Difference between revisions of "United States Freedmen’s Bureau Marriages (FamilySearch Historical Records)"

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{{Record_Search_article|CID=CID1414908 |title=Freedmen's Bureau Marriages, 1815-1869|location=United States}}<br>
+
'''[[United States Genealogy|United States]]'''
 +
{{US NARA HR Infobox
 +
| CID=CID1414908
 +
| title=United States, Freedmen's Bureau Marriages, 1861 - 1872
 +
| location=United States
 +
| LOC_01 =
 +
| LOC_02 =
 +
| LOC_03 =
 +
| record_type =Freedmen Marriages and Registrations
 +
| record_group_nr = 105
 +
| record_group_title = [http://www.archives.gov/research/guide-fed-records/groups/105.html Records of the Bureau of Refugees, Freedmen and Abandoned Lands, 1865-1872]
 +
| start_year = 1865
 +
| end_year = 1872
 +
| alt_flag = US_33_Star_Fort_Sumter_Flag.jpg
 +
| alt_flag_desc = Civil War flag 1861 (33 stars)
 +
| micro_pub_nr = M1875
 +
| micro_pub_title =[http://www.archives.gov/research/microfilm/m1875.pdf Marriage Records of the Office of the Commissioner] 
 +
| micro_pub_rolls = 5
 +
| micro_pub_nr_02 =
 +
| micro_pub_title_02 =
 +
| micro_pub_rolls_02 =
 +
| micro_pub_nr_03 =
 +
| micro_pub_title_03 =
 +
| micro_pub_rolls_03 =
 +
| micro_pub_nr_04 =
 +
| micro_pub_title_04 =
 +
| micro_pub_rolls_04 =
 +
| coll_series =
 +
| arrangement =
 +
| NAID = [https://catalog.archives.gov/id/434 434]
 +
| 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 =[https://familysearch.org/search/collection/1417695?collectionNameFilter=true Freedmen’s Bank]
 +
| FS_URL_05 =[https://familysearch.org/search/collection/1438024?collectionNameFilter=false 1870 Census] 
 +
| FS_URL_06 =[[African American Research|African American Genealogy]]
 +
| FS_URL_07 =[[African American Freedmen's Bureau Records]] 
 +
| FS_URL_08 =[[Cohabitation Records]]
 +
| FS_URL_09 =[[United States Record Finder]]
 +
| FS_URL_10 =[[United States]]
 +
| RW_URL_01 =[http://www.archives.gov/publications/prologue/1973/fall/freedmens-marriage-registers.html Marriage Registers of Freedmen] 
 +
| RW_URL_02 =[http://www.archives.gov/publications/prologue/2005/spring/freedman-marriage-recs.html Freedmen's Bureau Marriage Records]
 +
| RW_URL_03 =[http://www.archives.gov/publications/prologue/1997/summer/freedmens-bureau-records.html Freedmen's Bureau Records: An Overview] 
 +
| RW_URL_04 =[http://www.archives.gov/research/microfilm/m1875.pdf Marriage Records of the Office of the Commissioner, M1875] 
 +
| RW_URL_05 =[http://www.virginiamemory.com/blogs/out_of_the_box/2011/12/09/cohabitation-registers-added-to-digital-collection/  Virginia Memory Collections Library of Virginia African American Resources Cohabitation Registers]
 +
| RW_URL_06 =[http://digitalcommons.law.lsu.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1262&context=faculty_scholarship History of Slave Marriage in the United States]
 +
}}
  
== Record Description ==
+
== What Is in This Collection? ==
  
The records consist of bound volumes and unbound bundles of loose papers. They are indexed and&nbsp;are also browsable by state.  
+
This collection consists of marriage registers and certificates recorded by Bureau Officials for marriages performed by "any ordained minister of the gospel." Most of the marriages recorded are from 1865 and 1868 while others recorded  may have taken place prior to the end of slavery.The date given is the original marriage date, while for others the date is the marriage was legalized. Some entries give the names of children born to the couple.
  
