United States, Freedman's Bank Records - FamilySearch Historical Records
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United States, Freedman's Bank Records, 1865-1874
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|Flag of the United States of America|
|US Flag 1863-1865 (35 stars)|
|National Archives and Records Administration Logo|
|Record Type||Bank Deposit Records|
|Record Group||RG 101: Records of the Comptroller of the Currency|
|Microfilm Publication||M816. Registers of Signatures of Depositors in Branches of the Freedmen’s Savings and Trust Company, 1865-1874. 27 rolls.|
|National Archives Identifier||566522|
|National Archives and Records Administration|
What is in This Collection?[edit | edit source]
The collection consists of an index and images of registers for 67,000 people who opened accounts in the Freedman's Savings and Trust Company. This is NARA microfilm publication M816 Registers of Depositors in Branches of the Freedman's Savings and Trust Company. The records are from Record Group 101 Records of the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency. The registers identify those who opened accounts. Because the Freedman’s Bank was required by law to protect the interests of depositors’ heirs, the branches collected an enormous amount of personal information about each depositor and his or her family when the account was opened. The registers cover approximately the years 1865 to 1874.
Each register book consists of printed forms, with information for four depositors on each page. The registers are arranged chronologically by the date the account was established and then numerically by account number. Many numbers are missing, a few are out of order, and some blocks of numbers were never used. Many registers seem to be missing.
The Freedman’s Savings and Trust Company was established and incorporated by an act of Congress on March 3, 1865, as a banking institution in Washington, D.C., primarily for the benefit of freed slaves and former African American military personnel. It was commonly called the Freedman’s Bank; however, it was not under the supervision of the Bureau of Refugees, Freedmen, and Abandoned Lands (Freedmen’s Bureau).
In 1874, overwhelmed by the effects of the Panic of 1873, mismanagement, abuse, and fraud, the Freedman’s Bank closed. Congress appointed a three-member board and later the Comptroller of the Currency to oversee the affairs of the bank. The Comptroller was made commissioner exofficio, and he submitted annual reports to Congress. The Freedman’s Bank final report was made in 1920. Contrary to what many of its depositors were led to believe, the bank’s assets were not protected by the federal government. While half of the depositors eventually received about three-fifths of the value of their accounts, others received nothing. Well into the 20th century, some depositors and their heirs were still seeking reimbursement for the remaining portions of their accounts. Depositors included about 67,000 African Americans, or about two percent of the former slave population. In addition, thousands of non–African Americans made deposits at the bank. These people were primarily immigrants who were born in the British Isles, Scandinavia, and Continental Europe. Depositors listed the names of close relatives. All together, the records lists about 480,000 names.
Freedman's Bank Branches[edit | edit source]
- Atlanta, Georgia
- Augusta, Georgia
- Baltimore, Maryland
- Beaufort, South Carolina
- Charleston, South Carolina
- Columbus, Mississippi
- Huntsville, Alabama
- Lexington, Kentucky
- Little Rock, Arkansas
- Louisville, Kentucky
- Lynchburg, Virginia
- Memphis, Tennessee
- Mobile, Alabama
- Nashville, Tennessee
- Natchez, Mississippi
- New Bern, North Carolina
- New Orleans, Louisiana
- New York, New York
- Norfolk, Virginia
- Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
- Raleigh, North Carolina
- Richmond, Virginia
- Savannah, Georgia
- Shreveport, Louisiana
- St. Louis, Missouri
- Tallahassee, Florida
- Vicksburg, Mississippi
- Washington, D.C.
- Wilmington, North Carolina
About the Freedmen's Bureau[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.
