Make History with the Freedmen’s Bureau Project

Freedman's featured

Researching your African American ancestors can be a real challenge, but it’s about to get easier. Our library is proud to support the Freedmen’s Bureau Project, a nationwide effort to publish records for millions of African Americans online. Families will be able to build their family trees and connect with their Civil War-era—for free!

“This project will change the very fabric of African American genealogy,” said genealogy librarian Sherri Camp. “It helps African Americans research a time period from primary sources and first hand conversations about life and times immediately after slavery.”

Freedman's school

Freedmen’s School

The Freedmen’s Bureau was organized near the end of the Civil War to assist newly freed slaves in 15 states and the District of Columbia. The bureau opened schools, managed hospitals, rationed food and clothing, and performed marriages. Along the way they gathered handwritten, personal information about the people they served, including marriage and family information, military service, banking, school, hospital and property records. Now, the Freedman’s Bureau Project aims to put that information online where anyone can access it. The project is a joint effort of FamilySearch International, the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA), the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture, and the Afro­-American Historical and Genealogical Society (AAHGS).

You can help make history! Volunteers are needed to index records, to make them available online to family researchers. No specific time commitment is required, and anyone can participate. You just log on, pull up as many scanned documents as you like, and enter the names and dates into the fields provided. We can show you how. Join us from 3 to 5 p.m. Friday and Saturday, March 4 and 5, in the library’s computer lab, for training and Q & A.

To find out how you can help, contact Sherri Camp, your library’s genealogy librarian and President of AAHGS. You can reach her by phone at (785) 580-4689 or via email at Or, visit for more information on the project.

Miranda Ericsson

Miranda loves to talk lit! Her favorite reads are poetry, literary fiction, and speculative science fiction, and she's passionate about promoting great literature written by Kansas authors. She works with library programs that support and engage writers in our community, so ask her for more information about the Local Writers Workshop and Great Writers Right Here author fair. Miranda also facilitates TALK book discussions and co-leads the Bean There, Read That book discussion group, and serves as a member of the library's 2Book Topeka team.