The Bureau of Refugees, Freedmen and Abandoned Lands, generally known as the Freedmen's Bureau, was established March 3, 1865, in the War Department. The Bureau was responsible for the supervision and management of all matters relating to the refugees, freedmen, lands and property abandoned or seized in the former Confederate States, border states, District of Columbia, and Indian Territory. The aim of the Bureau was to help freedmen become self-sufficient. Bureau officials accomplished this by issuing rations, overseeing labor contracts, establishing schools and hospitals, and representing former slaves in legal and other disputes. They also helped freedmen in legalizing marriages entered into during slavery, and provided transportation to refugees and freedmen who were attempting to reunite with their family or relocate to other parts of the country. Letters sent and received by bureau officials often contain information from and about African Americans. The Bureau was abolished in 1872, but the bulk of its work was conducted from June 1865 to December 1868. About 4 million slaves were freed during the Civil War. The names of thousands of these former slaves are included in the records.&nbsp;
+
Most of the marriages are from the Commissioner's Office and are from NARA microfilm publication M1875 Marriage Records of the Office of the Commissioner, Washington Headquarters of the Bureau of Refugees, Freedmen, and Abandoned Lands,1861-1869 part of Record Group 105.
  
The records were created from 1861 through 1872, however some of the marriages took place as early as 1815.&nbsp;
+
* Additional marriages are from the field offices of:
  
The Freedmen's Bureau was created to supervise labor contracts, settle disputes, administer justice, issue rations and clothing to destitute freedmen and refugees, establish schools, lease land, operate hospitals and refugee camps, legalize marriages and provide transportation to refugees and freedmen returning to their homes or relocating to other parts of the country for employment or other reasons.
+
*[https://www.familysearch.org/search/collection/2328125Arkansas (M1901), Arkadelphia roll 6; Lewisburg roll 7; Fort Smith roll 8; Jacksonport roll 12; Little Rock roll 14; Paraclifta roll 18; Pine Bluff roll 21; Washington roll 23] 
 +
*[https://www.familysearch.org/search/collection/2333782 District of Columbia (M1902), rolls 12-13]
 +
*[https://www.familysearch.org/search/collection/2333771 Kentucky (M1904), Bowling Green roll 92; Mount Sterling roll 125; Owensburg roll 128; Winchester roll 133]
 +
*[https://www.familysearch.org/search/collection/2333781 Louisiana (M1905), Mansfield roll 84; Shreveport roll 100]
 +
*[https://www.familysearch.org/search/collection/2333775Missouri (M1908), Cape Girardeau roll 24]
 +
*[https://www.familysearch.org/search/collection/2333777 Tennessee (M1911), Memphis roll 53]
 +
*[https://www.familysearch.org/search/collection/1596147 Virginia (M1913), Goochland roll 89; Lexington roll 101; Louisa roll 104; Lovington roll 105] 
  
Names and residences found in Freedmen's Bureau records are usually reliable, though ages and birthdates may not be. For some counties the date given is the original marriage date, while for other counties the date is the legalized marriage date. Some entries give the names of children born to the couple.
+
The registration of marriages is based on an order from the Bureau Commissioner from Circular No.5 dated May 30,1865:
  
For a list of records by localities currently published in this collection, select the [https://familysearch.org/search/image/index#uri=https%3A//api.familysearch.org/records/collection/1414908/waypoints Browse].  
+
"VIII The unity of families, and all the rights of the family relations, will be carefully guarded. In places where the local statutes make no provisions for the marriage of persons of color, the Asst. Commissioners are authorized to designate Officers who shall keep a records of marriages, which may be solemnized by any ordained minister of the gospel, who shall make a return of the same, with such items as may be required for registration at places designated by the Asst. Commissioners. Registrations made by US Officers will be carefully preserved."  The circular will be found in NARA microfilm publication M742, roll 7 Selected Series of Records Issued by the Commissioner of the Bureau of Refugees, Freedmen,and Abandoned Lands.  
  
=== Citations for This Collection ===
+
===To Browse This Collection===
 +
 
 +
{{Collection_Browse_Link
 +
|CID=CID1414908
 +
|title=United States, Freedmen's Bureau Marriages,  1861- 1872
 +
}}
  
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.
+
== What Can These Records Tell Me? ==
  
{{Collection citation
+
The Bureau of Refugees, Freedmen and Abandoned Lands, generally known as the Freedmen's Bureau, was established March 3, 1865, in the War Department. The Bureau was responsible for the supervision and management of all matters relating to the refugees, freedmen, lands and property abandoned or seized in the former Confederate States, border states, District of Columbia, and Indian Territory. The aim of the Bureau was to help freedmen become self-sufficient. Bureau officials accomplished this by issuing rations, overseeing labor contracts, establishing schools and hospitals, and representing former slaves in legal and other disputes. They also helped freedmen in legalizing marriages entered into during slavery, and provided transportation to refugees and freedmen who were attempting to reunite with their family or relocate to other parts of the country. Letters sent and received by bureau officials often contain information from and about African Americans. The Bureau was abolished in 1872, but the bulk of its work was conducted from June 1865 to December 1868. About 4 million slaves were freed during the Civil War. The names of thousands of these former slaves are included in the records.  
| text =<!--bibdescbegin-->Bureau of Refugees, Freedmen, and Abandoned Lands. Marriage Records of the Office of the Commissioner, Washington Headquarters of the Bureau of Refugees, Freedmen, and Abandoned Lands. National Archives and Records Administration. <!--bibdescend-->}}
 
