Welcome to The Twelve Key

This site lists historical and genealogical publications by Claire Prechtel-Kluskens, a senior reference and projects archivist at the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA), Washington, DC.

Claire served as Registrar (1996-98) and as a Director (1998-2000) on the National Genealogical Society Board of Directors. She attended the National Institute on Genealogical Research in 1994 and has spoken at NIGR, NGS, FGS, and elsewhere.

Why name this site The Twelve Key? In the days of yore, the National Archives issued each archivist a metal key with the number 12 engraved upon it. This key provided access to all the unclassified stacks where records were held. Obviously this key has long since been replaced by other security devices. (And no, I have no idea what keys 1 through 11 were used for).

The articles on this site provide intellectual knowledge that enable the reader to access archival records. Thus it seemed fittingly symbolic to choose “12 key” for its name.

And the green color for this site? It’s a few shades lighter than the olive drab green originally painted on stack doors, shelves, and so forth, that is still seen in many locations throughout the National Archives Building.