In 1990, twelve avid African American genealogists formed a research group while researching at the Western Reserve Historical Society located in Cleveland, Ohio. AAGS has grown steadily and includes novice researchers as well as experienced genealogists, all sharing the common bond of genealogical pursuits.

The society was originally formed as the 14th chapter of the Afro-American Historical and Genealogical Society (AAHGS) prior to becoming an autonomous group in 1994. AAGS is a non-profit, volunteer-run organization and is a member of the National Genealogical Society.