New Freedmen's Bureau records released for Juneteenth celebration

Published: Thursday, June 19 2014 5:02 p.m. MDT

Invited guests line up to view the original Emancipation Proclamation in this 2002 file photo. FamilySearch has released additional Freedmen's Bureau records in recognition of Juneteenth, a African-American holiday commemorating the abolishment of slavery in the United States.

Jay Laprete, Associated Press

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FamilySearch International has released additional Freedmen's Bureau records in recognition of Juneteenth, a African-American holiday commemorating the abolishment of slavery in the United States, according to a news release.

On June 19, 1865, General Gordon Granger and 2,000 troops arrived in Galveston, Texas, to enforce the freeing of slaves. This sparked a celebration that has traditionally become known as Juneteenth or Emancipation Day.

In March of that same year, the federal government created the Bureau of Refugees, Freedmen and Abandoned Lands — the Freedmen Bureau. These records include a wealth of information, such as marriages, labor contracts, hospital logs, number of children and other useful data for family historians.

FamilySearch began publishing the Freedmens' Bank records in 2001. This latest installment of Freedmen’s Bureau records contain historic collections from Arkansas, Delaware, the District of Columbia, Maryland, North Carolina, Texas and Virginia. These new additions are currently viewable as digital images of the original records. When indexed, the records will become searchable by name online.

“The Freedman Bureau records are crucial to tracing your African-American genealogy back past 1870," said Robin Foster, a national genealogy examiner and a member of the South Carolina Genealogical Society. "Until now, we had to travel to national, state, or local archives to have any hope of finding records. With FamilySearch, many of those records can be seen online on your home computer."

For more information visit FamilySearch.org.

Email: ttoone@deseretnews.com Twitter: tbtoone

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