“Tracing Family History Gets Easier for Descendants of American Slaves,” the Voice of America reports:
This is one of many benefits from the Freedman’s Renaissance that began circa 1998, and continues today.
“The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, known as Mormons, meticulously transcribed and then indexed thousands of Freedman’s Bank microfilm records onto a single compact disc,” VOA reports. “More than 500 inmates at Utah State Prison did much of the painstaking work on their own time, not as assigned prison labor.”
Here’s an example of one record on the disc:
“Amanda Harris, brought up – Atlanta, Georgia. No age given. Complexion – yellow. Occupation – ‘at home.’ Husband – Thomas. Children – Rosa, Bell, Robert, Carol (dead), three died young. Was carried to Atlanta as a child. Taken from her mother by the traders. Was too small to know any of her relatives.”
Indeed, it was the Freedman’s Bureau, in the years after the Civil War, that helped many former slaves, previously barred from formalizing their union, to gain marriage certificates like the one above.