Difference between revisions of "United States Freedmen’s Branch Records (FamilySearch Historical Records)"

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{{FamilySearch_Collection
+
''[[United States Genealogy|United States]]''
|CID=CID
+
{{US NARA HR Infobox
|title=Kentucky Freedmen’s Bureau Letters, 1865-1872
+
| CID=CID2333780
|CID=CID
+
| title= United States, Freedmen’s Branch Records, 1872-1878
|title=Texas Freedmen’s Bureau Letters, 1865-1872  
+
| location= United States
|CID=CID
+
| LOC_01 = 
|title=Alabama Freedmen’s Bureau Letters, 1865-1872
+
| LOC_02 =
|CID=CID1803698
+
| LOC_03 =
|title=North Carolina Freedmen’s Bureau Letters, 1862-1870  
+
| record_type = War Department Records 
|CID=CID1596147
+
| record_group_nr = 105
|title=Virginia, Freedmen's Bureau Letters or Correspondence 1865-1872
+
| record_group_title =[http://www.archives.gov/research/guide-fed-records/groups/105.html Records of the Bureau of Refugees, Freedmen and Abandoned Lands]
|location=United States}}<br>
+
| start_year = 1872
 +
| end_year = 1878
 +
| micro_pub_nr = M2029
 +
| micro_pub_title =[http://www.archives.gov/research/microfilm/m2029.pdf Records of the Field Offices for the Freedmen’s Branch, Office of the Adjutant General, 1872-1878]
 +
| micro_pub_rolls =58
 +
| micro_pub_nr_02 =
 +
| micro_pub_title_02 =
 +
| micro_pub_rolls_02 =
 +
| micro_pub_nr_03 =
 +
| micro_pub_title_03 =
 +
| micro_pub_rolls_03 =
 +
| micro_pub_nr_04 =
 +
| micro_pub_title_04 =
 +
| micro_pub_rolls_04 =
 +
| coll_series =
 +
| arrangement = 
 +
| NAID = [https://catalog.archives.gov/id/434 434]
 +
| language =  
 +
| FS_URL_01 =[https://familysearch.org/search/collection/2432941?collectionNameFilter=true Freedmen's Bureau Claim Records] 
 +
| FS_URL_02 =[https://familysearch.org/search/collection/1932431?collectionNameFilter=true United States Colored Troops Service Records]
 +
| FS_URL_03 =[https://familysearch.org/search/collection/1919699?collectionNameFilter=true General Index to Pension Files, 1861-1934] 
 +
| FS_URL_04 =[https://familysearch.org/search/collection/1438024?collectionNameFilter=true 1870 Census]
 +
| FS_URL_05 =[[African American Freedmen's Bureau Records]] 
 +
| FS_URL_06 =[https://familysearch.org/wiki/en/United_States_Colored_Troops_in_the_Civil_War United States Colored Troops in the Civil War Military Units]
 +
| FS_URL_07 =[[African American Genealogy]]
 +
| FS_URL_08 =[[Quick Guide to African American Records]]
 +
| FS_URL_09 =  
 +
| RW_URL_01 =[http://mappingthefreedmensbureau.com/maps/ Mapping the Freedmen's Bureau]
 +
| RW_URL_02 =[http://www.archives.gov/publications/prologue/1997/summer/freedmens-bureau-records.html  NARA Freedmen's Bureau Records: An Overview]
 +
| RW_URL_03 =[http://www.archives.gov/atlanta/finding-aids/freedmens-bureau.pdf NARA  Genealogical Finding Aid]
 +
| RW_URL_04 =[http://www.archives.gov/research/genealogy/index.html National Archives Resources for Genealogists]
 +
| RW_URL_05 =[http://www.history.umd.edu/Freedmen/fssppubs.htm Publications of the Freedmen and Southern Society Project]
 +
| RW_URL_06 =[http://freedmensbureau.com/ The Freedmen's Bureau Online]. Records of the Bureau of Refugees, Freedmen and Abandoned Lands.
 +
| RW_URL_07 =[http://suffolk.libguides.com/content.php?pid=117960&sid=1828859 Suffolk University]
 +
}}
  
== Record Description ==
+
== What is in the Collection? ==
  
This Collection will include records from 1865 to 1872.  
+
The Freedmen's Branch assisted black veterans with claims for bounty, pensions,and arrears of pay. The records in this collection will consist of correspondence and claim records of the local field office locations. This collection will be helpful when searching for service records in the [https://familysearch.org/search/collection/1932431?collectionNameFilter=true United States Colored Troops][https://familysearch.org/search/collection/1919699?collectionNameFilter=true and pension records.]
  
