Records, Resources, and Repositories

Those “Squeaky Wheel” Ancestors

Image of Freedman in line at Field Office

“There’s no sense in complaining!”, “Your complaining to the wrong people”, or “Your complaints will fall on deaf ears!”. These are phrases I have sometimes  thought, heard,  or uttered throughout my life. Well at least a few of my ancestors felt that even in the deep south, during reconstruction, that justice would prevail and they sought justice would by lodging their complaints with the “system”.  In my ancestor’s case, the “system” was the Bureau of Refugees, Freedmen and Abandoned Lands.  Popularly known as the Freedmen’s Bureau, the agency was established in 1865 by Congress to help former black slaves and poor whites in the South in the aftermath of the U.S. Civil War (1861-65). Some 4 million slaves gained their freedom as a result of the Union victory in the war, which left many communities in ruins and destroyed the South’s plantation-based economy. The Freedmen’s Bureau provided food, housing and…