North Carolina, Freedmen's Bureau Field Office Records (FamilySearch Historical Records)

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North Carolina, Freedmen's Bureau Field Office Records, 1863-1872  and North Carolina, Freedmen's Bureau Assistant Commissioner Records, 1862-1870
CID2143119
CID1803698
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This article describes a collection of records at FamilySearch.org.
North Carolina, United States
United States flag.png
Flag of the United States of America
Flag of the United State (1863-1865).png
US Flag 1863-1865 (35 stars)
NARA seal300.jpg
Seal of the National Archives
Record Description
Record Type Freedmen and Refugees Records
Record Group RG 105: Records of the Bureau of Refugees, Freedmen and Abandoned Lands
Collection years 1865-1872
Microfilm Publication M1909. Records of the Field Offices for the State of North Carolina, Bureau of Refugees, Freedmen and Abandoned Lands, 1865-1872. 78 rolls.
National Archives Identifier 434
FamilySearch Resources
Related Websites
Archive
National Archives and Records Administration


What is in This Collection?

This collection consists of scanned images of records from National Archives microfilm publication M1909 Records of the Field Offices for the State of North Carolina, 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; Superintendent of Education, Inspector, Chief Quartermaster and Disbursing Officer, Surgeon, first then the local field office records are arranged alphabetically by location and by NARA roll number.


Hospitals were established by the Freedmen’s Bureau in Raleigh, Newberne, Beaufort, Roanoke Island, Kinston, Wilmington, Salisbury and Charlotte. Smallpox hospitals were also established in Beaufort, New Bern, Raleigh, Greensboro and Wilmington.

Record Types

Collection Inventory Table

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

Inventory

To Browse These Collections

You can browse through images in this collection by visiting the browse page for North Carolina, Freedmen’s Bureau Field Office Records, 1863-1872.
You can browse through images in this collection by visiting the browse page for North Carolina, Freedmen's Bureau Assistant Commissioner Records, 1862-1870.

What Can These Records 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.

Collection Content

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

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

Sample Images

Records with Freedmen and Refugee Names

How Do I Search This Collection?

The Freedmen’s Bureau records are a major source of genealogical information about post Civil War African Americans. Before searching this 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

Search by name by visiting the Collection Page.
  1. Fill in the search boxes on the Collection Page with the information you have
  2. Click Search to show possible matches

View the Images

View images in this collection by visiting the Browse Page:

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

View the Images

View images in this collection by visiting the Browse Page:

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



How Do I Analyze the Results?

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?

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?

  • Use the place of residence, age, and other information for each person to search for the individuals in census records
  • Use the information found to search for the family in church 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 additional state and county 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

Research Helps

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

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.

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
"North Carolina, Freedmen's Bureau Field Office Records, 1863-1872." Images. FamilySearch. http://FamilySearch.org : 14 June 2016. Citing NARA microfilm publication M1909. Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, n.d.
Collection Citation
"North Carolina, Freedmen's Bureau Assistant Commissioner Records, 1862-1870." Database with images. FamilySearch. http://FamilySearch.org : 14 June 2016. Citing NARA microfilm publication M843. Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, n.d.
Record Citation:
When looking at a record, the citation is found below the record.
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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Please follow these guidelines as you make changes. Thank you for any contributions you may provide.