US, District of Columbia—Freedmen's Bureau Letters, 1865–1870

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About This Project

Congress established the Bureau of Refugees, Freedmen, and Abandoned Lands—or the Freedmen's Bureau, as it was also known—on March 3, 1865, and the work of the Bureau continued over the next several years. Operating under the direction of the War Department, the Bureau supervised, organized, and managed all matters relating to refugees, former slaves and lands abandoned or seized during or immediately after the Civil War. The Bureau was involved in wide range of activities, but one of its major purposes was to help former slaves reunite with family members and become self-sufficient. One invaluable result of the activities of the Freedmen's Bureau is the rich repository of records that were created and collected during its administration. The documents in this collection include letters, registers, marriage records, monthly reports, school records, rosters, circulars, special orders, and so on.

Sample Images

Skill Level: Intermediate

  • This project is recommended for volunteers who are familiar with the indexing process and comfortable using various system features.

Description and Characteristics

  • The records in this collection include many kinds of documents, most of which were handwritten.
  • Each batch includes up to four images.
  • Many images include more than one page or more than one document.
  • Most images include multiple records.
  • Highlights are not available for this project.

Records Access

  • The completed index and links to digital images will be freely accessible online to the general public when the collection is published.

Additional Information

How to Help with This Project

  • You must be a registered indexing volunteer to help with this project. To register as a volunteer and download and install the indexing program, click here for the indexing home page. Click on Get Started, and follow the instructions on the page.
  • After you register, click the Begin Indexing link on the indexing home page, and sign in to the indexing program with your user name and password. Then click the Download Batch button, and select this project name from the list. To see the project name on the list, you may need to select Show all projects at the top of the Download Batch window.