Finding Nemo, Finding Amelia, Finding Your Family

In Finding Nemo, Marlin has many adventures in the big, wide ocean during his journey to rescue his son, Nemo, who was captured by a diver. The journey to his destination is neither straightforward or simple.

July 2017 marks the 80th anniversary of the disappearance of Amelia Earhart and Fred Noonan during their attempt to fly around the world. The public’s fascination with the mystery of their disappearance continues to spur researchers to explore the vast ocean of archival records for new clues, as well as to revisit records previously viewed by themselves or others for fresh perspectives.

Millions of people, including, hopefully, readers of this blog, search archival records for evidence of their ancestors’ lives. It’s a big ocean of records that’s getting easier to swim through. FamilySearch previously announced plans to digitize all its microfilm. Numerous commercial genealogy sites vie for your business. Publicly-funded libraries and archives continually add to their online records collections also. It pays to go back and revisit online collections for “new” information.

Have you tried the National Archives Catalog recently? There’s both a “basic” search and an “advanced search” function. Try them both. What will you find? There are now some 66 million entries in the National Archives Catalog, according to my best understanding of it. Those entries can be descriptions of governmental entities, record series, files from within those record entries, individual items, and digital images of actual records. There are also many bibliographic entries, such as persons, places, and subjects.

The journey to learning your ancestors’ life stories is often neither straightforward or simple. Like Marlin, you can’t stop in the middle of the ocean. Keep swimming, and keep searching in new places. Revisit what you’ve already found for new understandings.

 

The Story of the Video of the Famous Flag Raising

Everyone knows the famous photo, shown here. But have you seen the video, or know the story behind it?

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When the National Archives investigated the true identity of the flag raisers in Bill Genaust’s footage of the first and second Flag Raisings on Iwo Jima and the iconic photograph by Joe Rosenthal, staffers discovered that the agency never received the original film shot on February 23, 1945. Supervisory Motion Picture Preservation Specialist Chriss Kovac provides information about Bill Genaust and how the film was shot, developed, assembled, and used during the World War II and throughout history in this YouTube Video, “The Winding Journey of Bill Genaust’s Flag Raising Footage”

“Disloyalty,” Naturalization, and World War I , USCIS webinar today, June 29, 2017, 1 p.m.

From the USCIS History Office:

I&N History Webinar: “Disloyalty,” Naturalization, and World War I

The First World War inspired patriotism in both native-born and immigrant Americans. At the same time, some immigrant groups fell under suspicion of being disloyal to the U.S. war effort. So, in the years surrounding the war, the Bureau of Naturalization investigated the loyalty of naturalizing immigrants to ensure that only fully qualified immigrants became citizens.

As part of the USCIS History Office’s ongoing commemoration of the 100th anniversary of World War I, this webinar examines the Bureau of Naturalization’s loyalty investigations during the war and the Bureau’s efforts to revoke citizenship from naturalized citizens it deemed disloyal. In the webinar, you will learn about the Bureau’s wartime activities through primary-source examples of loyalty investigation files and cancelled certificate of naturalization files.

To join the webinar, find the June 29 webinar “Disloyalty,” Naturalization, and World War I and click “Attend Session” just before it starts at 1 p.m. Eastern on Thursday, June 29.

Please note: This webinar will not be recorded, so be sure to join it live.

Spanish-American War Nurses

It’s become a little bit easier to research Spanish-American War nurses. The National Archives Catalog now identifies 761 women for whom there are correspondence files, primarily for those who wanted to obtain government benefits based on their service. These files are in the series, “Correspondence Relating to the Service of Spanish-American War Contract Nurses, 1898-1939,” which is in Record Group 112, Records of the Office of the Surgeon General (Army). The files themselves are not online, but copies can be requested from archives1reference@nara.gov.

To search for a specific person in the Catalog, you have two options. One option is to click on the catalog link that says “761 file unit(s) described in the catalog.” The files are in alphabetical order.

Here are the first four files:Screen Shot 2017-06-20 at 6.48.44 PM.png

The second option is to click on the button that says “Search within this series” THEN replace the *.* in the search bar with the surname of interest. Then click on the magnifying glass icon to perform the search. (Yes, that is not an intuitive process.)

Additional records about Spanish-American War nurses in RG 112 include “Personal Data Cards of Spanish-American War Contract Nurses, 1898-1939” (NARA staff has a list of nurses included in that series) and “Registers of Service of Spanish-American War Contract Nurses, 1898-1900.”

The Process: Moving RG 365 and 366 Records from Archives II to Archives I

Civil War-era researchers interested in Confederate and other treasury records will find it convenient to have these records back at Archives I, downtown.

The Text Message

Today’s post was written by Amanda Landis and Ken Roussey, Archives Technicians in Textual Accessioning at the National Archives at College Park.

In the fall of 2016, the Textual Accessioning Branch at National Archives, College Park transferred the Treasury Department Collection of Confederate Records (RG 365) and the Civil War Special Agencies of the Treasury Department (RG 366) to National Archives, Washington DC, reuniting them with related Civil War records in our collection.

The records, totaling 1800 assets, consisted of various ledgers, minute books, correspondence, inventories of seized property, and cancelled checks. While some of the records were contained in archival Hollinger boxes, the majority were leather-bound volumes from the mid-to-late 1800s.

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Mrs. Kaney and the Philadelphia Immigration Business, 1882-1909, USCIS Webinar, May 23, 2017, 1 p.m. (EDT)

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Mrs. Kaney and the Philadelphia Immigration Business, 1882-1909

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Tuesday, May 23, 1 p.m. Eastern

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, is unique among American ports of entry because records survive to document nearly every activity of immigration authorities during the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Also, Philadelphia is different from Ellis Island at New York because the Philadelphia immigration station was not entirely self-contained. Philadelphia immigration officials depended on local steamship lines, railroad companies and a variety of government contractors to handle everyday business. Due to its complex relationship with the surrounding community, a study of Philadelphia’s immigration business can help us understand immigrant processing of the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

Using detailed records surviving at the National Archives in Philadelphia and in Washington, D.C., Marian Smith will discuss immigrant processing operations in Philadelphia between approximately 1882 and 1909. She will also introduce us to the persons and personalities involved, such as Mrs. Alice Kaney.

To attend, follow this link: April – September 2017 Live Webinars Schedule and bookmark it!

The Record isn’t Always Where You Expect to Find it.

April 14, 2017, marked the 105th anniversary of the sinking of the Titanic. Its passenger list went down with the ship.

However, some of its passengers were rescued by the Carpathia, and naturally, one would expect to find those persons listed on a passenger list. For many years, the Carpathia (Titanic) list was thought to be lost. In the 1990s, however, the list was discovered.

This list was erroneously filed by the Immigration and Naturalization Service with June 18, 1912, arrivals, and can be found in NARA microfilm publication T715, Passenger and Crew Lists of Vessels Arriving at New York, New York, 1897-1957, Roll 1883, Vol. 4183, which is online on various genealogy websites. A direct link to the individual Carpathia-Titanic passenger list pages is online at the National Archives website.

Marian L. Smith wrote an article on this rediscovery: “The RMS Titanic Passenger Manifest: Record of Survivors – and Revival of a Record,” Voyage (Journal of the Titanic International Society, Inc.), Volume 29 (1999), pp. 4-9.

The record you seek may not exist … but sometimes it’s hiding in plain sight. It pays to be creative and persistent.