Volunteers at FamilySearch have been working very hard at digitizing the records from the Freedman’s Bureau. In February of 2016, the digitization project reached its halfway point with more than one million records transcribed. More help is needed to finish the project!
The Freedman’s Bureau Project was designed to bring thousands of records to light. It was created as a set of partnerships between FamilySearch International and the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA), the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture, the Afro-American Historical and Genealogical Society (AAHGS) and the California African American Museum.
FamilySearch is a name well known to genealogists. The website is offered for free as a service of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Anyone who wants to use the website can do so. In the past, FamilySearch has made use of volunteers to help put paper records into a digital format and also to index records. It is amazing what can get done when a group of motivated people all work together!
In February of 2016, the digitization of the Freedman’s Bureau records hit a milestone of having more than one million records. Nationwide efforts have been made to make historic records of African Americans and others from the Civil-War era searchable online.
Around 16,000 online volunteers have worked on these records and have used the process and technology of indexing in order to make the records more easily searchable online. It is anticipated that more than two million names of African Americans will be placed online when the Freedman’s Bureau project is completed. Those who are interested in helping index the remaining records should contact FamilySearch.
The Freedman’s Bureau project was launched by Elder D. Todd Christofferson, a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints on June 19, 2015. That date is known as Juneteenth, and is very significant.
It was the day that Union General Gordon Granger (and about 1,800 federal troops) arrived in Galveston, Texas, to enforce the Emancipation Proclamation. This happened in 1865. General Granger read General Orders Number 3 which stated (in part): “The people of Texas are informed that, in accordance with the proclamation from the Executive of the United States, all slaves are free.”
When all of the indexing of the records of the Freedman’s project is complete, FamilySearch believes it will be a “virtual Rosetta stone for African Americans seeking to extend their family histories beyond the proverbial brick wall of the 1870 census.”
Related Articles at FamilyTree.com:< Return To Blog