Freedman's Savings and Trust Company Records
Among the most underused bodies of federal records useful for African American genealogical research are the records of the Freedman's Savings and Trust Company. Chartered by Congress in early 1865 for the benefit of ex-slaves, the surviving records relating to the bank and its collapse are a rich source of documentation about the African American family. In an effort to protect the interests of depositors and their heirs in the event of a depositor's death, the branches of what is generally referred to as the Freedman's Bank collected a substantial amount of detailed information about each depositor and his or her family. The data found in the files provide researchers with a rare opportunity to document the black family for the period immediately following the Civil War.
The Freedman's Bank records are a part of Record Group 101, Records of the Comptroller of the Currency. Because of the bank's close association with the Freedmen's Bureau, researchers often confuse these records with those of the bureau, which is a separate body of records, Record Group 105. The microfilm collection of the Freedman's Bank records are available in the National Archives buildings in Washington, D.C., and College Park, Maryland. The unfilmed records are available only at College Park. Send written inquires regarding these records to the Textual Reference Branch, National Archives at College Park, MD 20740-6001. Some of the regional records services facilities may also have copies of the microfilmed records; however, researchers should contact the nearest region for information concerning their availability