This week I was able to travel to Washington, D.C. with Mormon Newsroom to document the completion of the Freedmen’s Bureau project by Family Search. A special event was held at the National Museum of African America History and Culture to recognized the work of 25,000 volunteers in the United States and Canada that uncovered the names of 1.7 million African American slaves.
Through a year long online crowd sourcing project, volunteers indexed the records of the Freedman's Bureau, a government entity that was organized by congressional order in 1865. The Bureau created handwritten records of African American slaves at the end of the civil war. These records included marriage registers, hospital or patient registers, educational efforts, census lists and labor contracts.
While these records have been available previously by the National Archives, the indexing project made the documents text searchable, allowing African American's to use the records to trace there genealogy. Prior to this, few African American's have been able to find family history records before 1870. It was a special experience to interview genealogists who expressed their gratitude for the project and what it has meant for them personally and their families.