Maryland and Delaware, Freedmen's Bureau Field Office Records (FamilySearch Historical Records)Edit This Page
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|This article describes a collection of historical records available at FamilySearch.org.|
Access the records: Maryland and Delaware, Freedmen's Bureau Field Office Records, 1865-1872 .
The Bureau of Refugees, Freedmen, and Abandoned Lands (often called the Freedmen’s Bureau) was created in 1865 at the end of the American Civil War to supervise relief efforts including education, health care, food and clothing, refugee camps, legalization of marriages, employment, labor contracts, and securing back pay, bounty payments and pensions. These records include letters and endorsements sent and received, account books, applications for rations, applications for relief, court records, labor contracts, registers of bounty claimants, registers of complaints, registers of contracts, registers of disbursements, registers of freedmen issued rations, registers of patients, reports, rosters of officers and employees, special and general orders and circulars received, special orders and circulars issued, records relating to claims, court trials, property restoration, and homesteads. This collection corresponds with NARA microfilm publication M1906, Records of the Field Offices for the States of Maryland and Delaware, Bureau of Refugees, Freedmen, and Abandoned Lands, 1865-1872. The record type field list the NARA roll number and collection name. For a list of Freedmen's Bureau personnel see the appendix in the descriptive pamphlet. A descriptive pamphlet
|You can browse through images in this collection by visiting the browse page for Maryland and Delaware, Freedmen's Bureau Field Office Records, 1865-1872.|
The following important genealogical information is often found in Bureau records:
- Name of the freedman
- Name of the freedman’s former owner
- Date of the record
- Marriage date
- Marriage place
How to Use the Records
The Freedmen’s Bureau records are a major source of genealogical information about post Civil War African Americans. To begin your search it is helpful to know the name and some other identifying information such as age, residence or former owner.
Search the Collection
To search the collection:
⇒Select the "Browse" link in the initial search page
⇒Select the "Freedmen's Bureau Office or Subordinate Field Office Location"
⇒Select the "NARA Roll Number - Contents" which takes you to the images
Look at each image comparing the information with what you already know about your ancestors to determine if the image relates to them. You may need to look at several images and compare the information about the individuals listed in those images to your ancestors to make this determination. Keep in mind:
- There may be more than one person in the records with the same name.
- You may not be sure of your own ancestor’s name.
- Your ancestor may have used different names or variations of their name throughout their life.
Using the Information
When you have located your ancestor’s record, carefully evaluate each piece of information given. Save a copy of the image or transcribe the information. These pieces of information may give you new biographical details such as a title, an occupation, or land ownership. Add this new information to your records of each family. You should also look for leads to other records about your ancestors. For example use the place of residence, age, and other information for each person to search for the individuals in census records and other types of records.
Tips to Keep in Mind
- The records are a good source to quickly identify a family group and residence.
- Former slaves may have had used multiple names or changed their names until they decided upon one particular name. Search all possible names along with variations or spellings of their known names.
- If you cannot find your ancestor search the indexes and records of neighboring localities.
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General Information About Freedmen's Bureau Records
The Bureau of Refugees, Freedmen, and Abandoned Lands was established in the War Department in March of 1865. It was commonly called the Freedman’s Bureau and was responsible for the management and supervision of matters relating to refuges, freedmen, and abandoned lands. The Bureau assisted disenfranchised Americans, primarily African Americans, with temporal, legal and financial matters, with the intent of helping people to become self-sufficient. Matters handled included the distributing of food and clothing; operating temporary medical facilities; acquiring back pay, bounty payments, and pensions; facilitating the creation of schools, including the founding of Howard University; reuniting family members; handling marriages; and providing banking services. Banking services were provided by the establishment of the Freedman’s Saving and Trust Company, or Freedman’s Bank.
The Bureau functioned as an agency of the War Department from approximately June 1865 until December 1868. In 1872, the functions of the Bureau were transferred to the Freedmen’s Branch of the Adjutant General’s Office.
The Bureau assisted over one million African Americans, including many of the nearly four million emancipated slaves, which was over 25% of the population of former slaves in America.
The records identify those who sought help from the Bureau at the end of the Civil War. Most supplicants were freed slaves, some of which were military veterans. In addition, a few veterans who were not African Americans also sought help from the Bureau. Freedmen’s Bureau records are usually reliable, because the records were supplied through first-person correspondence or the recording of a marriage.
Related Wiki Articles
- United States Freedmen’s Bureau Letters (FamilySearch Historical Records)
- African American Freedmen’s Bureau Records
- Quick Guide to African American Records
- African American Research
How You Can Contribute
| We welcome user additions to FamilySearch Historical Records wiki articles. We are looking for additional information that will help readers understand the topic and better use the available records. We also need translations for collection titles and images in articles about records written in languages other than English. For specific needs, please visit WikiProject FamilySearch Records. |
Please follow these guidelines as you make changes. Thank you for any contributions you may provide.
Citations for This Collection
When you copy information from a record, you should list where you found the information; that is, cite your sources. This will help people find the record again and evaluate the reliability of the source. It is also good to keep track of records where you did not find information, including the names of the people you looked for in the records. Citations are available for the collection as a whole and each record or image individually.
- "Maryland and Delaware, Freedmen's Bureau Field Office Records, 1865-18722." Images. FamilySearch. http://FamilySearch.org : accessed 2015. Citing NARA publication M1906. National Archive and Records Center. Washington, D.C.
|The citation for an image is available on each image in this collection by clicking Show Citation at the bottom left of the image screen. You can browse through images in this collection by visiting the browse page for Maryland and Delaware, Freedmen's Bureau Field Office Records, 1865-18722.|
- This page was last modified on 26 June 2015, at 17:31.
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