Sealing The Sacred Bonds Of Holy Matrimony
Freedmen’s Bureau Marriage Records- National Archives

Scattered among the aging volumes and paper files of the Freedmen’s Bureau at the National Archives in Washington, D.C., are an impressive number of marriage licenses, certificates, registers, and reports documenting the federal government’s efforts to aid in the legalization of marriages of former slave couples.

While there are other valued federal, state, private, and published sources that help document ex-slave marriages, the Freedmen’s Bureau’s marriage records are arguably some of the most important records available for the study of black family marital relations before and after the Civil War. For the increasing number of African American genealogists and family historians, this unique body of marriage records may hold the only formal proof of a slave ancestor’s marriage.

Many cases of polygamy surfaced after the war when freedmen located their spouses. Slaves frequently remarried after their spouses had been sold. Many polygamous relationships arose from attempts of freedmen to care for the two or more wives and families whom they had been reunited after the war

If I had But One Wish

~If I had but one wish

my wish would be of you~

~To kiss your sweet in pouting lips

would be my wish come true~

~To walk with you in holding hands

as lovers often do~

~Barefoot in the Ocean’s sand

would be my wish come true~

~To know the tender of your touch

lying next to you~

~To hear you say three words of love

would be my wish come true~

~To ask in that be of your hand

hear you say I do~

~To know in that I am your man

would be my wish come true~

~In fifty years to celebrate

in that of kissing you~

~Locked in that of full embrace

would be my wish come true~

~My every wish upon of star

is only that of you~

~Marry me in fill my heart

make my wish come true~

Duke Sherman