US, Maryland and Delaware—Freedmen's Bureau, Register of Pensions and Bounty Claims, 1865–1872


Project Instructions



Please Read the Instructions

  • Please read these project instructions carefully before indexing any batches.
  • Review this page and the field helps frequently for updates to these instructions.
  • Click here for a summary of project updates.

Sample Images

What Is Unique about This Project

  • In this project you will be indexing pension, land, and bounty claims concerning former slaves and their family members. 
  • Other supporting documents for claims will also be indexed, including letters, certificates, receipts, and so forth.
  • For these records, index only the names of the freedman or claimant and his or her first listed family member. Do not index the names of additional family members.
  • Do not index officers, commissioners, or bureau administrators.
  • Indexes of claims will not be indexed; any image with only these records should be marked as a No Extractable Data Image.

Indexing Event Dates

  • For the event date, please index the date that the claim was filed, not the date the claim was received.
  • If more than one filing date was recorded, index the most recent filing date.

Account for Every Record on the Register

  • The data entry area is set at one entry line per image; however, some images may have more than one record.
  • If an entry line was left blank in a register, DO NOT mark an entry line as blank in the data entry area. If an entry line in a register has no data to be indexed, skip to the next record entry without marking a line as blank. 
  • If an image has more than one record, add enough entry lines in the data entry area to match the number of records on the image. To add entry lines:
    1. In the menu bar, click Tools.
    2. Click Records per Image.
    3. Click in the Number of records box, and type the number of records on the image.
    4. Click OK.

Rotate Images

  • Some images in this project are upside down.
  • You can rotate an image 90 degrees to the left or right.
  • To rotate the image 90 degrees counterclockwise, click the Rotate image left by 90 degrees icon. Note: You can also click the View menu, and click Rotate Left.
  • To rotate the image 90 degrees clockwise, click the Rotate image right by 90 degrees icon. Note: you can also click the View menu, and click Rotate Right.
  • To rotate an image 180 degrees, click the Rotate image right (or left) by 90 degrees icon twice.

Brightness and Contrast

  • To change the brightness of an image, click the View menu, and click Brightness and Contrast.
  • To darken an image, move the Brightness slider to the left of zero; to brighten the image, move the slider to the right of zero.
  • To change the contrast, click and drag the Contrast slider to the right.
  • To sharpen an image, click the View menu, and click on Sharpen to adjust the slider.

Damaged Pages

  • Some records were damaged and are unreadable. When an entry line or part of an entry line is unreadable, mark the record or the field as unreadable, and continue to index the records or fields that are readable.
  • To mark a field as unreadable, press Ctrl+U, or do the following:
    1. In the menu bar, click Edit.
    2. Click Mark Field or Record.
    3. Click Mark Field Unreadable.
  • To mark an entire record as unreadable, press Ctrl+Shift+U, or do the following:
  • In the menu bar, click Edit.
  • Click Mark Field or Record.
  • Click Mark Record Unreadable.

Highlights and the Ruler

  • Because of the many forms found in this project, highlights are not available. You may use the ruler instead to follow a record across an image.
  • If you use the ruler, please be aware that it is not anchored to the indexing screen and does not automatically move as you move to a new entry. To use the ruler:
    1. In the menu bar, click View.
    2. Click Show Ruler.

Handwriting Help

  • Many of these records are handwritten. The handwriting resource on the data entry screen may help you decipher the handwriting.
  • To access this resource, click on the Handwriting Help icon (an inkwell with an orange feather quill).

Additional Information