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AfriGeneas Genealogy and History Forum

Re: Freedmen's Bureau Records - Searching Strategy

I checked the database and it appears that the records are indexed by record type only so far. Thus it is unlikely that you'll be able to pinpoint anyone without literally going through each image. They don't seem to have completed name indexes yet. It appears that they simply scanned the images from the microfilm and have made those images available to us.

Although the National Archives has published preliminary guides to these records that generally describe what records are available, there is no way to match the guide to these images. The images aren't yet indexed to the extent that you can pinpoint a specific document. The best you can do is to randomly search through them.

Notice there are only eight search fields: state, locality, start year, plus or minus year search, end year, plus or minus year search, record type, and keyword. This allows you to search a broad range of records, but doesn't really help you pinpoint a specific record. At this point the best one can do is look at the range of records and become more familiarized with them. Once Ancestry.com has indexed the records, then they'll be more useful to researchers.

Below is a link to the St. Louis County Public Library's website that has a link to the Freedmean's Bureau microfilm guides. The link is to the Julius K. Hunter & Friends African American Research Collection. Links to each guide are at the bottom of the page. They are PDF files.

You can also access these guides at the National Archives website, but you have to search for them by the microfilm publication number, e.g. M1900. The guides can be accessed in the portion of the website where you order/purchase microfilm reels.

If anyone finds a good way to access these records, please post something to that effect. I'm sure plenty of us would like to know how to better access the records.


18 Dec 2002 :: 14 Nov 2008
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