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Tag: 1866

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Freedmen's Bureau Records ~ Reading the Descriptive Pamphlet Can Lead You to Treasures

Related Records Screen Capture

Perhaps the most significant event in African American genealogy in South Carolina in 2013 came at year's end, when FamilySearch digitized all 106 reels of microfilm of the NARA micropublication Records of the Field Offices for the State of South Carolina, Bureau of Refugees, Freedmen and Abandoned Lands, 1865–1872 (NARA Micropublication M1910).

We dare say that there is scarcely a collection more significant for breaking through the 1870 brick wall than Freedmen's Bureau records. The records in this collection were made at the dawn of freedom, and can help you locate your SC ancestors in the period between 1865 and 1870 (the first year that the US Census recorded African American ancestors by name).

Before you dive into the new collection "South Carolina, Freedmen's Bureau Records, 1865-1872," taking a few minutes to read the descriptive pamphlet (reel guide) would be time well-spent. A close reading of the descriptive pamphlet can point you towards records you might miss by simply reading the titles of the reels in the new collection.

After you have identified and combed the richest records in this new record set, you may feel that you have exhausted the research possibilities. At that point in your research, the descriptive pamphlet could well become your best friend in your quest to leave no stone unturned.

Why? Because there are hidden treasures in this enormous body of records. And you can find them by reading the descriptive pamphlet closely.

Accessing the Descriptive Pamphlet for This Collection

There are two ways to access the descriptive pamphlet online. Within the collection at FamilySearch, the descriptive pamphlet is the first reel listed in the collection. There, you can browse the guide page by page.

If you wish to have the descriptive pamphlet open in another window, download the pamphlet for offline use or search the pamphlet, you can access the pdf version available here on Lowcountry Africana, in our Research Library.

Information in the Descriptive Pamphlet

Let's take a closer look at the descriptive pamphlet to see how it is organized, and what information it contains.

First Thing First: History of Freedmen's Bureau Operations in South Carolina

The first portion of the descriptive pamphlet outlines the history of Freedmen's Bureau operations in South Carolina. Here you can learn about the duties of the bureau and how these duties were divided among the various departments within the bureau.

Knowing which branches of the bureau generated records, and for what purpose, can not only help you identify records of interest within the collection, but can also help you identify related record sets and next steps if you find a record of interest.

Example: Property Dispute

For example, let's say you found a record in the new collection concerning a dispute between an ancestor and a former slaveholder over ownership of an item of personal property, and you would like to know where to look for more information about the settlement of the dispute.

From the descriptive pamphlet we learn that between May and September of 1865, Assistant Commissioners of the Freedmen's Bureau adjudicated cases between African Americans themselves, and between African Americans and whites.

In September 1865, military courts were given responsibility over all cases involving African Americans, and state courts were to handle cases involving whites. After the South Carolina Legislature adopted a measure in October 1866 recognizing freedmen’s rights and making African Americans' testimony admissible in state courts, all cases involving freedmen were turned over to state courts.

This background information can help us infer that if a dispute between an African American ancestor and a former slaveholder was settled before October 1866, records of the settlement may be in Freedmen's Bureau records. If the case was not settled before October of 1866, further records concerning the dispute may appear in records of the South Carolina state courts rather than in Freedmen's Bureau records. Knowing the history of the bureau's operations in South Carolina has in this instance opened a window to next steps and new research possibilities.

Records Description

Now we have some background on the bureau, so what's in this record set exactly? Here's where you find out.

Here we learn that the records consist of volumes and unbound records, and there follows a description of which records are contained in each. We also learn that some of the records for South Carolina created in 1862-1864 are included in this series. An important research tip in this section of the pamphlet is:

Some of the volumes contain more than one type of record, reflecting a common recording practice of clerks and staff officers in that period. On roll 32, for example, the Register of Letters Received, Vol. 1 (95), also contains a register of complaints. Researchers should read carefully the records descriptions and arrangements in the table of contents to make full use of these records.

Related Records

Pay close attention to this section of the pamphlet, for here are your research "next steps."

Related Records Screen Capture

In this section of the reel guide, we learn about related record sets available from the National Archives that supplement the records in this collection.

Table of Contents

Now that you have a solid background on the historical context, ready to dig into the records? This section of the descriptive pamphlet is where you can do just that, to identify which reels you would like to view. The Table of Contents lists in detail what is on each reel of the collection.

Below is an example of a page within the descriptive pamphlet (please click on the image to view larger). At the top of the page is the information for reels 62 and 63, Berkeley District. The pamphlet describes the contents of each reel and how the records are arranged, then follows detailed information about specific record types.

