The Newsroom Blog

Mormonism in the News: Getting It Right | July 2, 2015

This “Getting It Right” includes coverage surrounding the Freedmen's Bureau Project which digitizes 1.5 million images containing African American Civil War-era records and names.

USA Today, Washington Post, Huffington Post: The Freedmen's Bureau Project Connects African Americans With Civil War–Era Ancestors

On June 19, 2015, we reported on the launch of the Freedmen's Bureau Project — a national effort led by FamilySearch to connect African Americans with their Civil War–era ancestors through the release of 1.5 million digitized images that contain some 4 million names from the Freedmen’s Bureau.

Several news outlets have provided excellent coverage of this project, and three pieces are of note.

USA Today wrote that the Freedmen’s Bureau Project is "a tremendous step in helping the nation learn more about its past and a unique opportunity for millions to reconnect with ancestors and find living family members."

In a HuffPost Live panel discussion, host Nancy Redd said the project "hopes to help African Americans find their ancestors." Panelist William Pretzer, the senior history curator at the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture, added that the Freedmen’s Bureau project will not only provide basic genealogical data for millions of individuals, but it is also a “major breakthrough” that will provide greater detail about the lives of these former slaves, including information about family, spouses, employment and individual aspirations. “This is the first time in which all of those formerly enslaved individuals got to say, ‘This is what I want. This is the life I want to build,’” Pretzer said. “That’s a really key moment of seeing a newly freed people define for themselves the lives they want to try to have.”

And The Washington Post quotes FamilySearch spokesperson Paul Nauta, who said this project is important to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints because "we believe that family relationships do not end at death. We truly believe that we will see our grandparents again, and we have to create connections and pass them on to future generations."

Read more about the Freedmen's Bureau Project at

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