Maryland and Delaware, Freedmen's Bureau Field Office Records - FamilySearch Historical Records

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Maryland and Delaware, Freedmen's Bureau Field Office Records, 1865-1872
This article describes a collection of records at
Maryland and Delaware, 
United States
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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 M1906. Records of the Field Offices for the States of Maryland and Delaware, Bureau of Refugees, Freedmen and Abandoned Lands, 1865-1872. 42 rolls.
National Archives Identifier 434
FamilySearch Resources
Related Websites
National Archives and Records Administration

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.

What is in This Collection?[edit | edit source]

This collection consists of scanned images of records from National Archives microfilm publication M1906 Records of the Field Offices for the States of Maryland and Delaware, 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; Chief Quartermaster and Disbursing Officer, Claim Division, Complaint Division, first then the local field office records are arranged alphabetically by location and by NARA roll number.

Related Article

  • 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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To Browse This Collection[edit | edit source]

You can browse through images in this collection using the waypoints on the Collection Browse Page for Maryland and Delaware, Freedmen's Bureau Field Office Records, 1865-1872.

Collection Content[edit | edit source]

NARA Select Images from Freedmen's Bureau Records

Record Types

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.

Collection Inventory Table

  • The inventory will include for each individual collection the National Archives Identifier Number (NAID) and preliminary inventory entry number.

Records with Freedmen and Refugee Name

  • Assistant Commissioner’s Office, Roll 5, Assistant Commissioner’s Land Reports, Teachers Monthly School Reports
  • Assistant Commissioner’s Office, Roll 6, Reports of Persons and Articles Hired
  • Assistant Commissioner’s Office, Roll 6, Register of Complaints of Illegal Apprenticeships
  • Chief Quartermaster and Disbursing Officer, Roll 16, Register of Claimants, Registers of Cash Received and Disbursed, 3 volumes, Register of Disbursements
  • Chief Quartermaster and Disbursing Officer, Roll 17, Receipts for Pay, Bounty, and Pension Certificates, A-R
  • Chief Quartermaster and Disbursing Officer, Roll 18, Receipts for Certificates, R-Z
  • Claim Division, Roll 28, Register of Claimants for Bounties and Pay Arrearages
  • Claim Division, Roll 29-32, Case Files for Claims for Bounty and Pay Arrearages, A-Y
  • Claim Division, Roll 32, Register of Claimants for Pensions
  • Claim Division, Rolls 33-35, Case Files of Pension Claims, A-Y
  • Claim Division, Roll 35, Register of Maryland Bounty Claims Filed through Hugh L. Bond, Register of Claims Not Originally Filed through the Baltimore Office, Register of Loyal Slave Owners, Maryland and West Virginia, Names and Addresses of Claimants, 2 volumes
  • Complaint Division, Roll 37, Register of Complaints
  • Bladensburg, Roll 41, Register of Complaints
  • Rockville, Roll 42, Register of Complaints
  • Wilmington, Delaware, Roll 42, Register of Claimants for Bounties, Register of Claims for Pensions, Register of Payments

How Do I Search This Collection?[edit | edit source]

Before searching this collection, it is helpful to know:

  • The name of the individual
  • The age of the person
  • The residence or former slave owner

Search the Index[edit | edit source]

This collection does not have a searchable index. Only images are available. See View the Images to access them.

View the Images[edit | edit source]

View images in this collection by visiting the Browse Page.

  1. Select Freedmen's Bureau Office or Subordinate Field Office Locationt
  2. Select NARA Roll Number - Contents

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]

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.

I Found the Person I Was Looking For, What Now?[edit | edit source]

  • Add any new information to your records
  • Search the 1850 and 1860 slave schedules
  • Determine if there are plantation records where the slave may have lived
  • Search land and probate records for bill of sales
  • Search court 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
  • 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 states of Maryland and Delaware.

Related Family History Library Holdings[edit | edit source]

Related FamilySearch Record Collections[edit | edit source]

Related Digital Books[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.

Collection Citation:
The citation for this collection can be found on the Collection Details Page in the section Citing this Collection.
Image Citation:
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