The MGC Book Collection

All of the books in our collection have been donated, and they reflect the interests of our members who made the donations. Black history predominates, but the collection is varied. Examples include the Letters of William Lloyd Garrison (Garrison was a noted 19th century abolitionist.), Blacks in Appalachia, History of the Hocking Valley, Native Tribes of North America, the Encyclopedia of Jazz and Blues. One of our members donated several books on the Harlem Renaissance. Our collection of about 600 volumes also includes novels and books for children.

Please search our book collection here.

At this time, all books and papers in the MGC collection are available only by visiting the Multicultural Genealogical Center in Chesterhill.

Melungeon Materials in the MGC Library

The term “melungeon” refers to groups found throughout the eastern United States who are not identified as whites, blacks, or Indians. These are people who are of mixed white, black, and Indian ancestry. They also have been called “tri-racial isolates” as they historically have been more comfortable living in isolated mountain or backwoods areas. As local populations increased, families have moved. For example melungeon families in West Virginia have moved to rural areas in Morgan, Washington, and Athens Counties, Ohio, areas which are in the special interest area of MGC.

Bernard Mayhle, Alvin Adams and Richard Walker collected melungeon research and donated it to the MGC Library. The collection consists of about two file drawers of materials containing articles such as “The American Isolates” published in the American Anthropologist in June, 1972. From the same issue of that journal is a paper called “The Collective Identity of Marginal Peoples: The North Carolina Experience” and “An Overview of the Phenomenon of Mixed Racial Isolates in the United States. The Adams/MGC collection also includes research by Brent Kennedy, who defines himself as a melungeon and who did his dissertation on these families.  In addition, the MGC collection includes a 1952 master’s thesis entitled “The Guineas of West Virginia” (“Guinea” is another term for melungeon), and a 1976 dissertation on the “Oral, Printed, and Popular Culture Traditions related to the Melungeons of Hancock County, Tennessee.”

The Perdreau Research Collection

For over 20 years, Connie and Michel Perdreau sought out and collected information on African-Americans in Southeast Ohio.  The material they gathered ranges from census records, biographies, excerpts from books, personal interviews, and more, including their own articles and publications resulting from their dedicated research.  The Perdreau Research Collection now housed at MGC comprises approximately 15 linear feet of files arranged alphabetically by broad subject areas and personal names.

You may browse the Finding Aid to the Perdreau Collection here.

United States Colored Troops

To celebrate the 150th anniversary of the Civil War, volunteers of MGC researched black men from Athens, Morgan, Muskingum, and Washington Counties who served in the Civil War.  Black men from this area of Ohio served not only in the 5th and 27th Regiments of the USCT, but also in regiments in other parts of the country, in heavy artillery, and in the cavalry.  Their stories are compelling, and the material we have collected may serve as a guide for further research.

The files are arranged alphabetically by each soldier’s last name.  The color of the label on each folder designates which county each man is from.  e.g. white labels mean Washington County; purple labels mean Athens County, etc.

Information for each man includes copies of original service records, census and other records, as well as a short biography which was put together using these records.

Nancy E. Aiken, who was the major researcher for this project, received help from Henry Burke, Ada Woodson Adams, and Lace Lynch.