Texas, Freedmen's Bureau Field Office Records (FamilySearch Historical Records)

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Texas, Freedmen's Bureau Field Office Records .
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This article describes a collection of records at FamilySearch.org.
Texas, United States
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Flag of the United States of America
NARA seal300.jpg
Seal of the National Archives
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 M1912. Records of the Field Offices for the State of Texas, Bureau of Refugees, Freedmen and Abandoned Lands, 1865-1872. 28 rolls.
National Archives Identifier 434
FamilySearch Resources
Related Websites
Archive
National Archives and Records Administration


What is in the Collection?

This collection consists of scanned images of records from National Archives microfilm publication M1912Records of the Field Offices for the State of Texas, 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; Quartermaster and Disbursing Officer, 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 Texas, Freedmen's Bureau Field Office Records, 1865-1870.

Collection Content

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)

Sample Images

Records with Freedmen and Refugees Names

  • Office of the Assistant Commissioner, Roll 1, Unidentified Volume Relating to Patients and Accounts
  • Quartermaster and Disbursing Officer, Rolls 7-9, Reports of Persons and Articles Hired
  • Quartermaster and Disbursing Officer, Roll 11, Orders for Transportation, Accounts, 6 volumes
  • Austin, Roll 12, Register of Complaints, Register of Contracts
  • Bastrop, Roll 13, Register of Complaints
  • Belton, Roll 13, Register of Complaints
  • Boston, Roll 13, Register of Complaints
  • Boston, Roll 14, Affidavits and Settlements
  • Brenham, Roll 14, Register of Complaints
  • Bryan, Roll 14, Register of Complaints
  • Centerville, Roll 14, Register of Complaints
  • Columbia, Roll 15, Register of Complaints, Register of Contracts
  • Columbus, Roll 18, Register of Complaints
  • Crockett, Roll 19, Register of Complaints
  • Gonzales, Roll 21, Register of Complaints
  • Halletsville, Roll 21, Register of Complaints
  • Houston, Roll 22, Register of Complaints, 3 volumes, Receipts
  • Huntsville, Roll 23, Register of Complaints
  • Jefferson, Roll 23, Register of Complaints
  • La Grange, Post 23, Register of Complaints, Evidence in the Case of F. D. Ackerman
  • Liberty, Roll 24, Register of Complaints
  • Lockhart, Roll 24, Register of Complaints
  • Marlin, Roll 24, Register of Complaints
  • Marshall, Roll 24, Register of Complaint
  • Meridian, Roll 24, Register of Complaints
  • Nacogdoches, Roll 24, Register of Complaints
  • Palestine, Roll 25, Register of Complaints
  • Richmond, Roll 25, Contracts
  • San Augustine, Roll 25, Register of Complaints, Register of Contracts
  • Seguin, Roll 26, Register of Complaints
  • Sterling, Roll 26, Register of Complaints
  • Sumpter, Roll 26, Register of Complaints
  • Tyler, Roll 27, Register of Complaints
  • Waco, Roll 27, Register of Complaints
  • Wharton, Roll 28, Records Relating to Complaints, Accounts

What Can this Collection 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.

How Do I Search the Collection?

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 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 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 the images one by one 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.

What Do I Do Next?

When you have located your ancestor in the Freedmen's Bureau Field Office Records, carefully evaluate each piece of information given. 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 information found to search for the family in census records.
  • Use the information found to search for the family in church records.
  • Use the information found to search for the family in land and probate 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:

"Texas, Freedmen's Bureau Field Office Records 1865-1870." Images. FamilySearch. http://FamilySearch.org : accessed 2016. Citing NARA M1912. National Archives and Records Administration. College Park, Maryland.

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 Texas, Freedmen's Bureau Field Office Records, 1865-1870.

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.