23 June 2022
Digitised on Ancestry, the Freedmen's Bureau was set up by Abraham Lincoln to help support formerly enslaved people. Within the archive are thousands of letters, penned by members of families torn apart by slavery, as they sought to get back in touch with their loved ones. This documentary - Dream Delivered - from Ancestry and presented by Nicka Sewell Smith tells just once such family's story.
The Freemen's Bureau was established to help to meet the practical needs of formerly enslaved people (with documentation covering schools, hospitals, apprentices and transport). What is remarkable about letters within the collection are that they were penned by formerly enslaved people, who created an entirely new use for the services of the bureau - to use it as a massive hub for correspondence, effectively publicising missing person information, to help families reunite, and misplaced people be restored to their loved ones.
To read more about the Freedman's Bureau click here.
To explore the records of the Freedman's Bureau collection click here. You will need to register for an Ancestry account, but you do not need a paid subscription to search the records.