Discover your roots and unlock your future.

Search the Freedmen's Bureau records for your African American ancestors.


Picture of an African American woman shown with her ancestor, their faces combined.

A lantern representing helping African Americans reconnecting with their ancestors.

What Was the Freedmen’s Bureau?

Emancipation freed nearly 4 million slaves. The Freedmen’s Bureau was established to help transition them from slavery to citizenship, providing food, housing, education, and medical care. And for the first time in U.S. history, the names of those individuals were systematically recorded and preserved for future generations.

The Freedmen’s Bureau Project

The Freedmen’s Bureau Project helps African Americans reconnect with their Civil War-era ancestors. Join us in discovering your roots, and begin building your own family tree.


Young African American woman looking into the distance, in profile next to her ancestor.

Grow Your Family Tree

Begin building your own family tree for free at Link photographs, stories, and memories to your parents, grandparents, and other ancestors, and discover other records that let you uncover roots and branches you never knew about.

Young African American man looking into the distance, in profile next to his ancestor.

More about the Freedmen's Bureau Project

To help bring thousands of records to light, The Freedmen’s Bureau Project was created as a set of partnerships between FamilySearch International and the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA), the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture, the Afro-American Historical and Genealogical Society (AAHGS), and the California African American Museum.





The project began on Juneteenth (June 19) 2015, and with the help of more than 25,000 volunteers, was completed on June 20, 2016. As a result of the tireless effort of thousands, the names of nearly 1.8 million men, women, and children are now searchable online. Now that the images have been indexed, millions have access to the names of their ancestors, allowing individuals to build their family trees and connect with their heritage.

The Freedmen’s Bureau records were created more than 150 years ago and are a wonderful resource for anyone searching African American ancestors….
Juneteenth is an important historical and joyous holiday that celebrates the abolition of slavery. It begins June 19 and lasts at least that….
Hollis Gentry is a genealogy specialist at the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture Library and Archives....