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{{Record_Search_article|CID=CID1417695 |title=United States, Freedmans Bank Records, 1865-1874|location=United States}}<br>
+
'''[[United States Genealogy|United States]]'''
 +
{{US NARA HR Infobox
 +
| CID=CID1417695
 +
| title=United States, Freedman's Bank Records, 1865-1874  
 +
| location= United States
 +
| LOC_01 = 
 +
| LOC_02 =
 +
| LOC_03 =
 +
| record_type = Bank Deposit Records   
 +
| record_group_nr = 101
 +
| record_group_title =[http://www.archives.gov/research/guide-fed-records/groups/101.html Records of the Comptroller of the Currency]
 +
| start_year = 1865
 +
| end_year = 1874
 +
| micro_pub_nr = M816
 +
| micro_pub_title = Registers of Signatures of Depositors in Branches of the Freedmen’s Savings and Trust Company, 1865-1874
 +
| micro_pub_rolls = 27
 +
| coll_series =
 +
| arrangement = 
 +
| NAID =[https://catalog.archives.gov/id/566522?q=m816 566522]
 +
| language =
 +
| FS_URL_01 =[https://familysearch.org/search/collection/2431126?collectionNameFilter=false Records of the Commissioner]
 +
| FS_URL_02 =[https://familysearch.org/search/collection/2427901?collectionNameFilter=false Records of the Assistant Commissioner]
 +
| FS_URL_03 =[https://familysearch.org/search/collection/2427894?collectionNameFilter=false Superintendent of Education and the Division of Education Records]
 +
| FS_URL_04 =[[African American Freedmen's Bureau Records|African American Freedmen's Bureau Records]] 
 +
| FS_URL_05 =[[African American Freedman's Savings and Trust Company Records|African American Freedman's Saving and Trust Company Records]] 
 +
| FS_URL_06 =[[African American Research|African American Research]]
 +
| FS_URL_07 =
 +
| FS_URL_08 =
 +
| FS_URL_09 =
 +
| FS_URL_10 =
 +
| RW_URL_01 =[http://mappingthefreedmensbureau.com/maps/ Mapping the Freedman's Bureau: Freedman's Bank Branches]
 +
| RW_URL_02 =[http://www.archives.gov/research/african-americans/freedmens-bureau/freedmens-bank.pdf NARA Reference Report Freedman's Bank]
 +
| RW_URL_03 =[http://www.archives.gov/publications/prologue/1997/summer/freedmans-savings-and-trust.html The Freedman's Savings and Trust Company and African American Genealogical Research]
 +
| RW_URL_04 =[http://www.archives.gov/research/african-americans/freedmens-bureau/freedmens-bank-dc.pdf NARA Reference Report Freedman's Bank District of Columbia]
 +
| RW_URL_05 =[https://catalog.archives.gov/id/566522?q=m816 NARA Collection Description M816]
 +
| RW_URL_06 =[https://catalog.archives.gov/id/566979?q=m817 NARA Collection Description M817]
 +
| RW_URL_07 =[http://www.werelate.org/wiki/Source:United_States._Freedmans_Bank_Records,_1865-1874 Registers of signatures of depositors in branches of the Freedman's Savings and Trust Company, 1865-1874]
 +
| RW_URL_08 =
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| RW_URL_09 =
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| RW_URL_10 =
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}}
  
<br>
+
== What is in This Collection?  ==
  
== Record Description  ==
+
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 preprinted 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.  
+
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).&nbsp;
+
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).  
  
The Registers of Signatures of Depositors in Branches of the Freedman’s Savings and Trust Company contain the records of 29 branches of the Freedmen’s Bank.&nbsp;
+
'''Branches were located in the following cities:'''
  
