Acting in cooperation with the National Archives and the Smithsonian Institution, Family Search International, is releasing an estimated 1.5 million images that contain the names of more than 4 million African-American slaves eventually freed at the end of the Civil War.
The materials were originally collected by the Freedman’s Bureau, organized to help former slaves in 15 states and the District of Columbia after the end of the war.
“African Americans who tried to research their family history before 1870 hit a brick wall because before 1870 their ancestors who were slaves and showed up as tics or hash marks on paper,” said Paul Nauta, spokesman for FamilySearch. “They didn’t have a name. The slave master would just have tick marks.”
The release italicizes the impressive support given to the cause of family and community development by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, of which FamilySearch is a subsidiary.
More details from a recent report in The Washington Post.