Danica Smithwick, THE JACKSON SUN
(The Jackson Sun) — To commemorate the 150th anniversary of “Juneteenth,” African-American Freedom Day, the Freedmen’s Bureau will launch a campaign urging volunteers to join in their efforts to index millions of family records into an online database for the first time.
A kickoff event will be broadcast from California at noon Friday at the Family History Center, located at 923 Pipkin Road in Jackson.
“As a genealogist, my goal is to help families be able to join together,” said Bennie Denton, adviser at the Family History Center. “It’s amazing what you’ll find — locomotive engineers, photographers, doctors, pharmacists, farmers.”
Two and half years after President Abraham Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation, the last American slaves were freed on June 19, 1865. During that time, families were torn apart when forced into slavery, and when freed. There are about 4 million records waiting to be indexed so African Americans will be able to see their bloodlines for the first time.
The project is a collaborative effort between FamilySearch International, the National Archives and Records Administration, the Smithsonian Museum of African American History and Culture, the Afro-American Historical and Genealogical Society and the California African American Museum.