This collection includes field office reports, letters received and sent, contracts, certificates, registers, censuses, affidavits, and other documents that preserve, directly and vividly, the experiences and circumstances of the individuals involved, such as freedpeople, Bureau officers, landowners and employers, and others. They contain desperate pleas for food, clothing, and medical care from rural communities; freedpeoples' testimonies about delinquent employers, continued use of forced labor and apprenticeship, violence, restrictions due to the new state-legislated and repressive "black codes"; petitions for new schools, legal aid in courts, and protection from violence; applications for land; and marriage certificates.  
+
Records of the Freedmen’s Branch in the Office of the Adjutant General are part of RG 105 Records of the Bureau of Refugees, Freedmen, and Abandoned Lands from NARA microfilm publication M2029. [http://www.archives.gov/research/microfilm/m2029.pdf National Archives Pamphlet M2029]
  
Marriage records from this NARA publication have been published in a separate collection: [[United States Freedmen’s Bureau Marriages (FamilySearch Historical Records)|Freedmen's Bureau Virginia Marriages]], ca. 1815-1866.  
+
'''Branch field office locations'''
 +
*Charleston, South Carolina
 +
*Fort Johnson, North Carolina
 +
*Louisville, Kentucky;
 +
*Fort Macon, Georgia
 +
*Fort Leavenworth, Kansas
 +
*Fort Monroe, Virginia
 +
*Memphis, Tennessee
 +
*Nashville, Tennessee
 +
*Natchez, Mississippi
 +
*New Orleans, Louisiana
 +
*St.Louis, Missouri
 +
*Savannah, Georgia
 +
*Vicksburg, Mississippi.
  
The [[African American Freedman's Savings and Trust Company Records|Freedmen’s Bank Records]] are the most commonly known records created by the Freedmen’s Bureau and have also been described separately.
+
{{Collection_Browse_Link
 +
|CID=CID2333780
 +
|title=United States, Freedmen's Branch Records, 1872-1878
 +
}}
  
The original records are preserved at the National Archives in College Park, Maryland. Copies of the original records are available at the National Archives Building in Washington D.C. and the regional archives located in Alaska, California, Colorado, Georgia, Illinois, Massachusetts, Missouri, New York, Pennsylvania, Texas and Washington State. The records were microfilmed in 2001;&nbsp;the microfilms are available at the Family History Library.  
+
== Collection Content  ==
 +
===Sample Images===
 +
<gallery perrow="3" heights="120px" widths="160px" caption="United States, Freedmen's Branch Record Examples">
 +
Image:United States, Freedmen's Branch Records (13-0478) Memorandum DGS 7635982_131.jpg|Memorandum
 +
Image:United States, Freedmen's Branch Records (13-0478) Record of Claimant DGS 7636007_160.jpg|Record of Claimant
 +
Image:United States, Freedmen's Branch Records (13-0478) Sample Letter DGS 7635976_407.jpg|Sample Letter
 +
</gallery>
 +
 
 +
The information varies between records. You may find any of the following:
 +
 
 +
*Name(s) of the primary individual(s)
 +
*Name of the freedman’s former owner
 +
*Names of family members
 +
*Residence
 +
*Age
 +
*Date of the record
 +
*Birth, marriage or death dates and places
 +
 
 +
'''Claim Records in this Collection Include:'''       
 +
*'''Registers of Claimants:''' Charleston, SC, Roll 1; Fort Johnston, NC, Roll 2; Louisville, KY, Roll 8; Fort Macon, NC, Roll 18; Fort Leavenworth, KS, Roll 18; Fort Monroe, VA, Roll 22; Memphis, TN, Roll 27; Nashville, TN, Roll 32; Natchez, MS, Roll 37; New Orleans, LA, Roll 47; St. Louis, MO, Roll 50; Savannah, GA, Roll 52; Vicksburg, MS, Roll 56<br>
 +
 
 +
*'''Lists of Claimants''': Charleston, SC, Roll 1; Louisville, KY, Roll 9; Fort Macon, NC, Roll 18; Fort Leavenworth, KS, Roll 18; Memphis, TN, Roll 27; Nashville, TN, Roll 32; Natchez, MS, Roll 37; St. Louis, MO, Roll 51; Savannah, GA, Roll 52; Vicksburg, MS, Roll 56<br>
  
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.&nbsp;
+
*'''Confidential Lists:''' Charleston, SC, Roll 1; New Orleans, LA, Roll 47<br>
  
