Banking on Ancestors
8/1/2001
A new CD-ROM lets family historians cash in on Freedman's Savings and Trust Co. records.
The Freedman's Savings and Trust Co. had a relatively short life as a banking institution, serving former slaves only from 1865 to 1871. But the bank has operated as a source of genealogical clues ever since — and a new CD-ROM is sure to attract more customers.

Records from the Freedman's Bank were previously available to family historians on microfilm from the National Archives and Family History Library. Now the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints' Freedman's Bank Records compiles data from the bank's registers into a searchable database on disk. You can easily hunt for family connections among 480,000 names of depositors and their family members.

The disk runs on Progeny Family Explorer (included with the database), an easy-to-use viewer that lets you search by name, place, date or event. Family Explorer starts with a list of names you can search or scroll through; searches for dates and places produce a "Match List" of names — for instance, a search for Montgomery, Ala., turns up 44 people. Click on a name to view details about that person.