Virginia, Freedmen's Bureau Field Office Records - FamilySearch Historical Records
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Virginia, Freedmen's Bureau Field Office Records,1865-1872
|This article describes a collection of records at FamilySearch.org.|
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|US Flag 1863-1865 (35 stars)|
|National Archives and Records Administration Logo|
|Record Type||Freedmen and Refugee Records|
|Record Group||RG 105: Records of the Bureau of Refugees, Freedmen and Abandoned Lands|
|Microfilm Publication||M1913. Records of the Field Offices for the State of Virginia, Bureau of Refugees, Freedmen and Abandoned Lands, 1865-1872. 203 rolls.|
|National Archives Identifier||434|
|National Archives and Records Administration|
- 1 Why Should I Look at This Collection?
- 2 What is in This Collection?
- 3 Collection Content
- 4 How Do I Search This Collection?
- 5 What Do I Do Next?
- 6 Known Issues
- 7 Citing This Collection
Why Should I Look at This Collection?[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.
For details about the contents of these records, their history, and help using them, see the wiki article:African American Freedmen's Bureau Records
Also available is a field office personnel coverage table which shows where the field offices in Virginia were located, the names of the employees, what office they held, and the dates they served. See: Freedmen’s Bureau Virginia Field Office Personnel Coverage Table
- Sharon Batiste Gillins.A Window into the lives of black and white ancestors: Freedmen's Bureau field office records. NGS Magazine 39 #1 (January-March 2013): 34-38.
Image Visibility[edit | edit source]
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What is in This Collection?[edit | edit source]
This collection includes field office reports, letters received and sent, contracts, certificates, registers, censuses, affidavits, and other documents that preserve, directly and vividly, the experiences and circumstances of the individuals involved, such as freedpeople, Bureau officers, landowners and employers, and others. They contain desperate pleas for food, clothing, and medical care from rural communities; freedpeoples' testimonies about delinquent employers, continued use of forced labor and apprenticeship, violence, restrictions due to the new state-legislated and repressive "black codes"; petitions for new schools, legal aid in courts, and protection from violence; applications for land; and marriage certificates. The collection includes records from 1865 to 1872.
- Sub-district Headquarters
- First Sub-District: Norfolk
- Second Sub-District: Petersburg
- Third Sub-District: Richmond
- Fourth Sub-District: Gordonsville
- Fifth Sub-District: Fort Monroe
- Sixth Sub-District: Fredericksburg
- Seventh Sub-District: Lynchburg
- Eighth Sub-District: Wytheville
- Nine Sub-District: Winchester
- Tenth Sub-District: Alexandria
- Hospital Locations: Danville, Drummondtown, City Point, Eastville, Farmville, Hampton, Lynchburg, Norfolk, Petersburg, Richmond, and Yorktown; Howard Grove Hospital near Richmond, ward for the insane and a home for the aged and infirm
- Marriage records from this NARA publication have been published in a separate collection: Freedmen's Bureau Virginia Marriages, ca. 1815-1866
- Records of the Chimborazo School in Richmond, 1868-1869 will be located in the Virginia Historical Society Papers Chimborazo School Records
To Browse This Collection[edit | edit source]
|You can browse through images in this collection using the waypoints on the Collection Browse Page for Virginia, Freedmen's Bureau Field Office Records, 1865-1872.|
Collection Content[edit | edit source]
Sample Images[edit | edit source]
The Bureau of Refugees, Freedmen, and Abandoned Lands (often called the Freedmen’s Bureau) created many different record types necessary 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.
- 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
- Officers' Manual. Washington, 1866
Collection Inventory Table
- The inventory will include for each individual collection the National Archives Identifier Number (NAID) and preliminary inventory entry number.
- To locate the name of the collection indexed and locality see the coverage table. Look for the Digital Folder Number and Image Number. Virginia, Freedmen's Bureau Field Office Records Coverage Table - FamilySearch Historical Records
How Do I Search This Collection?[edit | edit source]
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 and some other identifying information such as age, residence or former 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 Browse Page:
- Select Freedmen's Bureau Office or Subordinate Field Office Location
- Select NARA Roll Number - Contents to view the images
|More images are available in the FamilySearch Catalog at Virginia, Freedmen's Bureau Field Office Records, 1865-1872. Some catalog records link to multiple references. In this case, click on a reference to find a camera icon to see 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
- 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
- You should also look for leads to other records about your ancestors. For example use the place of residence, age, and other information for each person to search for the individuals in census records and other types of 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 state of Virginia
- Researching African American Genealogy
- Quick Guide to African American Records
- Virginia Guided Research
- Research Tips and Strategies
- Step-by-Step Research
Related Family History Library Holdings[edit | edit source]
- Records of the field offices for the state of Virginia, Bureau of Refugees, Freedmen, and Abandoned Lands : NARA, RG105, M1913, 1865-1872
- 1865 census of the 'colored' population in the city and county of Alexandria Image Range 186-252
- Virginia Census Population Schedules, 1870. Virginia State Library
- Agricultural Schedules 1870 Census
- Persons who died during the year ending 1st June 1870, Accomack-York counties, Virginia
- John M. Johnson. comp. Records of the Freedmen's Bureau in Wythe County, Virginia FHL 975.5773 F2j
- In search of : selections from Freedmen's Bureau records for Augusta County and Staunton, Virginia FH 975.5916 F2ai
- Elizabeth Cann Kambourian, extracted and compiled. The Freedmen's Bureau in Virginia: names of destitute Freedmen dependent upon the government in the military districts of Virginia. FHL 975.5 F2k
- Janice Abercrombie, trans. Cohabitation lists of former slaves, in Goochland, Hanover & Louisa counties Virginia : as recorded in the Freedmen's Bureau. FHL 975.5 V2aj
Related FamilySearch Historical Record Collections[edit | edit source]
- Virginia, Slave Birth Index, 1853-1866
- United States, Freedman's Bank Records, 1865-1874
- United States, Freedmen's Bureau, Records of the Commissioner, 1865-1872,
- United States, Freedmen's Bureau, Records of the Assistant Commissioner, 1865-1872
- United States, Freedmen's Bureau, Records of the Superintendent of Education and of the Division of Education, 1865-1872
- United States Census, 1870
Related Digital Books[edit | edit source]
- Elaine Everly, Willna Pacheli, comp. Preliminary inventory of the records of the field offices of the Bureau of Refugees, Freedmen, and Abandoned Lands : record group 105.Washington, D.C. : National Archives and Records Service, 1973.
- Officers' manual : Bureau of Refugees, Freedmen, and Abandoned Lands. Washington D.C. : Bureau of Refugees, Freedmen, and Abandoned Lands, 1866
Related National Archives Catalog[edit | edit source]
- NARA Confederate Slave Rolls RG 109 Click "Search within this series"
- Confederate Slave Payrolls - National Archives Catalog
- Register of Work Done by Slave Labor at Fort Monroe, 9.1.1820-4.30.1824 NAID 122681376
Known Issues[edit | edit source]
Citing This Collection[edit | edit source]
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.
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.
When looking at an image, the citation is found on the Information tab at the bottom left of the screen.