Arkansas, Freedmen's Bureau Field Office Records - FamilySearch Historical Records

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Arkansas, Freedmen's Bureau Field Office Records, 1864-1872
This article describes a collection of records at
United States
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Record Description
Record Type Freedmen and Refugee Records
Record Group RG 105: Records of the Bureau of Refugees, Freedmen and Abandoned Lands,1865-1872
Collection years 1864-1872
Microfilm Publication M1901. Records of the Field Offices for the State of Arkansas, Bureau of Refugees, Freedmen and Abandoned Lands. 23 rolls.
National Archives Identifier 434
FamilySearch Resources
Related Websites
National Archives and Records Administration

Why Should I Look at This Collection?[edit | edit source]

The Bureau of Refugees, Freedmen, and Abandoned Lands was established in the War Department in March of 1865. It was commonly called the Freedman’s Bureau and was responsible for the management and supervision of matters relating to refuges, freedmen, and abandoned lands. The Bureau assisted disenfranchised Americans, primarily African Americans, with temporal, legal and financial matters, with the intent of helping people to become self-sufficient. Matters handled included the distributing of food and clothing; operating temporary medical facilities; acquiring back pay, bounty payments, and pensions; facilitating the creation of schools, including the founding of Howard University; reuniting family members; handling marriages; and providing banking services. Banking services were provided by the establishment of the Freedman’s Saving and Trust Company, or Freedman’s Bank.

The Bureau functioned as an agency of the War Department from approximately June 1865 until December 1868. In 1872, the functions of the Bureau were transferred to the Freedmen’s Branch of the Adjutant General’s Office. The Bureau assisted over one million African Americans, including many of the nearly four million emancipated slaves, which was over 25% of the population of former slaves in America.The records identify those who sought help from the Bureau at the end of the Civil War. Most supplicants were freed slaves, some of which were military veterans. In addition, a few veterans who were not African Americans also sought help from the Bureau. Freedmen’s Bureau records are usually reliable, because the records were supplied through first-person correspondence or the recording of a marriage.

Also available is a field office personnel coverage table which shows where the field offices in Arkansas were located, the names of the employees, what office they held, and the dates they served. Freedmen’s Bureau Arkansas Field Office Personnel Coverage Table.

Image Visibility[edit | edit source]

Whenever possible FamilySearch makes images and indexes available for all users. However, rights to view these data are limited by contract and subject to change. Because of this there may be limitations on where and how images and indexes are available or who can see them. Please be aware some collections consist only of partial information indexed from the records and do not contain any images. For additional information about image restrictions see Restrictions for Viewing Images in FamilySearch Historical Record Collections.

What is in This Collection?[edit | edit source]

This collection consists of scanned images of records from National Archives microfilm publication M1901Records of the Field Offices for the State of Arkansas, Bureau of Refugees, Freedmen, and Abandoned Lands which is part of Record Group 105 Records of the Bureau of Refugees, Freedmen and Abandoned Lands.

The images are generally arranged in the order the records were microfilmed with the records of the state level staff officers; Claims Division, Chief Disbursing Officer and Claims Agent, first then the local field office records are arranged alphabetically by location and by NARA roll number.

To Browse This Collection[edit | edit source]

You can browse through images in this collection using the waypoints on the Collection Browse Page for Arkansas, Freedmen's Bureau Field Office Records, 1864-1872.

Collection Content[edit | edit source]

Sample Images[edit | edit source]

Additional sample images can be found on the National Archives' African American Heritage site at Select Freedmen's Bureau Records.

Record Types[edit | edit source]

The Bureau of Refugees, Freedmen, and Abandoned Lands (often called the Freedmen’s Bureau) created many different record types necessary to supervise relief efforts including education, health care, food and clothing, refugee camps, legalization of marriages, employment, labor contracts, and securing back pay, bounty payments and pensions. These records include letters and endorsements sent and received, account books, applications for rations, applications for relief, court records, labor contracts, registers of bounty claimants, registers of complaints, registers of contracts, registers of disbursements, registers of freedmen issued rations, registers of patients, reports, rosters of officers and employees, special and general orders and circulars received, special orders and circulars issued, records relating to claims, court trials, property restoration, and homesteads.

Collection Inventory Table[edit | edit source]

The inventory will include for each individual collection the National Archives Identifier Number (NAID) and preliminary inventory entry number.

Coverage Table[edit | edit source]

Select list of collections with Freedmen and Refugee Names in this publication.

