Maryland and Delaware, Freedmen's Bureau Field Office Records (FamilySearch Historical Records)

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Maryland and Delaware, Freedmen's Bureau Field Office Records, 1865-1872 .
This article describes a collection of records at
Maryland and Delaware, 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 M1906. Records of the Field Offices for the States of Maryland and Delaware, Bureau of Refugees, Freedmen and Abandoned Lands, 1865-1872. 42 rolls.
National Archives Identifier 434
FamilySearch Resources
Related Websites
National Archives and Records Administration

What is in This Collection?

This collection consists of scanned images of records from National Archives microfilm publication M1906 Records of the Field Offices for the States of Maryland and Delaware, 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; Chief Quartermaster and Disbursing Officer, Claim Division, Complaint Division, first then the local field office records are arranged alphabetically by location and by NARA roll number. The following link will provide a description of the record types found in this and other Freedmen's Bureau collections.Freedmen's Bureau Record Types

To Browse This Collection

You can browse through images in this collection by visiting the browse page for Maryland and Delaware, Freedmen's Bureau Field Office Records, 1865-1872.

Collection Content

Sample Image

NARA Select Images from Freedmen's Bureau Records

Records with Freedmen and Refugee Name

  • Assistant Commissioner’s Office, Roll 5, Assistant Commissioner’s Land Reports, Teachers Monthly School Reports
  • Assistant Commissioner’s Office, Roll 6, Reports of Persons and Articles Hired
  • Assistant Commissioner’s Office, Roll 6, Register of Complaints of Illegal Apprenticeships
  • Chief Quartermaster and Disbursing Officer, Roll 16, Register of Claimants, Registers of Cash Received and Disbursed, 3 volumes, Register of Disbursements
  • Chief Quartermaster and Disbursing Officer, Roll 17, Receipts for Pay, Bounty, and Pension Certificates, A-R
  • Chief Quartermaster and Disbursing Officer, Roll 18, Receipts for Certificates, R-Z
  • Claim Division, Roll 28, Register of Claimants for Bounties and Pay Arrearages
  • Claim Division, Roll 29-32, Case Files for Claims for Bounty and Pay Arrearages, A-Y
  • Claim Division, Roll 32, Register of Claimants for Pensions
  • Claim Division, Rolls 33-35, Case Files of Pension Claims, A-Y
  • Claim Division, Roll 35, Register of Maryland Bounty Claims Filed through Hugh L. Bond, Register of Claims Not Originally Filed through the Baltimore Office, Register of Loyal Slave Owners, Maryland and West Virginia, Names and Addresses of Claimants, 2 volumes
  • Complaint Division, Roll 37, Register of Complaints
  • Bladensburg, Roll 41, Register of Complaints
  • Rockville, Roll 42, Register of Complaints
  • Wilmington, Delaware, Roll 42, Register of Claimants for Bounties, Register of Claims for Pensions, Register of Payments

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.

The following important genealogical information is often found in Bureau records:

  • Name of the freedman
  • Name of the freedman’s former owner
  • Date of the record
  • Birthplace
  • Residence
  • Age
  • Bride
  • Groom
  • Marriage date
  • Marriage place

How Do I Search This Collection?

The Freedmen’s Bureau records are a major source of genealogical information about post Civil War African Americans. The records are also a good source to quickly identify a family group and residence. 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.

I Found the Person 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 the Person 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.

For other libraries (local and national) or to gain access to items of interest, see the wiki articles:

For additional information about these states see the wiki articles:

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 Wiki Articles

Citing This Collection

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
"Maryland and Delaware, Freedmen's Bureau Field Office Records, 1865-1872." Images. FamilySearch. : 14 June 2016. Citing NARA microfilm publication M1906. Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, n.d.
Image Citation:
When looking at an image, the citation is found on the Information tab at the bottom left of the screen.

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