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Freedman's Savings Bank: your success stories?

Freedman's Bank, 1865 and 1874

I have used Freedman's Savings Bank records most successfully with three of my SC lines: the OWENS, the RIVERS and the JENKINS. In the former two cases, it has helped to gather names of siblings, first names or in the case of married female relatives, surnames. I would love to hear of others' successes with Freedman's Savings Bank records. Please share.

The Freedman's Saving and Trust Company, popularly known as the Freedman's Savings Bank, was a financial organization created by the U.S. government to encourage and guide the economic development of the newly-emancipated African-American communities in the post-Civil War period. Although functioning only between 1865 and 1874, the company achieved notable successes as a leading financial institution of African-Americans. Its archives are valued as an exhaustive collection of information regarding the African American community and its socio-economic life in the immediate aftermath of emancipation.

The company was created specifically as a repository for African-American veterans, ex-slaves and their families to build their savings, but it also enabled numerous community organizations increase their financial strength and thus, expand their activities. The company attracted a large number of societies, churches, charities and other private organizations that opened accounts and established trusts with the company.[2] With the assistance of the company, numerous hospitals, schools and institutions such as the St. Elizabeth Home for Colored Children and the St. Francis Xavier Church's Orphan Aid Society were established. Noted community leaders and civil rights activists formed the management of several trusts and held other important positions in the bank. A large number of African American soldiers and veterans of the Civil War held savings accounts in the banks; the management of their funds was organized through an allotment system supervised by the officers of the respective army regiments. The surviving documentation and papers of the bank archives illuminate the names, whereabouts and other relevant information about the veterans of the 7th Regiment United States Colored Troops and their transactions with the bank; the data is considered historically important in the study of African-American history.[2] The bank's records of 480,000 names, estimated to be the largest single repository of lineage-linked African-American records, has been indexed by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The searchable database is available to amateur as well as professional genealogists. [3] At the height of its success, the Freedman's Savings Bank held assets worth more than $3.7 million.


For Freedman's Bank and Allowed Southern Claims Records:
National Archives at College Park
Civilian Records Branch (NWCTC)
8601 Adelphi Road
College Park, MD 20740-6001

Further Readings:
Robert S. Davis, Jr. "Documentation for Afro-American Families: Records of the Freedman's Savings and Trust Company." National Genealogical Society Quarterly, vol. 76:2 (June 1988), pp. 139-146.

Carl R. Osthaus. Freedmen, Philanthropy, and Fraud: A History of the Freedman's Savings Bank. Illinois: University of Illinois Press, 1976.

Reginald Washington. "The Freedman's Savings and Trust Company and African American Genealogical Research." Prologue: Quarterly of the National Archives and Records Administration (Summer 1997): 170-181.

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Freedman's Savings Bank: your success stories?
Re: Freedman's Savings Bank: your success stories?

18 Dec 2002 :: 14 Nov 2008
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