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.<br>&nbsp;
+
*'''Memorandums of Examination of Claimants:''' Louisville, KY, Roll 9; Natchez, MS, Roll 38; New Orleans, LA, Roll 47; Vicksburg, MS, Roll 56<br>
  
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.&nbsp;
+
*'''Confidential Lists for the Identification of Claimants:''' Louisville, KY, Roll 17; Fort Macon, NC, Roll 18; Fort Leavenworth, KS, Roll 19; Memphis, TN, Roll 28; Nashville, TN, Roll 33; Natchez, MS, Roll 40; St. Louis, MO, Roll 51; Savannah, GA, Roll 53 ;Vicksburg, MS, Roll 57<br>
 +
 +
*'''Receipts for Payments of Claims:''' Memphis, TN, Roll 28;St. Louis, MO, Roll 51<br>
  
The dates covered by this collection are 1862 through 1872.&nbsp;
+
*'''Lists of Claimants Paid…:''' Nashville, TN, Roll 33<br>
  
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.
+
*'''Registers of Claims Investigated:''' Natchez, MS, Roll 37<br>
  
<br>Freedmen’s Bureau records are usually reliable, because the records were supplied through first-person correspondence or the recording of a marriage.
+
*'''Names and Addresses of Claimants:''' Natchez, MS, Roll 37; New Orleans, LA, Roll 47; Vicksburg, MS, Roll 56<br>
  
=== Citations for This Collection  ===
+
*'''Register of Payments Made to Claimants:''' St. Louis, MO, Roll 50<br>
  
The following citation refers to the original source of the information published in FamilySearch.org Historical Record collections. Sources include the author, custodian, publisher and archive for the original records.
+
*'''Confidential Lists Concerning Deceased Soldiers:''' St. Louis, MO, Roll 51<br>
  
{{Collection citation|text = <!--bibdescbegin-->Bureau of Refugees, Freedmen, and Abandoned Lands. "Virginia, Freedmen's Bureau Letters." NARA microfilm publication M752. National Archives and Records Administration, College Park, Maryland : n.d.<!--bibdescend-->}}
+
*'''Affidavits of Identify:''' Vicksburg, MS, Roll 58
  
[[United States Freedmen’s Bureau Letters (FamilySearch Historical Records)#Citation_Example_for_a_Record_Found_in_This_Collection|Suggested citation format for a record in this collection.]]
+
==What Can this Collection Tell Me?==
  
== Record Content  ==
+
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.
  
<gallery widths="180px" heights="120px" perrow="2">
+
== How Do I Search the Collection?  ==
Image:North Carolina Freedmen's Bureau Index (09-0472) DGS 4567385 43.jpg|Index Freedmen's Bureau Letters
 
Image:North Carolina Freedmen's Bureau Letter (09-0472) DGS 4567385 351.jpg |Freedmen's Bureau Letter
 
</gallery>
 
  
The following important genealogical information is often found in Bureau 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.
  
*Name of the freedman
+
'''View images in this collection by visiting the [https://familysearch.org/search/image/index#uri=https://familysearch.org/recapi/sord/collection/2333780/waypoints Browse Page]:'''<br>To search the collection you will need to follow this series of links:<br> ⇒Select the "Browse" link in the initial search page<br> ⇒Select the "Freedmen's Bureau Office or Subordinate Field Office Location"<br> ⇒Select the "NARA Roll Number - Contents" which takes you to the images<br> 
*Name of the freedman’s former owner
 
*Date of the record
 
*Birthplace
 
*Residence
 
*Age
 
*Bride and groom
 
*Marriage date and place
 
  
== How to Use the Records  ==
+
==What Do I Do Next?==
  
The Freedmen’s Bureau records are a major source of genealogical information about post Civil War African Americans. They are also&nbsp;a good source to quickly identify a family group and residence. Use the place of residence, age,&nbsp;and other information for each person to search for the individuals in census records and other types of records.  
+
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:
  
== Known Issues with This Collection  ==
+
===I Found Who I was Looking for, What Now?===
  
{{HR Known Issues}}For a full list of all known issues associated with this collection see the attached [[United States Freedmen’s Bureau Letters (FamilySearch Historical Records)/Known Issues|Wiki article]]. If you encounter additional problems, please email them to [mailto:support@familysearch.org support@familysearch.org]. Please include the full path to the link and a description of the problem in your e-mail. Your assistance will help ensure that future reworks will be considered.  
+
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.
 +
 +
=== I Can't Find Who I'm Looking for, What Now? ===
  
== Related Websites  ==
+
*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.
  
