The National Museum of African American History and Culture (Courtesy photo)

The Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture on Tuesday launched its Freedmen’s Bureau Search Portal.

The new portal is designed to aid family historians and genealogists search for their ancestors and for scholars and students to research various topics found in 1.7 million pages of Freedmen’s Bureau records. The portal lets users search records from the United States Bureau of Refugees, Freedmen, and Abandoned Lands, commonly known as the Freedmen’s Bureau.

Congress established the Freedmen’s Bureau after the Civil War to help former slaves transition to freedom and citizenship and for the reconstruction of the post-war Southern states. The collection has materials from 1865 to 1872.

There is an ongoing effort to transcribe all of the pages, with 400,000 completed so far and an open call by the museum for volunteers to help.

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  1. This is wonderful and long overdue. We have been trying to research our family tree and found that Eartha Kitt is our cousin. Freemen Bureau will be a great resource.

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