Gladys Knight Shares How the Freedmen’s Bureau Helped Her Discover Her Own Heritage


On June 19, 2015, FamilySearch released four million names of former slaves from the Freedmen’s Bureau, with the hope of potentially reuniting African American families that were once torn apart by slavery.

Gladys Knight, a famous performer and member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, explains that finding ancestors can be difficult for African Americans since many of their ancestors carry slave names. “We can’t tell our full story until we know who we are and where we come from,” Knight explains in a video posted to Facebook.

But, with the release of these names and by utilizing the resources FamilySearch provides, these individuals can now go back and find their families.

I believe the Freedmen’s Bureau has done something so extraordinarily amazing with getting these records together and making them available to those of us who didn’t get the information that we were looking for.

Knight explains how uplifting it is to find out who you are as you come to understand things about your life and your ancestors’ lives.

Watch the video above, to hear Knight describe how the Freedmen’s Bureau has helped her discover her own heritage.

Kylie is a writer at and graduate of BYU with a degree in Broadcast Journalism. She grew up in a Chicago suburb where she gained a passion for the Chicago Cubs. She enjoys writing and live event video production.