Help Unravel the Stories of Millions of Freed Slaves

Tens of thousands of volunteers are needed to make the Freedmen’s Bureau records searchable online by name. Be one of the volunteers to make this possible. There’s no specific time commitment required. Index as much as you can. Every name indexed is another story ready to be discovered. Start indexing today!

When published, millions of African Americans can use these indexes to search and connect with lost ancestors. Click the button below to get started. Follow the steps shown. Then, when you download a batch of documents, click the Show All Projects option and select any of the “US—Freedmen’s Bureau” projects.

Volunteer Now

FamilySearch provides FREE access to valuable African American genealogy records

Find Your Ancestors in the Following Collections:

Freedman's Bureau Records

Search for African American ancestors in our census, vital, and other historical records.

These Records include information about:

  • Name of the depositor
  • Date of application or deposit
  • Name of applicant's employer
  • Plantation name of applicant
  • Age
  • Height
  • Complexion
  • Name of father and mother
  • Whether the person was married
  • Place of birth
  • Residence at the time account was created
  • Occupation
  • Names of applicant's children
  • Names of brothers and sisters

African American Genealogy Records and Research

Most people seeking their African American genealogy can trace their ancestry to slaves who were brought to this country from Africa and from the Caribbean Islands. FamilySearch provides free access to valuable black family history records, which you can add to your family tree. These include military, census, and vital records, slave ownership records and bank records. Black family history research guides and instructional videos are also available to help you learn how to use these records to find your ancestors.

The Freedman's Savings and Trust Company

The records of the Freedman's Savings and Trust Company were created as newly freed slaves opened savings accounts and borrowed money. The bank failed in 1874 but the records of the bank remain. The bank registers date from 1864 to 1871. They show the names, residence, and description of each depositor. They may also include the genealogy and relatives of the depositor.

These records are indexed and include about 480,000 personal names. They often show black family history information about each depositor, such as birth date, birthplace, where raised, former owner, employer, occupation, residence, and relatives. Use these records for your own family tree when you register for a free account.

Learn more: African American Research Wiki Article

Freedman's Bureau

The Freedmen's Bureau was a U.S. federal government agency, initiated by President Lincoln after the Civil War to aid distressed freed slaves. The Bureau's main role during the years of 1865-1869 was to provide emergency food, housing, medical aid, and help reunite families. Later, it focused its work on helping freed slaves adjust to their new found freedom.

Numbers of United States Colored Troops by State, North and South
Chart showing number of records, 1850-1930 View Record Data