*[http://freedmensbureau.com/ The Freedmen's Bureau Online]. Records of the Bureau of Refugees, Freedmen and Abandoned Lands.
+
== General Information About Freedmen's Bureau Records ==
*[http://www.history.umd.edu/Freedmen/fssppubs.htm Publications of the Freedmen and Southern Society Project]
 
  
== Related Wiki Articles  ==
+
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. <br><br>
 +
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.<br> <br>
 +
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. <br><br>
 +
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.
  
*[[Virginia African Americans|Virginia African Americans]]
+
== Related FamilySearch Historical Records Collection Articles  ==
*[[African American Freedmen's Bureau Records|African American Freedmen’s Bureau Records]]
 
*[[Quick Guide to African American Records|Quick Guide to African American Records]]
 
*[[African American Research|African American Research]]
 
*[[Virginia]]
 
  
== Contributions to This Article  ==
+
*[[Alabama, Freedmen's Bureau Field Office Records (FamilySearch Historical Records)]]
 +
*[[Arkansas, Field Offices Records of the Freedmen's Bureau (FamilySearch Historical Records)]]
 +
*[[District of Columbia, Freedmen's Bureau Records (FamilySearch Historical Records)]]
 +
*[[Georgia, Freedmen's Bureau Field Office Records (FamilySearch Historical Records)]]
 +
*[[Kentucky, Freedmen's Bureau Records (FamilySearch Historical Records)]]
 +
*[[Louisiana, Freedmen's Bureau Records (FamilySearch Historical Records)]]
 +
*[[Mississippi, Freedmen's Bureau Field Office Records (FamilySearch Historical Records)]]
 +
*[[Missouri, Freedmen's Bureau Records (FamilySearch Historical Records)]]
 +
*[[North Carolina, Freedmen Bureau Field Office Records (FamilySearch Historical Records)]]
 +
*[[South Carolina, Freedmen Bureau Field Office Records (FamilySearch Historical Records)]]
 +
*[[Tennessee, Freedmen's Bureau Records (FamilySearch Historical Records)]]
 +
*[[Texas, Freedmen's Bureau Field Office Records (FamilySearch Historical Records)]]
 +
*[[Virginia, Freedmen's Bureau Records (FamilySearch Historical Records)]]
 +
*[[United States, Freedmen's Bureau, Records of the Assistant Commissioner (FamilySearch Historical Records)]]
 +
*[[United States, Freedmen's Bureau, Records of the Commissioner (FamilySearch Historical Records)]]
 +
*[[United States, Records of the Superintendent of Education and of the Division of Education (FamilySearch Historical Records)]]
 +
*[[United States, Freedmen's Bureau Claim Records (FamilySearch Historical Records)]]
 +
*[[United States, Civil War Service Records of Union Colored Troops (FamilySearch Historical Records)]]
  
{{Contributor_invite}}
+
==Citations for This Collection==
  
== Citing FamilySearch Historical Collections  ==
+
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.  
  
When you copy information from a record, you should list where you found the information. This will help you or others to find the record again. 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.  
+
'''Collection citation''':<br> {{Collection citation | text= "United States,Freedmen's Branch Records, 1872-1878." Images. <i>FamilySearch</i>. http://FamilySearch.org : accessed 2016. Citing NARA microfilm publication M2029. College Park, Maryland: National Archives and Records Administration, n.d.}}<br><br>
  
A suggested format for keeping track of records that you have searched is found in the wiki article [[Help:How to Cite FamilySearch Collections]].
+
'''Image citation''':<br> {{Image_Citation_Link
 +
|CID=CID2333780
 +
|title=United States, Freedmen's Branch Records, 1872-1878
 +
}}
  
=== Citation Example for a Record Found in This Collection  ===
+
== How Can I Contribute to the FamilySearch Wiki? ==
  
"Virginia, Freedmen's Bureau Letters or Correspondence, 1865-1872," index and images, ''FamilySearch'' (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.1.1/FPGC-YP5&nbsp;: accessed 10 May 2012), Henry Dillen; citing Bureau Letters, National Archives and Records Administration, National Archives, Washington, D.C.
+
{{Contributor_invite}}
  
[[Category:African_Americans]]
+
[[Category:NARA_Freedmen's_Bureau]]

Latest revision as of 17:02, 19 November 2016

United States

Access the Records
United States, Freedmen’s Branch Records, 1872-1878 .
CID2333780
{{{CID2}}}
{{{CID3}}}
{{{CID4}}}
{{{CID5}}}
{{{CID6}}}
{{{CID7}}}
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{{{CID9}}}
This article describes a collection of records at FamilySearch.org.
United States
United States flag.png
Flag of the United States of America
NARA seal300.jpg
Seal of the National Archives
Record Description
Record Type War Department Records
Record Group RG 105: Records of the Bureau of Refugees, Freedmen and Abandoned Lands
Collection years 1872-1878
Microfilm Publication M2029. Records of the Field Offices for the Freedmen’s Branch, Office of the Adjutant General, 1872-1878. 58 rolls.
National Archives Identifier 434
FamilySearch Resources
Related Websites
Archive
National Archives and Records Administration


What is in the Collection?

