September 12, 2015
HISTORIC FREEDMEN’S BUREAU RECORDS RELEASED:
Event launches volunteer indexing effort of 4 million freed slave records
DENVER, CO — The Blair-Caldwell African American Research Library, Black Genealogy Search Group, and FamilySearch, the largest genealogy organization in the world are partnering on an exclusive VIP event in Denver, CO on September 12, 2015 announcing the digital release of 4 million Freedmen’s Bureau historical records and the launch of a nationwide volunteer indexing effort.
FamilySearch International is working in collaboration with the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture, the Afro-American Historical & Genealogical Society and the California African American Museum to make these records available and accessible by taking the raw records, extracting the information and indexing them to make them easily searchable online. Once indexed, finding an ancestor may be as easy as going to the site, entering a name and, with the touch of a button, discovering your family member.
The Freedmen’s Bureau was organized near the end of the American Civil War to assist newly freed slaves in 15 states and the District of Columbia. From 1865 t o1872, the Bureau opened schools, managed hospitals, rationed food and clothing and even solemnized marriages. In the process it gathered priceless handwritten, personal information including marriage and family information, military service, banking, school, hospital and property records on potentially 4 million African Americans.
Throughout the year, volunteers with each of these organizations and interested individuals from the general public will search and index these priceless records, making the information, details and histories readily discoverable for free online genealogical searches.
The goal is to have the records fully indexed in time for the opening of the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture in 2016. It only takes a little training for anyone with a computer and Internet access to join the project. Technical assistance will be available at FamilySearch centers throughout the nation.
The VIP event, held at the Blair-Caldwell African American Library in Denver, CO will be conducted by Adrian Miller, Executive Director of the Colorado Council of Churches, and will feature speakers from partner organizations; Blair-Caldwell Library, Black Genealogical Search Group and FamilySearch.
For more information about the effort or to see how you can help us restore records of millions of freed slaves, visit DiscoverFreedmen.org and on social media using #DiscoverFreedmen.
Blair-Caldwell African American Research Library
Black Genealogical Search Group