Saturday, April 27, 2013

Speaker Profile-Sharon Batiste Gillins

Thursday, 9:30 a.m., T214, "Freedmen’s Bureau Labor Contracts: Window on the Life of a Freedman"

Ever wonder what your freedmen ancestors were doing between the end of slavery and the 1870 census? There’s an often under-utilized record group that can provide details about freedmen that you would never imagine. Labor contracts from Freedmen’s Bureau field office records contain a wide range of documents that offer a revealing look into freedmen’s lives during this critical transition period from free labor to contract labor. Although many researchers believe that the 1870 U.S. population census marks the first opportunity to find freedmen ancestors by given name as well as by surname, Freedmen’s Bureau labor contracts contain volumes of freedmens’ full names, along with their “mark” as they sign their first contracts with planters as early as 1865.

 The labor contracts may even reveal their working hours, responsibilities and salaries. Often, families are grouped together and identified by age and gender. Registers of colored people, essentially a census of the freedmen in an area, reveal freedmen’s wages and employers, and often, their plantation affiliations and past owners.That’s just a sample of the kind of information waiting to be discovered in Freedmen’s Bureau labor contracts.

Learn where to get access to this important record group and how to analyze them for information in this session.

No comments:

Post a Comment