Browse Projects

The United States Bureau of Refugees, Freedmen, and Abandoned Lands, commonly known as the Freedmen's Bureau, was created by Congress in 1865 to assist in the political and social reconstruction of post-war Southern states and to help formerly enslaved people make the transition from slavery to freedom and citizenship. In the process, the Bureau created millions of records that contain the names of hundreds of thousands of formerly enslaved individuals and Southern white refugees. In an effort to enhance the accessibility of these important materials, the Smithsonian's National Museum of African American History and Culture, the National Archives and Records Administration (where the original records of the Freedmen's Bureau are held), FamilySearch International, and the Smithsonian's Transcription Center, have teamed up to transcribe more than 1.5 million pages from the Freedmen's Bureau records (the largest crowdsourcing project ever undertaken by the Smithsonian). Completed transcriptions will allow genealogists, historians, and researchers around the world more easily search for and locate information recorded on Freedmen's Bureau pages related to African American history and the post-Civil War era. Join in by transcribing and reviewing ongoing projects below, and click here to learn more about the Freedmen's Bureau and this important collaborative project.

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