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.