The branches were located in the following cities:&nbsp;
+
*Atlanta, Georgia
 
+
*Augusta, Georgia
*Atlanta, Georgia&nbsp;
+
*Baltimore, Maryland
*Augusta, Georgia&nbsp;
+
*Beaufort, South Carolina  
*Baltimore, Maryland&nbsp;
+
*Charleston, South Carolina
*Beaufort, South Carolina&nbsp;
+
*Columbus, Mississippi
*Charleston, South Carolina&nbsp;
+
*Huntsville, Alabama
*Columbus, Mississippi&nbsp;
+
*Lexington, Kentucky
*Huntsville, Alabama&nbsp;
+
*Little Rock, Arkansas
*Lexington, Kentucky&nbsp;
+
*Louisville, Kentucky  
*Little Rock, Arkansas&nbsp;
+
*Lynchburg, Virginia
*Louisville, Kentucky&nbsp;
+
*Memphis, Tennessee
*Lynchburg, Virginia&nbsp;
+
*Mobile, Alabama  
*Memphis, Tennessee&nbsp;
+
*Nashville, Tennessee
*Mobile, Alabama&nbsp;
+
*Natchez, Mississippi
*Nashville, Tennessee&nbsp;
+
*New Bern, North Carolina
*Natchez, Mississippi&nbsp;
+
*New Orleans, Louisiana
*New Bern, North Carolina&nbsp;
+
*New York, New York  
*New Orleans, Louisiana&nbsp;
+
*Norfolk, Virginia
*New York, New York&nbsp;
+
*Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
*Norfolk, Virginia&nbsp;
+
*Raleigh, North Carolina  
*Philadelphia, Pennsylvania&nbsp;
+
*Richmond, Virginia
*Raleigh, North Carolina&nbsp;
+
*Savannah, Georgia
*Richmond, Virginia&nbsp;
+
*Shreveport, Louisiana  
*Savannah, Georgia&nbsp;
+
*St. Louis, Missouri
*Shreveport, Louisiana&nbsp;
+
*Tallahassee, Florida
*St. Louis, Missouri&nbsp;
+
*Vicksburg, Mississippi  
*Tallahassee, Florida&nbsp;
+
*Washington, D.C.  
*Vicksburg, Mississippi&nbsp;
 
*Washington, D.C.&nbsp;
 
 
*Wilmington, North Carolina
 
*Wilmington, North Carolina
  
<br>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 ex officio, 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.&nbsp;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.&nbsp;
+
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.&nbsp;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.  
  
The registers cover approximately the years 1865 to 1874.&nbsp;
+
===To Browse This Collection===
  
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.
+
{{Collection_Browse_Link
 +
|CID=CID1417695
 +
|title=United States, Freedman's Bank Records, 1865-1874
 +
}}
  
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
+
== Collection Content  ==
 +
=== Sample Image ===
 +
<gallery>
 +
Image:Freedman's Bank Register.jpg|Signature Register
 +
</gallery>
  
<br>
+
The registers may contain the following information:  
 
 
=== Citation for This Collection  ===
 
 
 
The following citation refers to the original source of the information published in FamilySearch.org Historical Record collections. Sources include the author, custodian, publisher and archive for the original records.
 
 
 
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.&nbsp;
 
 
 
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&nbsp;
 
 
 
{{Collection citation | text= "United States, Freedmans Bank Records, 1865-1874." Index. <i>FamilySearch</i>. http://FamilySearch.org : accessed 2013. Citing Freedman's Savings and Trust Company. National Archives and Records Service, Washington, D.C.}}
 
 
 
 
[[United States Freedman's Bank Registers 1865-1874 (FamilySearch Historical Records)#Citation_Example_for_a_Record_Found_in_This_Collection|Suggested citation format for a record in this collection.]]
 
 
 
== Record Content  ==
 
 
 
The key genealogical facts found in the registers may contain the following information:  
 
 
 
[[Image:Freedman's Bank Register.jpg|thumb|right|Freedman's Bank Register.jpg]]
 
  
 
*Account number  
 
*Account number  
Line 101: Line 127:
 
*Death certificate copies
 
*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.  
+
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.
 +
 
 +
== What Can This Collection Tell Me?==
 +
 
 +
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.
 +
 
 +
== How Do I Search This Collection?  ==
 +
To begin your search 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 by Name by visiting the [https://familysearch.org/search/collection/1417695 Collection Page]:'''<br> Fill in the requested information in the initial search page. This search will return a list of possible matches. Compare the information about the ancestors in the list to what you already know about your ancestors to determine if this is the correct family or person. You may need to compare the information about more than one person to find your ancestor.
 +
 
 +
'''View images in this collection by visiting the [https://familysearch.org/search/image/index#uri=https://familysearch.org/recapi/sord/collection/1417695/waypoints Browse Page]:'''<br>To search the collection you will need to follow this series of links:<br> ⇒Select the "Browse" link in the initial search page<br> ⇒Select the applicable "State and City"<br> ⇒Select the "Roll Number, Date Range and Account Number Range" which takes you to the images<br>
 +
 
 +
==What Do I Do Next?==
 +
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.
 +
===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 church 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 additional state and county records.
  
== How to Use the 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.
  
Fill in the requested information in the initial search page. This search will return a list of possible matches. Compare the information about the ancestors in the list to what you already know about your ancestors to determine if this is the correct family or person. You may need to compare the information about more than one person to find your ancestor.  
+
{{Tip|More images are available in the FamilySearch Catalog at [https://familysearch.org/search/catalog/1417695 United States, Freedman's Bank Records, 1865-1874]. Click on camera icon to see images.}}
  
Freedman’s Bank registers are a good source to quickly identify a family group and residence. Use a person’s birthplace, age, and place of residence to search for census and other record types. The bank records probably identify persons for whom other records do not exist.
+
== General Information About Freedmen's Bureau Records  ==
  
== Related Websites  ==
+
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. <br><br>
 +
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.<br> <br>
 +
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. <br><br>
 +
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.
  
