Slavery… What Was the Freedmen’s Bureau?

When the Civil War ended in 1865, the United States government created a department whose main concern was to look after the well-being of former slaves. Whether it was naive or ignorant, it was thought that one year would be enough to attend to the freedman’s needs. It wasn’t. There were tens of thousands of freed slaves who had been kept against their will, unable to learn how to read or write and unable to navigate the treacherous waters of freedom, especially considering the bitter prejudice that existed in the south.

The aim of the Freedman’s Bureau was to provide for the maintenance and education of freed slaves and monitor their conditions of employment and administer justice. It was a corrupt, dysfunctional mess. That’s what happens when those in charge use a government bureau for their own political motives. The power of the Freedmen’s Bureau must have been vast. Besides the above-mentioned duties, the bureau controlled land that had been confiscated during the war. In 1872, the bureau disbanded but not until after it did a lot of damage. In the end, it had the reputation of doing “more harm than good.”

Suellen Ocean is the author of the series, Civil War Era Romances. Available here:

Book One, Black Pansy:

History… Where Did the Term Freelance Come From?

Free lance has its origins in Germany. It was a military concept of being a free land trooper, meaning that a soldier sold his military service to the highest bidder. (There were other reasons for service but money was usually the prime motivator.) During the second half of the Middle Ages, free lance soldiers were prevalent in Europe, especially in Italy and France. Mercenary, a term that brings us images of pirates, is another name for these free lancers. Soldier of fortune is another.

Later, politicians who did not affiliate with any particular party were known as freelancers. Today, the term is most commonly used to refer to the writing profession. A journalist who writes for a variety of news sites and magazines, without formal employment is called a freelancer.

Suellen Ocean is the author of many books on diverse topics. Her books are available here:

Tracing French-Canadian Ancestry… How’s That DNA Test Working for You?

My husband’s mother came from a colorful line of French Immigrants dating back to the 1600’s, when brave people sailed from France to New Canada. Funny thing is, he doesn’t identify with it. And because I’m the one doing the research (and I have a bit of French ancestry) I’m the one who is developing the bond.

The French genealogical community is very colorful and culturally rich. Whether it’s from the descendants who remain in Canada after generations or those who reside in Louisiana’s Acadiana in Lafayette, the determination to keep the culture alive suffers no boredom or apathy. I am impressed by the details kept through the years by the Catholic church. Those details are found on genealogical websites, (, etc.) and include pictures of graves, churches, homes and home sites as well as wedding pictures. In Louisiana, the Cajun community is one of the most active social groups I’ve ever seen. Talking about sticking together, they do. The Cajuns in Louisiana are the descendants of the French who were exiled from Canada by the English in 1765 and years following. The name Nova Scotia is British but it was an Acadian homeland before that. Many of New France’s descendants are also found in Quebec.

Did you get your DNA tested and if so, how’s that working out for you? Did you find that you had the French ancestry that you expected? Was it more or less so? And what else did you find? Any surprises? And did you come across any cousin matches? If so, were they friendly? It seems like an association with the Cajun communities in the United States and Canada would be a genealogical treasure. When my brother-in-law, with his dark, curly hair, picks up the mandolin and plays it like he’s been playing for a thousand years, I become more determined. One of their French ancestors was wild on the violin. A DNA test will convince them of the need to acknowledge and explore further, the culturally rich heritage of their French-Canadian ancestry.

Suellen Ocean is the author of Secret GenealogyA How-to for Tracing Ancient Jewish Ancestry, Secret Genealogy IIUncovering the Jewish Roots of Our Christian Ancestors, Secret Genealogy III From Jewish Anglo-Saxon Tribes to New France Acadians, Secret Genealogy IV – Native Americans Hidden in Our Family Trees, Secret Genealogy V– Black, White and Hamite; Ancestors of Color in Our Family Trees and Secret Genealogy VI – Freemasons, Jewish Conquistadors and the Holy Family. Available here:

Secret Genealogy:

Secret Genealogy II:

Secret Genealogy III:

Secret Genealogy IV:

Secret Genealogy V:

Secret Genealogy VI:

They Might Be Indians But They Are to be Treated as Runaway Slaves…

During the early 1800’s, when Andrew Jackson (the Indians called him Sharp Knife) worked his way into the presidency, he worked on relocating the Seminole Indians from Florida. The end game was the removal of all Seminole Indians from Florida. They were to exchange their land for land in the west. They were offered money, blankets for the men and frocks for the women. Woe to any Seminole who had an African ancestor. They were to be treated as runaway slaves. It did not matter if the taking of a mother or father, tore the family apart. Like the one-drop rule in other states, the white colonial relocators believed that anyone with any black ancestry should be enslaved.

Eventually, after several “Seminole Wars,” there were Seminoles who emigrated west as requested. They took cash and offered peace. But for many years the Florida Seminoles fought successfully. While the men fought the military, the women and children found refuge in the thick Florida jungles. Today, the descendants of the Seminole who resisted, can still be found in Florida, especially in the Florida Everglades.

Suellen Ocean is the author of the series, Civil War Era Romances. Available here:

Book One, Black Pansy:

Book Two, Blue Violet:

Book Three, Black Lilac:

Book Four, Ellie:

Book Five, Rose Thorn:

Book Six, Mississippi Wild Blue:

Book Seven, Dandelion Lane: