The California Genealogical Society has a number of great online programs scheduled for the next several weeks. Check them out here. There’s even one called “Using the National Archives Websites (Plural)” tomorrow, Tuesday, June 15, 2021, at 9 p.m. Eastern (6 p.m. Pacific) that will be presented by a NARA staff member.
Premiering today, June 8, 2021, at 1 p.m.! The National Archives Building in Washington, DC contains many records about noncombatant civilians connected with the Union Army during the American Civil War. However, the records are underutilized because there is no comprehensive index, no “one” place to look, and require time-consuming research into obscure records. Digitization is slowly changing that, however! This lecture by Claire Kluskens will provide suggestions for research with emphasis on online materials that can help you get started.
This is the 5th of six presentations in the 2021 NARA Genealogy Series.
It’s not considered one of the “traditional” genealogy record groups, but Record Group 33, Records of the Extension Service, is a treasure trove of information about farm life across the United States from about 1910 to 1950 or so. Even if one’s own ancestors are not mentioned in the records, they provide excellent county-level context on rural life. I lectured on these records on the 2011 NARA genealogy fair and have written about them a couple times, as well. My research guide, “Agricultural Extension Service Annual Reports, 1909-1968, and Related Records“ will help you get started.
NARA is working on digitizing the the Service’s microfilmed annual reports (ca. 1908-1944) so they are not yet available online. I am delighted to report, however, that nearly 350 motion picture films from RG 33 have been digitized and are available for viewing or download from the National Archives Catalog. (Some may be restricted by copyright or other intellectual property right restrictions.) Happy viewing!
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, 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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