[http://www.werelate.org/wiki/Source:United_States._Freedmans_Bank_Records,_1865-1874 Registers of signatures of depositors in branches of the Freedman's Savings and Trust Company, 1865-1874]
+
==Citing This Collection ==
  
== Related Wiki Articles  ==
+
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.
  
*[[African American Freedmen's Bureau Records|African American Freedmen's Bureau Records]]
+
;Collection Citation:
*[[African American Freedman's Savings and Trust Company Records|African American Freedman's Saving and Trust Company Records]]
+
"United States, Freedmen's Bank Records, 1865-1874." Database with Images. <i>FamilySearch</i>. <nowiki>http://FamilySearch.org</nowiki> : accessed 2017. Citing Freedman's Savings and Trust Company. National Archives and Records Service, Washington, D.C. NARA microfilm publication M816. Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, 1970.
*[[African American Research|African American Research]]
 
  
== Contributions to This Article  ==
+
{{Record_Citation}}
  
{{Contributor_invite}}  
+
{{Image_Citation}}
  
== Citing FamilySearch Historical Collections  ==
+
'''[[#top|Top of Page]]'''
  
When you copy information from a record, you should list where you found the information. This will help you or others to find the record again. It is also good to keep track of records where you did not find information, including the names of the people you looked for in the records.
+
== How Can I Contribute to the FamilySearch Wiki? ==
  
A suggested format for keeping track of records that you have searched is found in the wiki article [[Help:How to Cite FamilySearch Collections]].
+
{{Contributor_invite}}
  
=== Citation Example for a Record Found in This Collection  ===
+
[[Category:NARA_Freedmen's_Bureau Records]]
  
"Freedmans Bank Records, 1865-1874." database and digital ''FamilySearch'' images, (https://familysearch.org: accessed March 9, 2011), Augusta Isaac, age 13; citing Bank Records; Freedman's Savings and Trust Company Registers.<br>
+
{{H-langs|en=United States, Freedman's Bank Records (FamilySearch Historical Records)|pt=Estados Unidos, Registros do Banco de Libertos (Registros Históricos do FamilySearch)}}

Latest revision as of 21:19, 8 December 2017

United States

Access the Records
United States, Freedman's Bank Records, 1865-1874 .
CID1417695
{{{CID2}}}
{{{CID3}}}
{{{CID4}}}
{{{CID5}}}
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This article describes a collection of records at FamilySearch.org.
United States
United States flag.png
Flag of the United States of America
NARA seal300.jpg
Seal of the National Archives
Record Description
Record Type Bank Deposit Records
Record Group RG 101: Records of the Comptroller of the Currency
Collection years 1865-1874
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
FamilySearch Resources
Related Websites
Archive
National Archives and Records Administration


What is in This Collection?

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).

Branches were located in the following cities:

  • 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

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.

To Browse This Collection

You can browse through images in this collection by visiting the browse page for United States, Freedman's Bank Records, 1865-1874.

Collection Content

Sample Image

The registers may contain the following information:

  • Account number
  • Name of depositor
  • Date of application
  • Birthplace
  • Place brought up
  • Residence
  • Age
  • Complexion
  • Occupation
  • Name of employer
  • Spouse’s name
  • Children’s names
  • Father’s name
  • Mother’s name
  • Brothers’ and sisters’ names

Additional information included only in the early books were:

  • Name of former master or mistress
  • Name of plantation
  • Regiment and company served in during the Civil War

Sometimes the following information is also included:

  • 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.

What Can This Collection Tell Me?

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.

How Do I Search This Collection?

To begin your search 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 by Name by visiting the Collection Page:
Fill in the requested information in the initial search page. This search will return a list of possible matches. Compare the information about the ancestors in the list to what you already know about your ancestors to determine if this is the correct family or person. You may need to compare the information about more than one person to find your ancestor.

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 applicable "State and City"
⇒Select the "Roll Number, Date Range and Account Number Range" which takes you to the images

What Do I Do Next?

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.

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 church 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 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.

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

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Collection Citation

"United States, Freedmen's Bank Records, 1865-1874." Database with Images. FamilySearch. http://FamilySearch.org : accessed 2017. Citing Freedman's Savings and Trust Company. National Archives and Records Service, Washington, D.C. NARA microfilm publication M816. Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, 1970.

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