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…

Their Labor

Their Labor Revealed

While on my journey of ancestral research and discovery, I have been intrigued by the many occupations in which my ancestors, relatives, and their neighbors  labored in order to earn a living or satisfy their enslavers.  There were those who rotated between several jobs and those changed careers though out the course of their lives. Here are just a few of the occupations in which they worked: Dietitian/Nutritionist, Military Police, Teacher, Principal, Preacher, Homemaker, Seamstress, Food Service Worker, Domestic, Servant, Rice Farmer, Sugar Farmer, Soldier, Mechanic, Technician, Dock Worker, Barber, Carpenter, Laundress, Laborer, and Slave. Here is a sampling of my predecessors and their peers listed along with mention of their primary occupations. More than likely they had legitimate side hustles in order to make ends meets. 1910 Pointe Coupee Parish, Louisiana , United States Federal Census Oscar St. Louis a rice farmer Auguste Nelson a sugar farmer   1930 New…