Louisiana, Freedmen's Bureau Field Office Records, 1865-1872 - FamilySearch Historical Records

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Louisiana, Freedmen's Bureau Field Office Records, 1865-1872
This article describes a collection of records at FamilySearch.org.
United States
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Flag of the United States of America
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US Flag 1863-1865 (35 stars)
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National Archives and Records Administration Logo
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 M1905. Records of the Field Offices for the State of Louisiana, Bureau of Refugees. 111 rolls.
  M1483. Freedmen and Abandoned Lands. Records of the New Orleans Field Offices, Bureau of Refugees, Freedmen, and Abandoned Lands, 1865-1869. 10 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.

Also available is a field office personnel coverage table which shows where the field offices in Louisiana were located, the names of the employees, what office they held, and the dates they served. Freedmen's Bureau Louisiana Field Office Personnel Coverage Table

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.

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

This collection consists of scanned images of records from National Archives microfilm publications M1905 Louisiana Records of the Field Offices for the State of Louisiana, Bureau of Refugees, Freedmen, and Abandoned Lands and M1483 New OrleansRecords of the New Orleans Field Offices, 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; Bounty Agent,Commissary of Subsistence, Provost Marshall General of Freedmen, Quartermaster, Surgeon in Chief, Plantation Department , first then the local field office records are arranged alphabetically by location and by NARA roll number.

Image Visibility[edit | edit source]

Whenever possible FamilySearch makes images and indexes available for all users. However, rights to view these data are limited by contract and subject to change. Because of this there may be limitations on where and how images and indexes are available or who can see them. Please be aware some collections consist only of partial information indexed from the records and do not contain any images.

For additional information about image restrictions see Restrictions for Viewing Images in FamilySearch Historical Record Collections.

To Browse This Collection[edit | edit source]

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

Collection Content[edit | edit source]

Sample Images[edit | edit source]

For details about the contents of these records, their history, and help using them, see the wiki article: United States Freedmen’s Branch Records - FamilySearch Historical Records

Record Types[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.

Inventory Collection[edit | edit source]

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

Selected Staff Officer records with Freedmen and Refugees names

Offices of Staff Officers(Bounty Agent)

  • Roll 1, Registers of Claims Received, 3 volumes, Registers of Claimants, volume 1
  • Roll 2, Registers of Claimants, volume 2
  • Roll 3, Registers of Payments, 3 volumes

Provost Marshall General of Freedmen

  • Roll 7, Registers of Proceedings in Freedmen's Court, 2 volumes, Registers of Complaints, 3 volumes, Complaints, 2 volumes
  • Roll 8, Registers of Houses Occupied by Soldiers' Families, Registers of Concepts, Registers of Refugees, Indentures of Orphan Children
  • Roll 9, Registers of Contracts

Subordinate Office Plantation Department

  • Roll 27, Registers of Black Persons, volumes 1-2,A-D
  • Roll 28, Registers of Black Persons, volumes 3-7,E-N
  • Roll 29, Registers of Black Persons, volumes 8-11,O-Z
  • Roll 29, Freedmen's Employment Registers, 2 volumes
  • Roll 30-39, Registers and Payrolls of Freedmen Employed on Plantations
  • Roll 39, Freedmen's Labor Contracts
  • Roll 40-51, Labor Contracts (Agreement with Freedmen)
  • Roll 52, Lists of Contracts with Freedmen
  • Roll 52, Daily Record of Cotton Picked on the Corondolet Plantation
  • Roll 52, Register of Payrolls of Freedmen on Plantations

Surgeon in Chief (report)

  • Roll 24, Weekly Reports Received from Surgeons Concerning Cholera Cases
  • Roll 25, Registers of Patients
  • Roll 26, Employee Contracts

New Orleans Freedmen’s Hospital

  • Roll 7, Register of Contrbands in Corps d’ Afrique General Hospital, Register of Patients, Registers of Sick and Wounded, Register of Disabled Destitutes Sick, etc., Register of Interment at Freedmen’s Cemetery, Register of Prescriptions

Home Colonies

Bragg Home Colony

  • Roll 67, Register of Departures, Registers of Rations and Clothing Issued, Register of Marriages, Registers of Applications for Laborers

Greenville Colony

  • Roll 79, Register for Contrabands

McHatton Home Colony

  • Roll 83, Registers of Arrivals and Departures

Rost Home Colony

  • Roll 98, Register of Arrivals and Departures, Records of Births and Deaths, Register of Applications for Laborers, Register of Sick and Wounded Refugees and Freedmen

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

Before searching this collection, it is helpful to know:

  • The name and or approximate age of your ancestor
  • The residence or the name of the former slave owner

View the Images[edit | edit source]

View images in this collection by visiting the Browse Page:

  1. Select the Freedmen's Bureau Office or Subordinate Field Office Location
  2. Select the NARA Roll Number-Contents to view the 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
  • Use the age or estimated birth date to determine an approximate birth date to find vital records such as birth, baptism, marriage and death
  • Use the information found in the record to find land, probate and immigration records
  • Use the information found in the record to find additional family members in census records

I Can't Find the Person I'm Looking For, What Now?[edit | edit source]

  • If your ancestor does not have a common name, collect entries for every person who has the same surname. This list can help you find possible relatives
  • 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
  • If you cannot locate your ancestor in the locality in which you believe they lived, then try searching records of a nearby town or county
  • Try different spellings of your ancestor’s name
  • Remember that sometimes individuals went by nicknames or alternated between using first and middle names

Research Helps[edit | edit source]

The following articles will help you in your research for your family in the state of Louisiana.

Related Family History Library Holdings[edit | edit source]

Related FamilySearch Historical 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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How Can I Contribute to the FamilySearch Wiki?[edit | edit source]

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