Partners with W.E.B. DuBois Institute to Publish the Patriots of Color Database

by Julie Hill

Posted on February 24, 2012

REDWOOD CITY, Calif., Feb. 24, 2012 -- In honor of Black History Month,, a website devoted to making family history simple and affordable, today announced the launch of the Patriots of Color Database. is bringing this collection online for the first time, compiling years of research facilitated by the W.E.B. Du Bois Institute for African and African American Research at Harvard University. These records unveil new and invaluable information about some of the men and women of color who fought for American independence in such roles as soldiers, skilled craftsmen, and servants. This new collection, of critical importance to historians, academics, and the general public, is now available for free at

Henry Louis Gates Jr., the Director of the W.E.B. Du Bois Institute notes, "I was filming 'African American Lives' for PBS when historical researcher Jane Ailes shared a discovery that my fourth great-grandfather John Redman served in the Light Dragoons of the Continental Army from 1778-1784. I was astonished and delighted, and it drove me to want to learn more about other men and women of color who fought to win America's independence."

People of African descent were often not well documented in census records and traditional sources, making African family history research uniquely challenging. This Patriots of Color Database is a first large step in bringing to life the stories of early Americans of color and the contributions they've made to American history. Over two years of research has focused on verifying the service and complexion of patriots from each of the 13 colonies using primarily original records such as pension and bounty land application files, muster and pay rolls, lists of troops, court records, legislative records, census records, and more.

" is proud to publish this valuable historical information and make it freely available to family historians and historical researchers," said Director of Product Joe Godfrey. "This is ultimately just the beginning of a much more extensive project, and we're excited to encourage more research and exploration of this relatively unknown and underappreciated group of patriots."

Funding for this project has been generously provided by David Roux, Richard Gilder and the Gilder Lehrman Foundation, Joseph Dooley and the Sons of the American Revolution, and the W. E. B. DuBois Institute for African and African American Research at Harvard University. Jane Ailes has acted as the primary researcher. The database is a summary of a portion of the information so far collected for each Patriot. This is the beginning of an extensive project, and these data are being made available at an early stage to encourage more research and scholarship, with further information to be published in the future. The Patriots of Color database is free for anyone to search and explore at

About Archives is a leading family history website that makes discovering family history simple and affordable. The company has assembled more than 2 billion historical records in a single location, and makes them available at a price that's up to 80 percent less than the leading competitor. Archives also partners with other leading family history websites to provide integrated record collections, discounted memberships, official certificates and other special promotions. is free to try for seven days, allowing anyone to explore the benefits of membership without risk or obligation. is owned and operated by Inflection, a fast-growing data commerce company. Find more information at

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