African American Resource Center
New Orleans Public Library

African American Genealogical Research in New Orleans
Freedmenís Bureau and Related Records

The Bureau of Refugees, Freedmen, and Abandoned Lands, more widely known as the Freedmen's Bureau, was created by Congress in 1865 as a division of the War Department. The organization was responsible for administering to refugees and freedmen after the war's end and was directly responsible for helping former slaves adjust to freedom. The bureau issued rations and clothing to needy freedmen, operated hospitals and relocation camps, found jobs for freed slaves, established schools, and leased or supervised the working of abandoned lands. It also legalized marriages entered into during slavery and reunited families spilt through slave sales.

The African American Resource Center has microfilm copies of Freedmenís Bureau records for several southern states and the Louisiana Division has Freedmenís Bureau records for the state of Louisiana. Besides the administrative records of the Freedmen's Bureau there are also the records of the Freedmen's Savings and Trust Co. (1865-1874). These records contain the name of the depositor, the depositor's account number, age, complexion, place of birth, place raised, name of former owner, former residence, and occupation, names of spouses, parents, children, and siblings, remarks and signatures.

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