The National Coalition for History Asks For Your Help

Do your Senators and Representatives take history and the preservation of records and historic sites seriously?

Do they support adequate funding for NARA, NHPRC, NPS, and other federal agencies charged with preserving our national history?

Are they members of the Congressional History Caucus? Please ask them to join. Here’s why and how for reaching out to Members of the House of Representatives and Senate.

Premiering Today, June 1, 2021, at 1 p.m. Eastern: “From Here to There: Researching Office of Indian Affairs Employees”

Premiering today, June 1, 2021, at 1 p.m.! Researching ancestors who worked for federal agencies is a popular topic at the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA). This presentation will tie together the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) Official Personnel Files (OPF) held in St. Louis with agency records located in various NARA field sites.

The session will open with what can be found in the OPFs and how to request them. Cara Moore Lebonick, Reference Archives Specialist from the National Archives at St. Louis, Missouri, will conduct a deep dive into several OPF’s of Native women employed by the BIA.

Cody White, Archivist and Native American Related Records Subject Matter Expert from the National Archives at Denver, Colorado, will then explore how further information can be found in the regional records of the BIA.

Together Cara and Cody will show how the holdings across the National Archives can provide a more complete genealogical story.

Premiering Today, May 19, at 1 p.m. EDT – Tips and Tools for Engaging Family with Your Research Finds

Premiering today, May 19, 2021, at 1 p.m.! As the family historian, you have amassed information and records that will one day pass to the next family historian. How do you share your findings with others? How to engage young family members involved with all your hard research may be another story. Education staff members Missy McNatt and Dorothy Dougherty will demonstrate fun and engaging ways to connect research to your family, including younger family members. This lecture will highlight activities related to our most popular genealogy records, such as Immigrant Ship Arrivals, U.S. Census Records, Naturalization records, and Military and Pension files. The presenters will also demonstrate new ways to share your research finds online, using social media tools.

May 19 deadline fast approaches to provide U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services specific feedback on their services to genealogists….

This is not a hard ask. You can do this online. All the information you need to respond as a genealogist is at Records not Revenue at https://www.recordsnotrevenue.com/take-action. You don’t have to comment on “everything.” Take one specific thing, make your comment, cite the appropriate section of the Code fo Federal Regulations. We, the genealogical community, need to make our collective voice heard. Do YOUR part today. One little comment MATTERS!

More details from Records not Revenue:

USCIS is seeking public comments about their services and programs. THIS IS OUR CHANCE to really make our voice heard about the Genealogy Program, and demand USCIS transfer their historical records to NARA. We believe that amplifying our voice during this comment period may give us a real opportunity to push this forward. THE DEADLINE FOR COMMENTS IS SOON – MAY 19TH! We only have 2 weeks to mobilize the troops and make our voices heard.

An important thing to understand about this campaign – USCIS poses 17 questions. They prefer specific citations for which regulations the submitted comments relate to. You don’t need to answer all (or even any) of the 17 questions, but it’s SUPER important that we note the relevant Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) in our comments, and encourage others to do so. If we don’t, the comments go into a “General” pile and will be less effective. To give you an idea – right now, there are already 5.4K public comments. 5.16K of them are currently available to view online, and only 23 (!!) of those 5.16K have a “CFR” noted in their comment. If we can get hundreds or thousands of people commenting about 8 CFR 103.38 to 40 (the regulations relating to USCIS Genealogy Program), that will really get their attention.

Please please please share this information far and wide – with your genealogical societies (a perfect opportunity for an email blast), colleagues, clients, your family members, etc. Those who have blogs or a social media reach – well, you know what to do!

All the information that’s needed to understand the call for comments and how to respond is at the website – https://www.recordsnotrevenue.com/take-action/. The rest of the site that’s visible has been updated, too.

Premiering Today, May 12, at 1 p.m. EDT – Finding Genealogy Resources and Tools on Archives.gov

Premiering today, May 11, 2021, at 1 p.m., this presentation will provide an overview of what’s available for genealogists on the archives.gov website, and demonstrate how to navigate to its many resources and tools, including the National Archives Catalog, the Access to Archival Databases (AAD) system, the Microfilm Catalog, topic pages, articles, reports, and blogs. We’ll explore the Genealogy portal page, and also see how the website is organized, which will enable you to do even more expansive searches for information.

This session is presented by Sarah Swanson of NARA’s website staff. Have specific questions? Get them answered in the live chat that accompanies the premiere.

Premiering today, May 4, at 1 p.m. EDT – Preserving and Digitizing Personal Photo Albums and Scrapbooks

Preserving photo albums and scrapbooks can be especially challenging, often because they are bound and contain a variety of problematic materials. This session, premiering on YouTube, on May 4, 2021, at 1 p.m., addresses how to work with the poor quality materials commonly found in personal scrapbooks and albums, how to maintain the integrity of the arrangement, and how to store photo albums and scrapbooks appropriately. Pro tips for home users include ways to digitize albums, organize electronic files, and preserve them as electronic records. Examples come from both National Archives and personal collections. Presented by Sara Holmes, Conservator in Preservation Programs from the National Archives at St. Louis, Missouri; and Noah Durham, Supervisory Preservation Specialist from the National Archives at St. Louis, Missouri.