  
[[United States Freedmen’s Bureau Marriages (FamilySearch Historical Records)#Citation_Example_for_a_Record_Found_in_This_Collection|Suggested citation format for a record in this collection.]]
+
Each marriage record contains some or all of the following information:
  
== Record Content  ==
+
*Date marriage was registered
 +
*Name and residence of groom
 +
*Groom's age and color
 +
*Color of groom's parents
 +
*How many years lived with another woman
 +
*Cause of the separation
 +
*Number of children by former companion
 +
*Name and residence of bride
 +
*Bride's age and color
 +
*Color of bride's parents
 +
*How many years lived with another man
 +
*Cause of the separation
 +
*Number of children by former companion
 +
*Number of children with present companion
 +
*Name of officiating minister
 +
*Sometimes, names and ages of children
  
 +
== Collection Content  ==
 +
===Sample Images===
 
<gallery>
 
<gallery>
 
Image:United States Freedmen's Bureau Marriages Example 1 DGS 4420238 33.jpg|Freedman's Bureau Marriage Record Example 1
 
Image:United States Freedmen's Bureau Marriages Example 1 DGS 4420238 33.jpg|Freedman's Bureau Marriage Record Example 1
Line 31: Line 105:
 
</gallery> This database combines two record groups created by the Bureau of Refugees, Freedmen, and Abandoned Lands, as shown below:  
 
</gallery> This database combines two record groups created by the Bureau of Refugees, Freedmen, and Abandoned Lands, as shown below:  
  
*“Marriage Records of the Office of the Commissioner, Washington Headquarters of the Bureau of Refugees, Freedmen, and Abandoned Lands, 1861-1869,” which contains marriage certificates for Louisiana, Mississippi, and Tennessee and some for Alabama (one marriage license), Delaware, Florida, Kentucky, Missouri, South Carolina, and the District of Columbia as well as monthly reports of marriages for Arkansas, Florida, Missouri, Virginia, and the District of Columbia. (National Archives and Records Administration&nbsp;publication number M1875)  
+
*“Marriage Records of the Office of the Commissioner, Washington Headquarters of the Bureau of Refugees, Freedmen, and Abandoned Lands, 1815-1869,” which contains marriage certificates for Louisiana, Mississippi, and Tennessee and some for Alabama (one marriage license), Delaware, Florida, Kentucky, Missouri, South Carolina, and the District of Columbia as well as monthly reports of marriages for Arkansas, Florida, Missouri, Virginia, and the District of Columbia. (National Archives and Records Administration&nbsp;publication number M1875)  
 
*“Records of the field offices for the state of Virginia, Bureau of Refugees, Freedmen, and Abandoned Lands” which includes marriage records from the counties of Augusta, Goochland, Louisa, Nelson and Rockbridge in Virginia. (Only the marriage records from this collection were added to the database.) (National Archives and Records Administration publication number M1913)
 
*“Records of the field offices for the state of Virginia, Bureau of Refugees, Freedmen, and Abandoned Lands” which includes marriage records from the counties of Augusta, Goochland, Louisa, Nelson and Rockbridge in Virginia. (Only the marriage records from this collection were added to the database.) (National Archives and Records Administration publication number M1913)
  
Each marriage record contains some or all of the following genealogical information:  
+
=== Coverage Tables ===
 +
Coverage tables of Cohabitation Records.
 +
*[[Alabama Cohabitation Records]]
 +
*[[North Carolina Cohabitation Records]]
 +
*[[Virginia Cohabitation Records]]
 +
 
 +
== How Do I Search This 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
  
*Name of bride and groom
+
=== Search the Index ===
*Date marriage was registered
+
{{Search Collection Link
*Residence of couple
+
| CID=CID1414908
*Information about previous marriages
+
}}
*Names and ages (or birthdates) of children
+
=== View the Images ===
 +
View images in this collection by visiting the '''{{RecordSearch|1414908|Browse Page|access=browse}}''':
 +
# Select '''Marriage Place - State'''
 +
# Select '''Surname'''
 +
# Select '''Given Name''' to view the images.<br><br>
  
== How to Use the Records  ==
+
{{Tip|More images are available in the FamilySearch Catalog at [https://familysearch.org/search/catalog/1414908 United States, Freedmen's Bureau Marriages, 1861-1872]. Some catalog records link to multiple references. In this case, click on a reference to find a camera icon to see images.}}
  
Search the Collection<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 "Marriage Place - State" category which takes you to the images<br>
+
=== 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 [[Use_Appropriate_Forms#Prepare_a_Research_Log | research log]].
  