The Freedmen's Branch assisted black veterans with claims for bounty, pensions,and arrears of pay. The records in this collection will consist of correspondence and claim records of the local field office locations. This collection will be helpful when searching for service records in the United States Colored Troopsand pension records.

Records of the Freedmen’s Branch in the Office of the Adjutant General are part of RG 105 Records of the Bureau of Refugees, Freedmen, and Abandoned Lands from NARA microfilm publication M2029. National Archives Pamphlet M2029

Branch field office locations

  • Charleston, South Carolina
  • Fort Johnson, North Carolina
  • Louisville, Kentucky;
  • Fort Macon, Georgia
  • Fort Leavenworth, Kansas
  • Fort Monroe, Virginia
  • Memphis, Tennessee
  • Nashville, Tennessee
  • Natchez, Mississippi
  • New Orleans, Louisiana
  • St.Louis, Missouri
  • Savannah, Georgia
  • Vicksburg, Mississippi.
You can browse through images in this collection by visiting the browse page for United States, Freedmen's Branch Records, 1872-1878.

Collection Content

Sample Images

The information varies between records. You may find any of the following:

  • Name(s) of the primary individual(s)
  • Name of the freedman’s former owner
  • Names of family members
  • Residence
  • Age
  • Date of the record
  • Birth, marriage or death dates and places

Claim Records in this Collection Include:

  • Registers of Claimants: Charleston, SC, Roll 1; Fort Johnston, NC, Roll 2; Louisville, KY, Roll 8; Fort Macon, NC, Roll 18; Fort Leavenworth, KS, Roll 18; Fort Monroe, VA, Roll 22; Memphis, TN, Roll 27; Nashville, TN, Roll 32; Natchez, MS, Roll 37; New Orleans, LA, Roll 47; St. Louis, MO, Roll 50; Savannah, GA, Roll 52; Vicksburg, MS, Roll 56
  • Lists of Claimants: Charleston, SC, Roll 1; Louisville, KY, Roll 9; Fort Macon, NC, Roll 18; Fort Leavenworth, KS, Roll 18; Memphis, TN, Roll 27; Nashville, TN, Roll 32; Natchez, MS, Roll 37; St. Louis, MO, Roll 51; Savannah, GA, Roll 52; Vicksburg, MS, Roll 56
  • Confidential Lists: Charleston, SC, Roll 1; New Orleans, LA, Roll 47
  • Memorandums of Examination of Claimants: Louisville, KY, Roll 9; Natchez, MS, Roll 38; New Orleans, LA, Roll 47; Vicksburg, MS, Roll 56
  • Confidential Lists for the Identification of Claimants: Louisville, KY, Roll 17; Fort Macon, NC, Roll 18; Fort Leavenworth, KS, Roll 19; Memphis, TN, Roll 28; Nashville, TN, Roll 33; Natchez, MS, Roll 40; St. Louis, MO, Roll 51; Savannah, GA, Roll 53 ;Vicksburg, MS, Roll 57
  • Receipts for Payments of Claims: Memphis, TN, Roll 28;St. Louis, MO, Roll 51
  • Lists of Claimants Paid…: Nashville, TN, Roll 33
  • Registers of Claims Investigated: Natchez, MS, Roll 37
  • Names and Addresses of Claimants: Natchez, MS, Roll 37; New Orleans, LA, Roll 47; Vicksburg, MS, Roll 56
  • Register of Payments Made to Claimants: St. Louis, MO, Roll 50
  • Confidential Lists Concerning Deceased Soldiers: St. Louis, MO, Roll 51
  • Affidavits of Identify: Vicksburg, MS, Roll 58

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 and some other identifying information such as age, residence or former 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

What Do I Do Next?

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:

I Found Who I was Looking for, What Now?

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.

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.

Related FamilySearch Historical Records Collection Articles

Citations for 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:

"United States,Freedmen's Branch Records, 1872-1878." Images. FamilySearch. http://FamilySearch.org : accessed 2016. Citing NARA microfilm publication M2029. College Park, Maryland: 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 United States, Freedmen's Branch Records, 1872-1878.

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