Reel Guide Screen Shot

The order the records are listed in is the order in which they appear on the microfilm.

We recommend reading every word of the descriptive pamphlet, to make the most of these records!

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Finds in FamilySearch Freedmen's Bureau Records ~ Reel 21, Georgetown Medical Officer Rations Requests

A Rich Find for Georgetown Research

As you might imagine, we've spent the last two days poring over the films in the new collection South Carolina Freedmen's Bureau Records, 1865-1872 on FamilySearch. This new collection is the digitized version of Records of the Field Offices for the State of South Carolina, Bureau of Refugees, Freedmen and Abandoned Lands, 1865–1872 (NARA Micropublication M1910).

We've made some pretty rich finds by browsing through the volumes, and the latest find is on Reel 21: a volume of rations requests filed by the Georgetown Medical Officer from November 1865 to March 1866. The 498-frame volume preserves individual rations requests for elderly, infirm and orphaned freed people in Georgetown, SC.

If your research is focused on Georgetown, be sure to read through this 498-frame volume on Reel 21!

Example ~ Rations Request for Children of Sam Mitchell

Below is an example of a rations request that is rich in genealogical information. Here, Acting Assistant Surgeon Henry F. Heriot requests rations for Roselle Mitchell (age 9), Gabriel Mitchell (age 4) and Phyllis Mitchell (infant), children of Sam Mitchell who died while serving in the USCT:1

Rations Request for Children of Sam Mitchell

Above: Rations Request for Children of Sam Mitchell, Georgetown, SC, ca. 1866. Source: South Carolina Freedmen's Bureau Records, 1865-1872, Database Online at FamilySearch.org, https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.3.1/TH-1942-36669-12463-95?cc=2127881&wc=M9HH-DLT:n1176355678, Accessed 29 Dec 2013.

Service Record ~ Samuel Mitchell

Samuel Mitchell was 23 years old when he enlisted in the United States Colored Troops April 24, 1865 in Beaufort, SC. He was assigned to Company G, 104th USCT. June 13, 1865 he was promoted to Corporal. By June 25 he was sick in the Beaufort, SC camp hospital. In early August he was transferred to the David's Island Hospital in New York, where he remained a patient until October 3, when he was discharged for disability.2

References Cited

[1] South Carolina Freedmen's Bureau Records, 1865-1872, Database Online at FamilySearch.org, https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.3.1/TH-1942-36669-12463-95?cc=2127881&wc=M9HH-DLT:n1176355678, Accessed 29 Dec 2013.

[2] Compiled Military Service Records of Volunteer Union Soldiers Who Served the United States Colored Troops: 56th-138th USCT Infantry, 1864-1866, Database Online at Fold3.com. Record for Samuel Mitchell, Co. G, 104th USCT. http://www.fold3.com/image/273/302687358/, Accessed 29 Dec 2013.

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Freedmen's Bureau Transportation Requests, SC, Feb-Dec, 1866

Freedmen's Bureau Lists of Requests for Transportation, Feb - Dec, 1866

Records of the Field Offices for the State of South Carolina,

Bureau of Refugees, Freedmen, and Abandoned Lands, 1865-1872

NARA Record Group 105

M869, Reel 44, Target 2

Indexed by William Durant

Images: Please click on image to view full size

ViewScan_0013 ViewScan_0014 ViewScan_0015 ViewScan_0016 ViewScan_0017 ViewScan_0018

Date:

Feb. 8, 1866

Name:

Hannah lining, mother & 2 children

Occupation:

To:

Hilton Head

Remarks:

Date:

Feb. 8, 1866

Name:

Rose

Occupation:

To:

Georgetown

Remarks:

Date:

Feb. 8, 1866

Name:

Peter

Occupation:

To:

Beaufort

Remarks:

Date:

Feb. 8, 1866

Name:

Mike & brother

Occupation:

Dest. Freed.

To:

Beaufort

Remarks:

Date:

Feb. 8, 1866

Name:

Maria Jane English

Occupation:

Dest. Freed.

To:

Columbia

Remarks:

Date:

Feb. 9, 1866

Name:

Robert Houston

Occupation:

Dest. Freed.

To:

Beaufort

Remarks:

Date:

Feb. 9, 1866

Name:

David Bogg & four others

Occupation:

Dest. Freed.

To:

Georgetown

Remarks:

Date:

Feb. 9, 1866

Name:

Eli Williams & Frank Kidder

Occupation:

Dest. Freed.

