Louisiana, Freedmen's Bureau Field Office Records, 1865-1872 (FamilySearch Historical Records)

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Louisiana, Freedmen's Bureau Field Office Records, 1865-1872 .
This article describes a collection of records at FamilySearch.org.
Louisiana, United States
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Record Description
Record Type Freedmen and Refugee Records
Record Group RG 105: Records of the Bureau of Refugees, Freedmen and Abandoned Lands
Collection years 1865-1872
Microfilm Publication M1905. Records of the Field Offices for the State of Louisiana, Bureau of Refugees. 111 rolls.
  M1483. Freedmen and Abandoned Lands. Records of the New Orleans Field Offices, Bureau of Refugees, Freedmen, and Abandoned Lands, 1865-1869. 10 rolls.
National Archives Identifier 434
FamilySearch Resources
Related Websites
National Archives and Records Administration

What is in the Collection?

This collection consists of scanned images of records from National Archives microfilm publications M1905 Louisiana Records of the Field Offices for the State of Louisiana, Bureau of Refugees, Freedmen, and Abandoned Lands and M1483 New OrleansRecords of the New Orleans Field Offices, Bureau of Refugees, Freedmen, and Abandoned Lands which is part of Record Group 105 Records of the Bureau of Refugees, Freedmen and Abandoned Lands. The images are generally arranged in the order the records were microfilmed with the records of the Assistant Commissioner who oversaw Bureau operations in the state and state level staff officers; Bounty Agent,Commissary of Subsistence, Provost Marshall General of Freedmen, Quartermaster, Surgeon in Chief, Plantation Department , first then the local field office records are arranged alphabetically by location and by NARA roll number.

You can browse through images in this collection by visiting the browse page for Louisiana, Freedmen's Bureau Field Office Records, 1865-1872.

Collection Content

Sample Images

Selected Staff Officer records with Freedmen and Refugees names

Offices of Staff Officers(Bounty Agent)

  • Roll 1, Registers of Claims Received, 3 volumes, Registers of Claimants, volume 1
  • Roll 2, Registers of Claimants, volume 2
  • Roll 3, Registers of Payments, 3 volumes

Provost Marshall General of Freedmen

  • Roll 7, Registers of Proceedings in Freedmen's Court, 2 volumes, Registers of Complaints, 3 volumes, Complaints, 2 volumes
  • Roll 8, Registers of Houses Occupied by Soldiers' Families, Registers of Concepts, Registers of Refugees, Indentures of Orphan Children
  • Roll 9, Registers of Contracts

Subordinate Office Plantation Department

  • Roll 27, Registers of Black Persons, volumes 1-2,A-D
  • Roll 28, Registers of Black Persons, volumes 3-7,E-N
  • Roll 29, Registers of Black Persons, volumes 8-11,O-Z
  • Roll 29, Freedmen's Employment Registers, 2 volumes
  • Roll 30-39, Registers and Payrolls of Freedmen Employed on Plantations
  • Roll 39, Freedmen's Labor Contracts
  • Roll 40-51, Labor Contracts (Agreement with Freedmen)
  • Roll 52, Lists of Contracts with Freedmen
  • Roll 52, Daily Record of Cotton Picked on the Corondolet Plantation
  • Roll 52, Register of Payrolls of Freedmen on Plantations

Surgeon in Chief (report)

  • Roll 24, Weekly Reports Received from Surgeons Concerning Cholera Cases
  • Roll 25, Registers of Patients
  • Roll 26, Employee Contracts

New Orleans Freedmen’s Hospital

  • Roll 7, Register of Contrbands in Corps d’ Afrique General Hospital, Register of Patients, Registers of Sick and Wounded, Register of Disabled Destitutes Sick, etc., Register of Interment at Freedmen’s Cemetery, Register of Prescriptions

Home Colonies

Bragg Home Colony

  • Roll 67, Register of Departures, Registers of Rations and Clothing Issued, Register of Marriages, Registers of Applications for Laborers

Greenville Colony

  • Roll 79, Register for Contrabands

McHatton Home Colony

  • Roll 83, Registers of Arrivals and Departures

Rost Home Colony

  • Roll 98, Register of Arrivals and Departures, Records of Births and Deaths, Register of Applications for Laborers, Register of Sick and Wounded Refugees and Freedmen

What Can this Record Tell Me?

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.

For details about the contents of these records, their history, and help using them, see the wiki article: United States Freedmen’s Bureau Records (FamilySearch Historical Records)

How Do I Search the Collection?

To begin your search it is helpful to know:

  • The name of your ancestor.
  • The approximate age of your ancestor.
  • The place where your ancestor lived.
  • The name of the former slave owner.

View images in this collection by visiting the Browse Page:
To search the collection you will need to follow this series of links:
⇒Select "Browse through images" on the initial collection page
⇒Select the appropriate "Freedmen's Bureau Office or Subordinate Field Office Location"
⇒Select the appropriate "NARA Roll Number-Contents" which takes you to the images.

What Do I Do Next?

When you have located your ancestor in the Freedmen's Bureau records, 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.

I Found Who I was Looking for, What Now?

  • Use the place of residence, age, and other information to search for the family in census records.
  • Use the information found to search for the family in land records.
  • Use the information found to search for the family in probate records.
  • Use the information found to search for the family in church records.
  • Use the information found to search for the family in additional state and county records.

I Can't Find Who I'm Looking for, What Now?

  • There may be more than one person in the records with the same name.
  • Look for variant spellings of the names. You should also look for nicknames and abbreviated names.
  • Look for another index. Local genealogical and historical societies often have indexes to local records.
  • Search the indexes and records of nearby counties.
  • Try alternative search methods such as only filling in the surname search box (or the given name search box) on the landing page leaving the other box empty and then click on search. This should return a list of everyone with that particular name. You could then browse the list for individuals that may be your ancestor.
  • 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.

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.

Citing this Collection

Citing your sources makes it easy for others to find and evaluate the records you used. When you copy information from a record, list where you found that information. Here you can find citations already created for the entire collection and for each individual record or image.

Collection Citation:

"Louisiana, Freedmen's Bureau Field Office Records, 1865-1872." Images. FamilySearch. http://FamilySearch.org : accessed 2016. 2016. Citing NARA microfilm publications M1905 and M1483. Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, n.d.

Image Citation:

The image citation is available by clicking on the Information tab at the bottom left of the screen. You can browse through images in this collection by visiting the browse page for Louisiana, Freedmen's Bureau Field Office Records, 1865-1872.

How Can I Contribute to the FamilySearch Wiki?

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.