Internet Archive has digitized microfilms online for the Arkansas Field Office, US Freedmen’s Bureau Records. The twenty-three digitized microfilm sets are linked below.

 

What is the Freedmen’s Bureau?

The Freedmen’s Bureau is short for the US Bureau of Refugees, Freedmen, and Abandoned Lands, an agency set up by Congress, after the US Civil War, on March 3, 1865, to provide relief and assist newly freed slaves as they adjusted to their new freedoms and became self-sufficient.

The Freedmen’s Bureau has the largest collection of African American records and the government has partnered with other organizations to digitize, index, and provide searchable collections of these records.

Freedmen’s Bureau records contain all types of records for African Americans including, legalized marriage records, family reuniting and relocation records, ration records, hospitalization and medical records, labor contracts, apprenticeship records, school records, military bounty claims, pensions, back pay, and more.

 

What types of information can I find in these records?

  • Freedman’s name | Former slave’s name

  • Complaints

  • Petitions

  • Bounty Land inquiry

  • Military units person was a part of

  • Other records & requests

  • Date

  • Agent filing the request

  • Office that received the request

 

Where else can I find Freedmen’s Bureau records online for free?

The National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) has partnered with FamilySearch, the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture, the Afro-American Historical and Genealogical Society (AAHGS), and the California African American Museum to extract names from US Freedmen’s Bureau records.

Before scanning these microfilmed images, page by page, you can first try a search at DiscoverFreedmen.org to see if the records you need have already been indexed (information extracted from browsable images such as these and turned into searchable text records). DiscoverFreedmen.org will take you to FamilySearch where you’ll be required to login with a free account. There is never a charge to use online records at FamilySearch and creating an account at FamilySearch is easy.

Here is some information if you have questions about why you need to create a FamilySearch account and any options you have if you don’t want to create an account.

 

The collection at Internet Archive

Below are links to digitized microfilms for the Arkansas Field Office, US Freedmen’s Bureau Records.

Most of these records are handwritten, in cursive, and need to be scanned, page by page. It’s a slower process but this is similar to how researchers still search, image by image, undigitized microfilms on microfilm machines at libraries and archives

Here is an example of an image from the records:

Arkansas Freedmen's recordshttps:::archive.org:stream:recordsoffie18650005unit#page:n307:mode:2up

  1. Records of the field offices for the state of Arkansas, Bureau of Refugees, Freedmen, and Abandoned Lands, 1865-1872, Reel 0001, with views or download options, NARA, 2002, at Internet Archive

  2. Records of the field offices for the state of Arkansas, Bureau of Refugees, Freedmen, and Abandoned Lands, 1865-1872, Reel 0002, with views or download options, NARA, 2002, at Internet Archive

  3. Records of the field offices for the state of Arkansas, Bureau of Refugees, Freedmen, and Abandoned Lands, 1865-1872, Reel 0003, with views or download options, NARA, 2002, at Internet Archive

  4. Records of the field offices for the state of Arkansas, Bureau of Refugees, Freedmen, and Abandoned Lands, 1865-1872, Reel 0004, with views or download options, NARA, 2002, at Internet Archive

  5. Records of the field offices for the state of Arkansas, Bureau of Refugees, Freedmen, and Abandoned Lands, 1865-1872, Reel 0005, with views or download options, NARA, 2002, at Internet Archive

  6. Records of the field offices for the state of Arkansas, Bureau of Refugees, Freedmen, and Abandoned Lands, 1865-1872, Reel 0006, with views or download options, NARA, 2002, at Internet Archive

  7. Records of the field offices for the state of Arkansas, Bureau of Refugees, Freedmen, and Abandoned Lands, 1865-1872, Reel 0007, with views or download options, NARA, 2002, at Internet Archive

  8. Records of the field offices for the state of Arkansas, Bureau of Refugees, Freedmen, and Abandoned Lands, 1865-1872, Reel 0008, with views or download options, NARA, 2002, at Internet Archive

  9. Records of the field offices for the state of Arkansas, Bureau of Refugees, Freedmen, and Abandoned Lands, 1865-1872, Reel 0009, with views or download options, NARA, 2002, at Internet Archive

  10. Records of the field offices for the state of Arkansas, Bureau of Refugees, Freedmen, and Abandoned Lands, 1865-1872, Reel 0010, with views or download options, NARA, 2002, at Internet Archive

  11. Records of the field offices for the state of Arkansas, Bureau of Refugees, Freedmen, and Abandoned Lands, 1865-1872, Reel 0011, with views or download options, NARA, 2002, at Internet Archive

  12. Records of the field offices for the state of Arkansas, Bureau of Refugees, Freedmen, and Abandoned Lands, 1865-1872, Reel 0012, with views or download options, NARA, 2002, at Internet Archive

  13. Records of the field offices for the state of Arkansas, Bureau of Refugees, Freedmen, and Abandoned Lands, 1865-1872, Reel 0013, with views or download options, NARA, 2002, at Internet Archive

  14. Records of the field offices for the state of Arkansas, Bureau of Refugees, Freedmen, and Abandoned Lands, 1865-1872, Reel 0014, with views or download options, NARA, 2002, at Internet Archive

  15. Records of the field offices for the state of Arkansas, Bureau of Refugees, Freedmen, and Abandoned Lands, 1865-1872, Reel 0015, with views or download options, NARA, 2002, at Internet Archive

  16. Records of the field offices for the state of Arkansas, Bureau of Refugees, Freedmen, and Abandoned Lands, 1865-1872, Reel 0016, with views or download options, NARA, 2002, at Internet Archive

  17. Records of the field offices for the state of Arkansas, Bureau of Refugees, Freedmen, and Abandoned Lands, 1865-1872, Reel 0017, with views or download options, NARA, 2002, at Internet Archive

  18. Records of the field offices for the state of Arkansas, Bureau of Refugees, Freedmen, and Abandoned Lands, 1865-1872, Reel 0018, with views or download options, NARA, 2002, at Internet Archive

  19. Records of the field offices for the state of Arkansas, Bureau of Refugees, Freedmen, and Abandoned Lands, 1865-1872, Reel 0019, with views or download options, NARA, 2002, at Internet Archive

  20. Records of the field offices for the state of Arkansas, Bureau of Refugees, Freedmen, and Abandoned Lands, 1865-1872, Reel 0020, with views or download options, NARA, 2002, at Internet Archive

  21. Records of the field offices for the state of Arkansas, Bureau of Refugees, Freedmen, and Abandoned Lands, 1865-1872, Reel 0021, with views or download options, NARA, 2002, at Internet Archive

  22. Records of the field offices for the state of Arkansas, Bureau of Refugees, Freedmen, and Abandoned Lands, 1865-1872, Reel 0022, with views or download options, NARA, 2002, at Internet Archive

  23. Records of the field offices for the state of Arkansas, Bureau of Refugees, Freedmen, and Abandoned Lands, 1865-1872, Reel 0023, with views or download options, NARA, 2002, at Internet Archive

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