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

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Texas, Freedmen's Bureau Field Office Records, 1865-1870
This article describes a collection of records at FamilySearch.org.
United States
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US Flag 1863-1865 (35 stars)
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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
Collection years 1865-1872
Microfilm Publication M1912. Records of the Field Offices for the State of Texas, Bureau of Refugees, Freedmen and Abandoned Lands, 1865-1872. 28 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.

For details about the contents of these records, their history, and help using them, see the wiki article: United States Freedmen’s Branch Records - FamilySearch Historical Records.

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

Related Article

  • Sharon Batiste Gillins.A Window into the lives of black and white ancestors: Freedmen's Bureau field office records. NGS Magazine 39 #1 (January-March 2013): 34-38.

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

This collection consists of scanned images of records from National Archives microfilm publication M1912Records of the Field Offices for the State of Texas, 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 Assistant Commissioner who oversaw Bureau operations in the state and state level staff officers; Quartermaster and Disbursing Officer, first then the local field office records are arranged alphabetically by location and by NARA roll number.

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.

To Browse This Collection[edit | edit source]

You can browse through images in this collection using the waypoints on the Collection Browse Page for Texas, Freedmen's Bureau Field Office Records, 1865-1870.

Collection Content[edit | edit source]

Sample Images[edit | edit source]

NARA Select Images from Freedmen's Bureau Records

Record Types

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

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

Records with Freedmen and Refugees Names

  • Office of the Assistant Commissioner, Roll 1, Unidentified Volume Relating to Patients and Accounts
  • Quartermaster and Disbursing Officer, Rolls 7-9, Reports of Persons and Articles Hired
  • Quartermaster and Disbursing Officer, Roll 11, Orders for Transportation, Accounts, 6 volumes
  • Austin, Roll 12, Register of Complaints, Register of Contracts
  • Bastrop, Roll 13, Register of Complaints
  • Belton, Roll 13, Register of Complaints
  • Boston, Roll 13, Register of Complaints
  • Boston, Roll 14, Affidavits and Settlements
  • Brenham, Roll 14, Register of Complaints
  • Bryan, Roll 14, Register of Complaints
  • Centerville, Roll 14, Register of Complaints
  • Columbia, Roll 15, Register of Complaints, Register of Contracts
  • Columbus, Roll 18, Register of Complaints
  • Crockett, Roll 19, Register of Complaints
  • Gonzales, Roll 21, Register of Complaints
  • Halletsville, Roll 21, Register of Complaints
  • Houston, Roll 22, Register of Complaints, 3 volumes, Receipts
  • Huntsville, Roll 23, Register of Complaints
  • Jefferson, Roll 23, Register of Complaints
  • La Grange, Post 23, Register of Complaints, Evidence in the Case of F. D. Ackerman
  • Liberty, Roll 24, Register of Complaints
  • Lockhart, Roll 24, Register of Complaints
  • Marlin, Roll 24, Register of Complaints
  • Marshall, Roll 24, Register of Complaint
  • Meridian, Roll 24, Register of Complaints
  • Nacogdoches, Roll 24, Register of Complaints
  • Palestine, Roll 25, Register of Complaints
  • Richmond, Roll 25, Contracts
  • San Augustine, Roll 25, Register of Complaints, Register of Contracts
  • Seguin, Roll 26, Register of Complaints
  • Sterling, Roll 26, Register of Complaints
  • Sumpter, Roll 26, Register of Complaints
  • Tyler, Roll 27, Register of Complaints
  • Waco, Roll 27, Register of Complaints
  • Wharton, Roll 28, Records Relating to Complaints, Accounts

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

Before searching this collection, it is helpful to know:

  • Name and or age of the person
  • The location or name of former slave owner

View the Images[edit | edit source]

View images in this collection by visiting the Browse Page.

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

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]

Whenever possible, view the original records to verify the information and to find additional information that might not be reported. These pieces of information can lead you to additional records and family members.

I Found the Person I Was Looking For, What Now?[edit | edit source]

  • Use the age to calculate a birth date and to find other records such as birth, christening, census, land and death records
  • Use the information to find additional family members. Witnesses or bondsmen were usually relatives
  • Repeat this process with additional family members found, to find more generations of the family

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

  • Try viewing the original record to see if there were errors in the transcription of the name, age, residence, etc. Remember that there may be more than one person in the records with the same name
  • Collect entries for every person who has the same surname. This list can help you identify possible relations that can be verified by records
  • If you cannot locate your ancestor in the locality in which you believe they lived, then try searching records of a nearby locality in an area search
  • Former slaves may have had used multiple names or changed their names until they decided upon one particular name. Search all possible names along with variations or spellings of their known names
  • Standard spelling of names typically did not exist during the periods our ancestors lived in. Try variations of your ancestor’s name while searching the index or browsing through images
  • Remember that sometimes individuals went by nicknames or alternated between using first and middle names. Try searching for these names as well

Related Collections to Search

Research Helps[edit | edit source]

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

Related FamilyHistory Library 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.

How Can I Contribute to the FamilySearch Wiki?[edit | edit source]

We welcome user additions to FamilySearch Historical Records wiki articles. We are looking for additional information that will help readers understand the topic and better use the available records. We also need translations for collection titles and images in articles about records written in languages other than English. For specific needs, please visit WikiProject FamilySearch Historical Records/Guidelines for Articles.