All posts tagged: bureau agents

Finding My Family in the Freedmen’s Bureau Archives

Finding My Family in the Freedmen’s Bureau Archives

[ad_1] In all my years doing research at the National Archives, I had never cried. That day in fall 2012, I had simply planned to examine documentary material that might help determine how the yet-to-be-built National Museum of African American History and Culture would explore and present the complicated history of American slavery and freedom. As I read through the papers of the Bureau of Refugees, Freedmen, and Abandoned Lands—the Freedmen’s Bureau, as it’s usually called—I decided to see if I could find records from Wake County, North Carolina, where I knew some of my own enslaved ancestors had lived. I had few expectations because I knew so little about my family’s history. From a surviving wedding certificate for my paternal great-grandparents, I’d gotten the name of my earliest-known family member, an enslaved woman named Candis Bunch, my great-great-grandmother. But scrolling through rolls of microfilmed documents from the Raleigh office of the Freedmen’s Bureau, I realized the chances were remote that I would find my ancestor. Explore the December 2023 Issue Check out more from …