Kentucky, Freedmen's Bureau Field Office Records - FamilySearch Historical Records

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Kentucky, Freedmen's Bureau Field Office Records, 1865-1872
This article describes a collection of records at
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 M1904. Records of the Field Offices for the State of Kentucky, Bureau of Refugees, Freedmen and Abandoned Lands. 133 rolls.
National Archives Identifier 434
FamilySearch Resources
Related Websites
National Archives and Records Administration

Why Should I Look at This Collection?[edit | edit source]

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.

Also available is a field office personnel coverage table which shows where the field offices in Kentucky were located, the names of the employees, what office they held, and the dates they served. Freedmen's Bureau Kentucky Field Office Personnel Coverage Table

Related Article

  • Sharon Batiste Gillins.A Window into the lives of black and white ancestors: Freedmen's Bureau field office records. NGS Magazine 39 #1 (January-March 2013): 34-38.

Image Visibility[edit | edit source]

Whenever possible FamilySearch makes images and indexes available for all users. However, rights to view these data are limited by contract and subject to change. Because of this there may be limitations on where and how images and indexes are available or who can see them. Please be aware some collections consist only of partial information indexed from the records and do not contain any images. For additional information about image restrictions see Restrictions for Viewing Images in FamilySearch Historical Record Collections.

What is in This Collection?[edit | edit source]

This collection consists of scanned images of records from National Archives microfilm publication M1904 Records of the Field Offices for the State of Kentucky, 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; Disbursing Officer and Chief Medical Officer, first then the local field office records are arranged alphabetically by location and by NARA roll number.

To Browse This Collection[edit | edit source]

You can browse through images in this collection using the waypoints on the Collection Browse Page for Kentucky, Freedmen's Bureau Field Office Records, 1865-1872.

Collection Content[edit | edit source]

Sample Images[edit | edit source]

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

Record Types The Bureau of Refugees, Freedmen, and Abandoned Lands (often called the Freedmen’s Bureau) created many different record types necessary 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.

Collection Inventory Table The inventory will include for each individual collection the National Archives Identifier Number (NAID) and preliminary inventory entry number.

Records with Freedmen and Refugee Names

  • Reports, Roll 61, Monthly Reports of Confiscated or Abandoned Lands in the Possession of the Assistant Commissioner, Monthly Report of Changes in Officers and Civilians in the Bureau
  • Other Records, Roll 62- 63, Roster of Officers and Civilians
  • Other Records, Roll 64-68, Lists of Teachers Assigned to Schools, Labor Contracts
  • Disbursing Officer, Roll 76, Registers of Claimants 5 volumes
  • Disbursing Officer, Roll 77, Register of Claimants, 5 volumes, Lists of Claimants, 5 volumes, Receipts of Claimants for Checks
  • Bowling Green, Roll 91, Monthly Reports of Persons and Articles Hired, Register of Complaints, Register of Cases Tried
  • Bowling Green, Roll 92, Register of Marriages
  • Burksville, Roll 92, Register of Cases in Freedmen’s Court
  • Columbus, Roll 93, Contracts, Proceedings of Freedmen’s Court
  • Covington, Roll 93, Register of Complaints
  • Henderson, Roll 97, Register of Indentures
  • Hodginsville, Roll 97, Freedmen’s Contracts
  • Lebanon, Roll 97, Register of Letters Received Relating to Claims, Register of Claimants
  • Lebanon, Roll 98, Papers Relating to the Claim of John Spaulding and Lists of Claimants
  • Lexington, Roll 110-111, Monthly Reports of Persons and Articles Hired
  • Lexington, Roll 112, Register of Complaints
  • Louisville, Roll 119, Monthly Report of Persons and Articles Hired, Registers of Complaints, 2 volumes, Proceedings of Freedmen’s Court(Minutes of Daily Proceedings), Affidavits and Records Relating to Complaints
  • Louisville, Roll 120-121, Affidavits and Records Relating to Complaints, C-Y
  • Louisville, Roll 121, Affidavits and Records Relating to Complaints, T-Y, Warrants Issued in Response to Freedmen’s Complaints, A-Y
  • Louisville, Roll 122, Warrants Issued in Response to Freedmen’s Complaints, 1-556
  • Louisville, Roll 123, Freedmen’s Contracts, Indentures, Register of Applications Forwarded for Bounty Claims, Register of Claimants for Bounties, Station Book of Officers in the Louisville Subdistrict
  • Maysville, Roll 124, Register of Claimants, 2 volumes, Monthly Reports of Persons and Articles Hired
  • Mt. Sterling, Roll 125, Register of Contracts, Marriage Certificates, Freedmen’s Contracts
  • Nicholasville, Roll 126, List of Claimants
  • Owensboro, Roll 128, Marriage Certificates Issued
  • Paducah, Roll 132, Complaints, Affidavits, and Evidence Relating to Court Cases, Register of Contracts with Freedmen at Paducah, Register of Complaints
  • Paris, Roll 133, Freedmen’s Contracts
  • Russellville, Roll 133, Complaints
  • Winchester, Roll 133, Marriage Certificates, Contracts

How Do I Search This Collection?[edit | edit source]

Before searching the collection, 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

Search the Index[edit | edit source]

This collection does not have a searchable index. Only images are available. See View the Images to access them.

View the Images[edit | edit source]

View images in this collection by visiting the Browse Page:

  1. Select the Freedmen's Bureau Office or Subordinate Field Office Location
  2. Select the NARA Roll Number-Contents to the images.

How Do I Analyze the Results?[edit | edit source]

Compare each result from your search with what you know to determine if there is a match. This may require viewing multiple records or images. Keep track of your research in a research log.

What Do I Do Next?[edit | edit source]

When you have located your ancestor in the Freedmen's Bureau 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. You should also look for leads to other records about your ancestors.

I Found the Person I Was Looking For, What Now?[edit | edit source]

  • Use the place of residence, age, and other information to locate 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 additional state and county records

I Can't Find the Person I'm Looking For, What Now?[edit | edit source]

  • 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
  • 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

Research Helps[edit | edit source]

The following articles will help you in your research for your family in the state of Kentucky.

Related Family History Library Holdings[edit | edit source]

Related FamilySearch Historical Record Collection[edit | edit source]

Related Digital Books[edit | edit source]

Citing This Collection[edit | edit source]

Citations help you keep track of places you have searched and sources you have found. Identifying your sources helps others find the records you used.

Collection Citation:
The citation for this collection can be found on the Collection Details Page in the section Citing this Collection.
Image Citation:
When looking at an image, the citation is found on the Information tab at the bottom left of the screen.