Names from the Civil War have been indexed, so now African-Americans can find and connect with their families through FamilySearch.
FamilySearch, the largest genealogy organization in the world sponsored by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, has announced that the Freedmen’s Bureau project has been completed, according to Mormon Newsroom.
The Freedmen’s Project indexed millions of African-American names collected directly following the emancipation, according to Mormon Newsroom.
Thom Reed, marketing manager of FamilySearch said they will focus their efforts on teaching African-Americans how to search the new digital records to discover and reunite with their families, now that all the names are indexed, according to Mormon Newsroom.
“When it comes to family history, I have always felt left out because I am always most certain that my ancestors names are not going to be there,” said Deborah Wene, a senior from the Central African Republic, majoring in marriage and family studies.
Wene said it has been hard because she has not been able to take a family name to the temple in a long time. She said this new historical finding means that there is hope.
“I am of true African descent, not an African-American but still, I have hope that it’s only getting better,” Wene said. “I think this will benefit me by allowing me to search more and find connections.”
Wene said her goal is to look up her ancestors and find the link all the way back to Adam and Eve like some people are able to do.
“I’m excited for it,” Wene said. “I’m grateful for this project and for the fact that it was created to help us find our ancestors and do work for them. Big or small, this is a change on the right path and I know it’ll only gets better.”
This indexing effort will allow African-Americans to digitally search for their ancestors who were previously lost to history, according to Mormon Newsroom.
“Family history has been really difficult for us Africans because FamilySearch or genealogy websites hardly had enough information about Africans or African-Americans,” said Enos Ampaw, a Ghanaian freshman studying computer information technology. “On a whole, FamilySearch websites were not even a common thing among us so we did not really understand it.”
Ampaw said doing family history in Africa was usually done by word of mouth but having this opportunity now will give them access to information about their relatives they had no idea about.
“It also allows us to know more about our forefathers in ways we did not get to know them because they were rooted from our continent,” Ampaw said.
The Freedmen’s Bureau project was completed almost a year after it was announced in a nationwide news conference at the California African-American Museum on the 150th anniversary of Juneteenth, the celebration of Emancipation Day, according to Mormon Newsroom.
About 19,000 volunteers participated in the project across the U.S. and Canada to extract nearly 1.8 million names of former slaves and immigrants from Civil War-era records over the past year, according to Mormon Newsroom.