To:

Columbia

Remarks:

Date:

Feb. 10, 1866

Name:

Jacob, bina, Keziah, Caroline & Aaron

Occupation:

Dest. Freed.

To:

Sumpter

Remarks:

Date:

Feb. 10, 1866

Name:

Edward & Mary Legree & child

Occupation:

Dest. Freed.

To:

Columbia

Remarks:

Date:

Feb. 10, 1866

Name:

Caroline Rose

Occupation:

Dest. Freed.

To:

Columbia

Remarks:

Date:

Feb. 10, 1866

Name:

Lucy Nesbitt

Occupation:

Dest. Freed.

To:

Orangeburg

Remarks:

Date:

Feb. 10, 1866

Name:

Joseph Hammond

Occupation:

Dest. Freed.

To:

Hilton Head

Remarks:

Date:

Feb. 10, 1866

Name:

Nancy Bush

Occupation:

Dest. Freed.

To:

Hilton Head

Remarks:

Date:

Feb. 10, 1866

Name:

Isaiah Heywood & six others

Occupation:

Dest. Freed.

To:

Hilton Head

Remarks:

Date:

Feb. 10, 1866

Name:

Henry Lawton, Hector Washington, & Paul Heywood

Occupation:

Dest. Freed.

To:

Hilton Head

Remarks:

Date:

Feb. 10, 1866

Name:

Celia

Occupation:

Dest. Freed.

To:

Georgetown

Remarks:

Date:

Feb. 10, 1866

Name:

Chelsea, son & daughter

Occupation:

Dest. Freed.

To:

Georgetown

Remarks:

Date:

Feb. 10, 1866

Name:

Nelson Johnson, father & two others

Occupation:

Dest. Freed.

To:

Monck's Corner

Remarks:

Date:

Feb.10, 1866

Name:

Susan & two small children

Occupation:

Dest. Freed.

To:

Burrough depot

Remarks:

Read more
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Freedmen's Bureau Transportation Requests, SC, Jan 2 to Feb 8, 1866

Freedmen's Bureau Lists of Requests for Transportation, Oct. 1, 1865-Dec. 31, 1866 Records of the Field Offices for the State of South Carolina, Bureau of Refugees, Freedmen, and Abandoned Lands, 1865-1872 NARA Record Group 105 M869, Reel 44, Target 2 Indexed by William Durant Images: Please click on image to view full size
ViewScan_0008 ViewScan_0005 ViewScan_0006 ViewScan_0007 ViewScan_0007

Date:

Jan. 2, 1866

Name:

Tony Davis

Occupation:

Destitute

To:

Kingstree

Remarks:

Date:

Jan. 2, 1866

Name:

Anthony White & 2 babies

Occupation:

Destitute

To:

Sumpterville

Remarks:

Date:

Jan. 2, 1866

Name:

David, wife & 4 children

Occupation:

Destitute

To:

Summerville

Remarks:

Date:

Jan. 2, 1866

Name:

David

Occupation:

Destitute

To:

Orangeburg

Remarks:

Date:

Jan. 2, 1866

Name:

Anderson, Ellen, Mary Jane & 5 children

Occupation:

Destitute

To:

Columbia

Remarks:

Date:

Jan. 2, 1866

Name:

Margaret & 2 children

Occupation:

Destitute

To:

Abbeville

Remarks:

Date:

Jan. 3, 1866

Name:

Charlotte

Occupation:

Dest. Freed.

To:

Sumterville

Remarks:

Date:

Jan. 3, 1866

Name:

Lina Williams & one child

Occupation:

Dest. Freed.

To:

Sumterville

Remarks:

Date:

Jan. 3, 1866

Name:

Henry White

Occupation:

Dest. Freed.

To:

Hilton Head

Remarks:

Date:

Jan. 3, 1866

Name:

James Kent

Occupation:

Dest. Freed.

To:

Savannah

Remarks:

Date:

Jan. 3, 1866

Name:

Toney Murph

Occupation:

Dest. Freed

To:

Newberry

Remarks:

Date:

Jan. 3, 1866

Name:

Isaac Hayne & Isaac Lewis

Occupation:

Dest. Freed.

To:

Jacksonville

Remarks:

Date:

Jan. 3, 1866

Name:

Ned Carr

Occupation:

Dest. Freed.

To:

Savannah

Remarks:

Date:

Jan. 3, 1866

Name:

Henry Jones

Occupation:

Dest. Freed.