Look at the images one by one comparing the information with what you already know about your ancestors to determine which one is your ancestor. You may need to compare the information about more than one person to make this determination. or 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.
+
== What Do I Do Next? ==
 +
===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 on the marriage record to search church records
 +
*Use the information found on the marriage record to search land and probate records
 +
*Use the information found on the marriage record to search additional state and county records
  
Use Freedmen's Bureau records to learn your ancestor's marriage year, and possibly birth year and place. The records often provide names and ages of family members, and may contain information not found in any other available source.  
+
=== I Can't Find the 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 Websites  ==
+
===Record Finder===
 +
Consult the [[United States Record Finder]] to search other records.
  
*[http://www.werelate.org/wiki/Source:United_States._Freedmen's_Bureau_Marriages,_1815-1869 Freedmen's Bureau Marriages, 1815-1869]
+
== General Information About Freedmen's Bureau Records ==
*[http://www.archives.gov/research/alic/reference/military/civil-war-service-records-pamphlets.html NARA record information pamphlets]
 
*[http://www.archives.gov/research/microfilm/m1875.pdf Marriage Records of the Office of the Commissioner]
 
*[http://www.archives.gov/research/microfilm/m1913.pdf Records of the Field Offices for the State of Virginia]
 
  
== Related Wiki Articles  ==
+
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.
  
*[[African American Freedmen's Bureau Records]]
+
== Citing This Collection ==
*[[African American Research|African American Research]]
 
  
== Contributions to This Article  ==
+
Citing your sources makes it easy for others to find and evaluate the records you used. When you copy information from a record, list where you found that information. Here you can find citations already created for the entire collection and for each individual record or image. &nbsp;
  
{{Contributor_invite}}
+
;Collection Citation:"United States, Freedmen's Bureau Marriages, 1815-1869." Database with images. <i>FamilySearch</i>. <nowiki>http://FamilySearch.org</nowiki> : 14 June 2016. Citing Bureau of Refugees, Freedmen, and Abandoned Lands. National Archives, College Park, Maryland.
  
== Citing FamilySearch Historical Collections  ==
+
{{Record_Citation}}
  
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.
+
{{Image_Citation}}
  
A suggested format for keeping track of records that you have searched is found in the wiki article [[Help:How to Cite FamilySearch Collections|Help:How to Cite FamilySearch Collections]].
+
'''[[#top|Top of Page]]'''
  
=== Citation Example for a Record Found in This Collection  ===
+
== How Can I Contribute to the FamilySearch Wiki? ==
  
"Freedman's Bureau Marriages, 1815-1869." database and digital images, ''FamilySearch'' (https://familysearch.org: accessed March 9, 2011), Docter Flemoy and Dolly Adams, married 7 June 1866; citing Marriage Records, FHL microfilm 2.425.252; United States Bureau of Refugees, Freedmen, and Abandoned Lands.
+
{{Contributor_invite}}
  
[[Category:African_Americans|Freedmen]]
+
[[Category:NARA_Freedmen's_Bureau Records]]
 +
{{H-langs|en=United States Freedmen’s Bureau Marriages (FamilySearch Historical Records)|pt=Estados Unidos, Agência de Casamentos de Libertos (Registros Históricos do FamilySearch)}}

Latest revision as of 20:34, 19 September 2018

United States

Access the Records
United States, Freedmen's Bureau Marriages, 1861 - 1872
CID1414908
{{{CID2}}}
{{{CID3}}}
{{{CID4}}}
{{{CID5}}}
{{{CID6}}}
{{{CID7}}}
{{{CID8}}}
{{{CID9}}}
This article describes a collection of records at FamilySearch.org.
United States
United States flag.png
Flag of the United States of America
US 33 Star Fort Sumter Flag.jpg
Civil War flag 1861 (33 stars)
NARA seal300.jpg
Seal of the National Archives
Record Description
Record Type Freedmen Marriages and Registrations
Record Group RG 105: Records of the Bureau of Refugees, Freedmen and Abandoned Lands, 1865-1872
Collection years 1865-1872
Microfilm Publication M1875. Marriage Records of the Office of the Commissioner. 5 rolls.
National Archives Identifier 434
FamilySearch Resources
Related Websites
Archive
National Archives and Records Administration


What Is in This Collection?