Image Visibility[edit | edit source]
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National Archives Catalog[edit | edit source]
- Dividend Payment Record Books
- Dividend Payment Record of the Freedmen's Savings and Trust Company, 1882-1889. NAID 566993
- Alexandria, Augusta
- Beaufort, Baltimore
- Jacksonville, Lexington, Lynchburg
- Natchez, Nashville, New Berne
- New York
- St. Louis, Shreveport, Tallahassee
- Finance and Accounting Records of the Freedmen's Savings and Trust Company,1870-1908 NAID 567353
- Mail Registers of the Freedmen's Savings and Trust Company,1872-1884 NAID 567309
- Lost Deposit Book Questionnaires and related Records Received by the Commissioners of the Freedmen's Savings and Trust Company and by the Comptroller of the Currency as Ex Officio Commissioner, 1870-1914 NAID 2538264
- Index to Deposit Ledgers for the Freedman's Savings and Trust Company , 1865 - 1874. NAID 566979
- Loan and Real Estate Ledgers and Journals of the Freedmen's Savings and Trust Company,1870-1916 NAID 567231
- Loan and Real Estate Ledgers and Journals: Loans, 1870-1871 NAID 74893066
- Loan and Real Estate Ledgers and Journals: Loans, 1870-187 vol 13 or 14 NAID 74893092
- Loan and Real Estate Ledgers and Journals: Ledger Balances, 1872-1876 Vol 14 of 14 NAID 74889422
- Loan and Real Estate Ledgers and Journals, 1871-1974 vol 1 of 14 NAID 74889422
- Loan and Real Estate Ledgers and Journals: Mailing List, 1899-1916 Vol 7 of 14 NAID 74891156
- Loan and Real Estate Ledgers and Journals, 1872-1874 vOL 8 of 14 NAID 74891232
- Loan and Real Estate Ledgers and Journals: Loan Journal - A, 1871-1873 Vol 12 of 14 NAID 74892564
- Loan and Real Estate Ledgers and Journals: Loan Ledger - A, 1870-1878 Vol 11 of 14 NAID 74892330
- Loan and Real Estate Ledgers and Journals: Loan Journal - B, 1873-1878 Vol 4 0f 14 NAID 74890167
- Loan and Real Estate Ledgers and Journals: Ledger - 2 - Commissioners, 1877-1881 Vol 5 of 12 NAID 74890672
- Loan and Real Estate Ledgers and Journals: Real Estate Loan Book - C, 1872-1885 Vol 3 of 14n NAID 74889963
Related Articles[edit | edit source]
- Morna Lahnie Hollister. Using Freedmen's Bank Registers to Trace Enslaved Families: A South Carolina McFall Example. National Genealogical Society Quarterly. 99 #2 (June 2011): 125-132. FHL 973 B2ng
- Robert scott Davis, Jr. Documentation for Afro-American Families: Records of the Freedman's Savings and Trust Company. National Genealogical Society Quarterly FHL 973 B2ng
To Browse This Collection[edit | edit source]
|You can browse through images in this collection using the waypoints on the Collection Browse Page for United States, Freedman's Bank Records, 1865-1874.|
What Can These Records Tell Me?[edit | edit source]
The Registers of Signatures of Depositors in Branches of the Freedman’s Savings and Trust Company contain the records of 29 branches of the Freedman’s Bank. The registers identify those who opened accounts. Because the Freedman’s Bank was required by law to protect the interests of depositors’ heirs, the branches collected an enormous amount of personal information about each depositor and his or her family when the account was opened.
Registers of depositors are usually reliable because the information came from the depositor himself or from a close family member (in the case of children). Some errors may have been made in recording the information.
The following information may be found in these Bank records:
- Account number
- Name of depositor
- Date of application
- Place brought up
- Name of employer
- Spouse’s name
- Children’s names
- Father’s name
- Mother’s name
- Brothers’ and sisters’ names
- Name of former owner
- Name of plantation
- Regiment and company served in during the Civil War
- Wife’s maiden name or the name of a former spouse
- Names of nieces, nephews, aunts, uncles, grandparents, and in-laws
- Residence of these individuals and whether they were living or dead
- Death certificate copies
In addition to individuals, African American churches, private businesses, and beneficial societies also maintained accounts. Such accounts usually list the names of leaders, owners, or officials of those institutions.
Collection Content[edit | edit source]
Sample Image[edit | edit source]
How Do I Search This Collection?[edit | edit source]
Before searching this collection, it is helpful to know:
- The name of your ancestor
- The approximate age of your ancestor
- The names of family members and their relationships
- The name of the former slave owner
Search the Index[edit | edit source]Search by name on the Collection Details Page.
- Fill in the search boxes in the Search Collection section with the information you know
- Click Search to show possible matches
View the Images[edit | edit source]View images in this collection by visiting the Collection Browse Page:
- Select State and City
- Select Roll Number, Date Range and Account Number Range to view 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]
I Found the Person I Was Looking For, What Now?[edit | edit source]
- Add any new information to your records
- Use the information found to search for the family in census records, church records, land and probate records, and in 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
- 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[edit | edit source]
The following articles will help you in your research for your family in the United States.
- United States Guided Research
- United States Record Finder
- United States Research Tips and Strategies
Related Family History Library Holdings[edit | edit source]
- Registers of signatures of depositors in branches of the Freedman's Savings and Trust Company, 1865-1874
- Freedmen's Savings and Trust Company. Washington, D.C. Registers of signatures of depositors, 1865-1874. Accounts, 1865-1874
- Letters Received by the Commissioners, Part 1,:Correspondence,Loans, and Bank Books, 1870-1914. Family History Library Catalog
- Carl R. Osthaus.Freedmen, Philanthropy, and Fraud: a history of the Freedman's Bank. Urbana, Illinois: University of Illinois Press, 1976. FHL 973 U3o
- Nettie Nesbary ... et al. An index to the signatures of deposit for the Freedman's Savings and Loan Bank, 1865-1869, : for the state of Mississippi : Columbia, Natchez, and Vicksburg. Bowie, Maryland : Heritage Books, Inc., 976.2 F2n
- Linell L. Hardy, compiled and indexed. Abstract of account information of Freedman's Savings and Trust, New Orleans, Louisiana, 1866-1869.Bowie, Maryland : Heritage Books, Inc., c1999. FHL 976.335 U3h
Citing This Collection[edit | edit source]
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The citation for this collection can be found on the Collection Details Page in the section Citing this Collection.
When looking at a record, the citation can be viewed by clicking the drop-down arrow next to Document Information.
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