South Carolina, Freedmen Bureau Field Office Records (FamilySearch Historical Records)

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South Carolina , Freedmen's Bureau Field Office Records, 1865-1872 .
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This article describes a collection of records at FamilySearch.org.
South Carolina, United States
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Flag of the United States of America
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Seal of the National Archives
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 M1910. Records of the Field Offices for the State of South Carolina, Bureau of Refugees, Freedmen and Abandoned Lands, 1865-1872. 106 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 M1910 Records of the Field Offices for the State of South 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, Commissary of Subsistence, Inspector, Medical Officer, Quartermaster and Disbursing Officer, Claim Division, General Collecting Agent, 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

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)

To Browse This Collection

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

Collection Content

Sample Images

NARA Select Images from Freedmen's Bureau Records

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.

How Do I Search the Collection?

The Freedmen’s Bureau records are a major source of genealogical information about post Civil War African Americans. To begin your search 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.

View images in this collection by visiting the Browse Page:
⇒Select the "Browse" link in the initial search page
⇒Select the "Freedmen's Bureau Office or Subordinate Field Office Location" category
⇒Select the "NARA Roll Number - Contents" category which takes you to the images.

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.

What Do I Do Next?

When you have located your ancestor in the Freemen Bureau Field Office records, 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

I Found the Person I Was Looking For, What Now?

  • Use the information found to search for the family in census records.
  • Use the information found to search for the family in land and probate records.
  • Use the information found to search for the family in church 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.

Related Sources

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
"South Carolina, Freedmen's Bureau Field Office Records, 1865-1872." Images. FamilySearch. http://FamilySearch.org : 14 June 2016. Citing NARA microfilm publication M1910. 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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