  • Arkansas, Chief Disbursing Officer and Claims Agent: Roll 6, Registers of Claimants 3 volumes
  • Arkadelphia, Clark County: Roll 6, Registers of Complaints, Labor Contracts and Marriages
  • Augusta, Woodruff County: Roll 6, Registers of Labor Contracts, Legal Papers
  • Batesville, Independence County: Roll 6, Monthly Reports of Persons and Articles Hired, Court Writs, Summons, and Other Legal Papers Contracts
  • Camden, Ouchita County: Roll 7, Register of Labor Contracts, Register of School Children and Register of Attendance of School Children, Affidavits and Depositions, Register of Complaints
  • Lewisburg, Conway County: Roll 7, Labor Contracts, Amnesty Oaths and Marriage Certificates, Affidavits and Petitions
  • Devall’s Bluff, Prairie County: Roll 8, Reports of Persons and Articles Hired
  • Fort Smith, Sebastian County: Roll 8, Register of Labor Contracts, Register of Application for Restoration of Property, Register of Marriages, and Register of Persons Drawing Rations
  • Fort Smith, Sebastian County: Roll 9, Register of Refugees Issued Rations, Register of Rebel Property in Counties Subject to Confiscation
  • Hamburg, Ashley County: Roll 10, Registers of Complaints and Contracts
  • Helena, Phillips County: Roll 11, Register of Claimants
  • Jacksonport, Upper White River District: Roll 11, Register of Contracts
  • Jacksonport, Jackson County: Roll 12, Affidavits and Court Papers, Register of Contracts and Register of Marriages, Register of Complaints
  • Lake Village and Luna Landing, Chicot County: Roll 12, Register of Contracts and Register of Major Landholders
  • Lewisville, Lafayette County: Roll 14, Register of Complaints
  • Little Rock, Pulaski County: Roll 14, Registers of Complaints and Marriages, Register of Freedmen Employed on Plantations
  • Little Rock, Pulaski County: Roll 15, Employment Registers 3 volumes
  • Madison, St. Francis County: Roll 16, Registers of Complaints and Contracts, Court Papers
  • Magnolia: Roll 16, Affidavits of Freedmen
  • Monticello: Roll 17, Register of Contracts for Bradley County, Court Papers and Reports
  • Napoleon, Desha County: Roll 17, Register of Complaints
  • Osceola, Mississippi County: Roll 18, Registers of Claims, Marriages, Contracts and Indentures, Register of Complaints
  • Ozark: Roll 18, Register of Destitute Citizens of Franklin and Johnson Counties Issued Rations
  • Paraclifta, Sevier County: Roll 18, Orders Sent to Local Citizens, Register of Marriages and Copies of Indentures, Register of Complaints, Register of Employees and Employers
  • Pine Bluff: Roll 19, Reports of Persons and Articles Hired
  • Pine Bluff, Jefferson County: Roll 21, Register & Certificates of Marriage, Register of Abandoned Property, Record of Account Book of Mrs. Bayner’s Plantation
  • Princeton, Dallas County: Roll 22, Contracts and Monthly Statements of Property
  • South Bend: Roll 22, Orders Issued to Local Citizens, Proceedings of Cases
  • Washington, Hemstead County: Roll 23, Registers of Contracts, and Complaints, Marriage Certificates

How Do I Search This Collection?[edit | edit source]

Before searching this collection, it is helpful to know:

  • The name of the person
  • The location or date of the event
  • The name of former slave owner

Search the Index[edit | edit source]

This collection does not have a searchable index. Only images are available. See View the Images to access them.

View the Images[edit | edit source]

View images in this collection by visiting the Browse Page:

  1. Select the Freedmen's Bureau Office or Subordinate Field Office Location
  2. Select the NARA Roll Number-Contents to view the images.

How Do I Analyze the Results?[edit | edit source]

Compare each result from your search with what you know to determine if there is a match. This may require viewing multiple records or images. Keep track of your research in a research log.

What Do I Do Next?[edit | edit source]

If these are indexes, the original records may contain additional information than was not indexed, or the information might have been indexed incorrectly. You may want to search for the original record at the National Archive and Records Administration.

I Found Who the Person I was Looking for, What Now?[edit | edit source]

  • Use the age or estimated birth date to find vital records such as birth, baptism, marriage, and death records
  • Use the information found in the record to find additional family members in census records
  • Search for death or burial information in BillionGraves Index or at Find A Grave
  • If applicable, search for immigration and naturalization records as well

I Can’t Find the Person I’m Looking For, What Now?[edit | edit source]

  • If your ancestor does not have a common name, collect entries for every person who has the same surname. This list can help you find possible relatives
  • If you cannot locate your ancestor in the locality in which you believe they lived, then try searching a nearby locality
  • Try different spellings of your ancestor’s name
  • Remember that sometimes individuals went by nicknames or alternated between using first and middle names

Research Helps[edit | edit source]

The following articles will help you in your research for your family in the state of Arkansas.

Related Family History Holdings[edit | edit source]

Related FamilySearch Historical Record Collections[edit | edit source]

Related Digital Books[edit | edit source]

Citing This Collection[edit | edit source]

Citations help you keep track of places you have searched and sources you have found. Identifying your sources helps others find the records you used.

Collection Citation:
The citation for this collection can be found on the Collection Details Page in the section Citing this Collection.
Image Citation:
When looking at an image, the citation is found on the Information tab at the bottom left of the screen.