Federal Records that Help Identify Former Slaves and Slave Owners

I gave a presentation with this title during the 2018 NARA Virtual Genealogy Fair which is online. I’ve now added the “June 2019” version of the handout for that presentation to my “Research Guides” page on this website. This handout highlights of federal agencies or major records series that are useful; it is certainly not exhaustive.

In addition, it is good to remember that most documentation of enslavement will be found in property, estate, tax, and other records created primarily at the county level, not in federal records.

Resubscribe to NARA Blogs!

If you’re a regular NARA blog subscriber, you may have noticed that your expected new post notifications haven’t been arriving in your inbox lately. The problem seems to be part of some larger technical issues experienced during the recent migration from the commercial WordPress.com hosting solution to NARA’s own Amazon Web Services (AWS) cloud space. While the blogs still use WordPress-created software, NARA lost access to a number of premium features due to the move, and it appears that the subscriber lists were affected. NARA is working on resolving these issues as quickly as possible, but if you want to ensure that you don’t miss another post, your best bet is to resubscribe to your favorite blogs manually.

NARA implemented a simple double opt-in system that will ask you to confirm your subscription request via an email link. While this is an extra step for readers, it will help cut down on the vast quantity of spam the blogs receive and lets NARA be sure that its subscriber lists represent real people who care about the work being done at NARA.

To sign up for notifications, visit each blog homepage and enter your email in the Subscribe to Email Updates box in the right hand side bar, and click the Submit button.

Once you submit your address, you’ll get a message alerting you to check your email for a confirmation link.

Please check your email and follow the link to confirm your subscription.


You’ll then receive a final email thanking you for your confirmation.

If you have any questions or run into problems during the process, please email socialmedia@nara.gov, and we’ll make sure you’re successfully signed up. 

NARA 2021 Genealogy Series

National Archives Hosts Genealogy Series in May & June 
Participate in our genealogy series – free and online!
 

WHAT:  WASHINGTON, April 19, 2021–In lieu of the autumn 2020 Virtual Genealogy Fair that could not be held due to the COVID-19 pandemic, we are pleased to offer a new Genealogy Series! Instead of a single-day event, the program sessions will be broadcast individually during May and June. You are invited to watch and participate in real time with the presenters and family historians from around the world on YouTube

Over the two months, the sessions will offer family history research tools on federal records for all skill levels. The May sessions are broad and will appeal to the beginner and beyond. The June sessions are focused on specific topics and may be better suited for the experienced researcher. All are welcome! Session descriptions, videos, handouts, and participation instructions are available at the Genealogy Series web page.  

WHEN: May & June—all sessions begin at 1 p.m. ET

May 4 Preserving and Digitizing Personal Photo Albums and Scrapbooks

May 12 Finding Genealogy Resources and Tools on Archives.gov

May 19 Tips and Tools for Engaging Family with Your Research Finds

June 1  From Here to There: Researching Office of Indian Affairs Employees

June 8  Civil War Union Noncombatant Personnel: Teamsters, Laundresses, Nurses, Sutlers, and More

June 15  Merchant Marine Records at the National Archives at St. Louis 


WHO: Staff experts in government records from National Archives facilities nationwide.

WHERE: Anywhere! The series will be broadcast on the U.S. National Archives YouTube channel
 

HOW: Visit the Genealogy Series web page to watch the broadcasts on YouTube. Participants can watch individual sessions, download materials, ask questions, and interact with presenters and other family historians. No need to register—just click the links on the schedule to view the sessions!  Videos and handouts will remain available after the event.  

Captioning:  Live captioning will be available online with StreamText. If you require an alternative or additional accommodation for the event, please email KYR@nara.gov.

Background: The National Archives holds the permanently valuable records of the federal government. These include records of interest to genealogists, such as pension files, ship passenger lists, census, and Freedmen’s Bureau materials. See “Resources for Genealogists” online.

Follow the National Archives on Twitter @USNatArchives and join the Genealogy Series conversation using #GenieSeries2021.

Register Now for the Virtual NGS 2021 Family History Conference!

You won’t want to miss this year’s National Genealogical Society Virtual 2021 Family History Conference. Register now!

“NGS 2021 Live!” is Wednesday and Thursday, 19-20 May 2021, and features nationally-recognized speakers, including Elizabeth Shown Mills, Thomas W. Jones, Barbara Vines Little, Judy Russell, Eric Grundset, Craig Scott, Janice Lovelace, and more!

In addition, beginning 15 June 2021 you will be able to access “NGS 2021 On-Demand” that features an additional 85+ sessions that can be streamed at your convenience to learn from even more subject matter experts.