Virginia Freedmen’s Bureau Marriage Records Now Online
I actually heard about this several weeks ago, but I had trouble accessing them before. Now I can get to the site and get to the records…the National Archives recently announced that marriage records from the Virginia Field Office of the Freedmen’s Bureau have been digitized and are now available free at FamilySearch.org.
The Freedmen’s Bureau was established in 1865 and, among other things, provided assistance for ex-slaves to formalize relationships into legally-recognized marriages. You can get more details about the Bureau at http://www.archives.gov/publications/prologue/2005/spring/freedman-marriage-recs.html. The direct link for searching the records is http://pilot.familysearch.org/recordsearch/start.html#c=1414908;p=collectionDetails;t=searchable.
Note that these digitzed records cover 1815-1866. You can search by first or last name or date range. I did a search for Smith in the last name and got 94 results. Results are shown in a table with the name of the person matching your search, the event (marriage, of course) with date and place, and the name of the spouse. You’ll need to have Flash to see the results, and noticed a couple of times it took a few extra seconds to load.
Click on a name match and you’ll get details for the record, including film and image number. You also get the option to view the original image of the record itself. This record will take a few extra seconds to load, but once you have loaded it you can save it or print it. Note that you can zoom in to read it (you’ll pretty much have to) but zooming is done with a slider, not with the “pick a point on the image and doubleclick” method.