This collection consists of marriage registers and certificates recorded by Bureau Officials for marriages performed by "any ordained minister of the gospel." Most of the marriages recorded are from 1865 and 1868 while others recorded may have taken place prior to the end of slavery.The date given is the original marriage date, while for others the date is the marriage was legalized. Some entries give the names of children born to the couple.

Most of the marriages are from the Commissioner's Office and are from NARA microfilm publication M1875 Marriage Records of the Office of the Commissioner, Washington Headquarters of the Bureau of Refugees, Freedmen, and Abandoned Lands,1861-1869 part of Record Group 105.

  • Additional marriages are from the field offices of:

The registration of marriages is based on an order from the Bureau Commissioner from Circular No.5 dated May 30,1865:

"VIII The unity of families, and all the rights of the family relations, will be carefully guarded. In places where the local statutes make no provisions for the marriage of persons of color, the Asst. Commissioners are authorized to designate Officers who shall keep a records of marriages, which may be solemnized by any ordained minister of the gospel, who shall make a return of the same, with such items as may be required for registration at places designated by the Asst. Commissioners. Registrations made by US Officers will be carefully preserved." The circular will be found in NARA microfilm publication M742, roll 7 Selected Series of Records Issued by the Commissioner of the Bureau of Refugees, Freedmen,and Abandoned Lands.

To Browse This Collection

You can browse through images in this collection by visiting the browse page for United States, Freedmen's Bureau Marriages, 1861- 1872.

What Can These Records Tell Me?

The Bureau of Refugees, Freedmen and Abandoned Lands, generally known as the Freedmen's Bureau, was established March 3, 1865, in the War Department. The Bureau was responsible for the supervision and management of all matters relating to the refugees, freedmen, lands and property abandoned or seized in the former Confederate States, border states, District of Columbia, and Indian Territory. The aim of the Bureau was to help freedmen become self-sufficient. Bureau officials accomplished this by issuing rations, overseeing labor contracts, establishing schools and hospitals, and representing former slaves in legal and other disputes. They also helped freedmen in legalizing marriages entered into during slavery, and provided transportation to refugees and freedmen who were attempting to reunite with their family or relocate to other parts of the country. Letters sent and received by bureau officials often contain information from and about African Americans. The Bureau was abolished in 1872, but the bulk of its work was conducted from June 1865 to December 1868. About 4 million slaves were freed during the Civil War. The names of thousands of these former slaves are included in the records.

Each marriage record contains some or all of the following information:

  • Date marriage was registered
  • Name and residence of groom
  • Groom's age and color
  • Color of groom's parents
  • How many years lived with another woman
  • Cause of the separation
  • Number of children by former companion
  • Name and residence of bride
  • Bride's age and color
  • Color of bride's parents
  • How many years lived with another man
  • Cause of the separation
  • Number of children by former companion
  • Number of children with present companion
  • Name of officiating minister
  • Sometimes, names and ages of children

Collection Content

Sample Images

This database combines two record groups created by the Bureau of Refugees, Freedmen, and Abandoned Lands, as shown below:
  • “Marriage Records of the Office of the Commissioner, Washington Headquarters of the Bureau of Refugees, Freedmen, and Abandoned Lands, 1815-1869,” which contains marriage certificates for Louisiana, Mississippi, and Tennessee and some for Alabama (one marriage license), Delaware, Florida, Kentucky, Missouri, South Carolina, and the District of Columbia as well as monthly reports of marriages for Arkansas, Florida, Missouri, Virginia, and the District of Columbia. (National Archives and Records Administration publication number M1875)
  • “Records of the field offices for the state of Virginia, Bureau of Refugees, Freedmen, and Abandoned Lands” which includes marriage records from the counties of Augusta, Goochland, Louisa, Nelson and Rockbridge in Virginia. (Only the marriage records from this collection were added to the database.) (National Archives and Records Administration publication number M1913)

Coverage Tables

Coverage tables of Cohabitation Records.

How Do I Search This 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

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 Marriage Place - State
  2. Select Surname
  3. Select Given Name 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?

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 on the marriage record to search church records
  • Use the information found on the marriage record to search land and probate records
  • Use the information found on the marriage record to search additional state and county records

I Can't Find the 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

Record Finder

Consult the United States Record Finder to search other records.

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.

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Collection Citation
"United States, Freedmen's Bureau Marriages, 1815-1869." Database with images. FamilySearch. http://FamilySearch.org : 14 June 2016. Citing Bureau of Refugees, Freedmen, and Abandoned Lands. National Archives, College Park, Maryland.
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