a puzzle, while also giving strength to your personal identity. For African Americans, the search often slows or stops when reaching back to the time of enslavement. There are ways, however, to pierce this seemingly impenetrable curtain. Some of the southeastern states, most of those that fought for the confederacy, still have limited records, e.g. South Carolina. Check the websites in these states and some of the cities. My great grandfather who was born into slavery in Cheraw, SC, ended up in Apalachicola, FL, before migrating with his family to Battle Creek, MI. I went online to the Cheraw website and learned there were two large migrations of blacks from the area, early 1870s and the early 1900s. I was able to estimate his family left South Carolina during the 1870 migration.