To:

Jacksonville

Remarks:

Date:

Jan. 3, 1866

Name:

Martha Palmer

Occupation:

Dest. Freed.

To:

Burroughs Depot

Remarks:

Date:

Jan. 4, 1866

Name:

Lewis Rivers

Occupation:

Teacher

To:

Greenville

Remarks:

Read more
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Index of USCT Bounties Paid, South Carolina, 1866-1868

 

Source: Records of the Field Offices for the State of South Carolina, Bureau of Refugees, Freedmen and Abandoned Lands, 1865–1872 (NARA Micropublication M1910), Reel 23
 
Sample Page, Index of USCT Bounties Paid 1866-1868

Sample Page, Index of USCT Bounties Paid 1866-1868

Names of 166 USCT veterans who were paid bounties from 1866-1868 ~ Please click on link below to view document images:

 
Index of USCT Bounties Paid, SC 1866-1868 (pdf)
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Freedmen's Labor Contract, A.J. Hardee With Tibby Williams, Louise Hunter and Emma Jones, Brooks County, GA, 1866

Freedmen's Labor Contracts

Savannah, Georgia

Labor Contracts, 1865-1868

Records of the Field Offices for the State of Georgia,

Bureau of Refugees, Freedmen, and Abandoned Lands, 1865-1872

NARA Record Group 105

M1903, Roll 82

TITLE OF CONTRACT:

A J Hardee and Tibby Willliams and others

DATE OF CONTRACT:

April 27, 1866

PLACES MENTIONED IN CONTRACT:

Brooks County

Georgia

NAMES OF FREEDPERSONS:

Tibby Williams

Louisa Hunter

Emma Jones

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Freedmen's Labor Contract, A.J. Hardee With Freedmen, Brooks County, GA, 1866

Freedmen's Labor Contracts

Savannah, Georgia

Labor Contracts, 1865-1868

Records of the Field Offices for the State of Georgia,

Bureau of Refugees, Freedmen, and Abandoned Lands, 1865-1872

NARA Record Group 105

M1903, Roll 82

TITLE OF CONTRACT:

A J Hardee and George Jones

DATE OF CONTRACT:

April 27, 1866

PLACES MENTIONED IN CONTRACT:

Brooks County

Georgia

NAMES OF FREEDPERSONS:

George Jones

John Jonlssen

John Jones Jr

Simon Williams

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Freedmen's Labor Contract, T.A. Groover With Freedmen, Brooks County, GA, 1866

Freedmen's Labor Contracts

Savannah, Georgia

Labor Contracts, 1865-1868

Records of the Field Offices for the State of Georgia,

Bureau of Refugees, Freedmen, and Abandoned Lands, 1865-1872

NARA Record Group 105

M1903, Roll 82

TITLE OF CONTRACT:

T A Groover

DATE OF CONTRACT:

April 16, 1866

PLACES MENTIONED IN CONTRACT:

Brooks County

Georgia

NAMES OF FREEDPERSONS:

G W McMurry

Ammon Adams

Ellick McMurry

Minda McMurry

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Freedmen's Labor Contract, Abner Groover With Freedmen, Brooks County, GA, 1866

Freedmen's Labor Contracts

Savannah, Georgia

Labor Contracts, 1865-1868

Records of the Field Offices for the State of Georgia,

Bureau of Refugees, Freedmen, and Abandoned Lands, 1865-1872

NARA Record Group 105

M1903, Roll 82

TITLE OF CONTRACT:

Abner Groover

DATE OF CONTRACT:

March 31, 1866

PLACES MENTIONED IN CONTRACT:

Brooks County

Georgia

NAMES OF FREEDPERSONS:

Charles Linton and family

Thomas McLeod and family

Coleman Lewis and family

Isaiah Lee

Van Buren Linton

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Freedmen's Labor Contract, James Groover With Freedmen, Brooks County, GA, 1866

Freedmen's Labor Contracts

Savannah, Georgia

Labor Contracts, 1865-1868

Records of the Field Offices for the State of Georgia,

Bureau of Refugees, Freedmen, and Abandoned Lands, 1865-1872

NARA Record Group 105

M1903, Roll 82

TITLE OF CONTRACT:

James Groover

DATE OF CONTRACT:

April 7, 1866

PLACES MENTIONED IN CONTRACT:

Brooks County

Georgia

NAMES OF FREEDPERSONS:

John Green

Granville Mills

William Little

B W Smith

Handy Cason

Green Bemy

George Stephens

James Jamson

Pages:123