Free to be married


This is a marriage certificate issued to Peter Thompson and Maria Hall, both former slaves, in West Feliciana Parish, Louisiana, on January 28, 1867. While many slave couples formed lasting bonds during their enslavement, slave marriages had no legal foundation or protection. The abolishment of slavery not only meant citizenship but the ability to have legally recognized marriages without fear of the loss of a spouse through sale. The Bureau helped facilitate and record marriages.

National Archives, Records of the Bureau of Refugees, Freedmen, and Abandoned Lands



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