A Gem You’ve Never Heard Of

OK, before I tell you what the gem is, I need to give you a little background.

Did you know that the National Archives includes a library within its walls? Yes, indeed: It’s the “Archives Library Information Center” which has the acronym of ALIC.  It’s at the National Archives at College Park, Maryland (“Archives 2”), and is open to researchers as well as staff.  ALIC’s collections focus on archival science and books and periodicals relating to the records in NARA’s custody.

Neither you or I have time to read all the historical periodicals currently being published for great articles about persons, places, things, or events pertinent to the lives of our ancestors.  ALIC’s librarian does a little bit of that work for you, however, by compiling a Quarterly Compilation of Periodical Literature that focuses on identifying articles that cite records in NARA’s custody.  That means footnotes that might lead you to more information!

The Quarterly Compilation of Periodical Literature: 2022 (https://www.archives.gov/research/alic/periodicals/nara-citations/2022) includes – for just the first three quarters of this year – 454 articles on a broad range of topics, such as:

  • The dimensions of a Continental Army haversack like one your ancestor may have lugged around during the Revolutionary War.
  • The forgotten black coal miners of southern Wyoming.
  • Addiction to opium by Civil War veterans.
  • Marine Corps justice during the Civil War.
  • Federal compensation for property lost during the War of 1812.
  • Sicilian immigration to Braxos County, Texas, 1871-1921.

Each entry in the Quarterly Compilation includes the author; article title; journal with volume, page numbers, and date of publication; and the NARA Record Groups (RGs) or presidential libraries cited by the author. One example would be:  “Becker, Ann.  “The Revolutionary War Pension Act of 1818.”  Historical Journal of Massachusetts 47, no. 2 (Summer 2019): 98-137.  RG015/RG046/RG233.”

The Quarterly Compilation dates all the way back to 2010.  In addition to these annual lists, however, the ALIC librarian has also compiled the articles into lists by Presidential Library or Record Group cluster, such as Genealogical, Old Army, Old Navy, Maritime, and many others.  These lists can help you hone in on specific topics of interest.

Now what?  You’ve searched the lists and made note of some great-sounding articles.  What then?  The reference librarian and/or Inter-Library Loan (ILL) Librarian at your own public library should be able to help you locate online or obtain off-line copies of the articles.  Still having trouble?  Reach out to the ALIC librarian; there’s an email address on the main ALIC webpage.

ALIC-QComp

David S. Ferriero, 10th Archivist of the United States, Retired on April 30, 2022

David S. Ferriero, 10th Archivist of the United States, retired on April 30, 2022, after 12 years at the helm of the National Archives and Records Administration. A final interview conducted by staff member Victoria Malachi is available on YouTube. Debra Steidel Wall will serve as Acting Archivist until the next Archivist is nominated by the President and confirmed by the U.S. Senate.

ICYMI: 50 Million Images Added to NARA’s Catalog Since August 2020

With all the excitement and preparation for the 1950 census over the past several months, you may have missed it: Millions of images of textual records keep being added to NARA’s online Catalog.

According to NARA’s “Record Group Explorer” webpage, as of March 2022 there are 161,492,780 scans online representing 1.393% of the approximate estimated total of 11.5 billion textual pages in the custody of the National Archives and Records Administration.

One month earlier, in February 2022, that number was 159,188,420 images: so in just one month, 2,304,360 images were added!

Back in August 2020, there were 111,114,108 images in the Catalog, so in 18 months, 50,378,672 images were added.

Fifty million, that’s a pretty big number. Considering that this growth happened during a pandemic that limited staff access to the buildings – and to the records – that’s pretty impressive.

U.S. Census Bureau Webinar to Provide Overview Ahead of 1950 Census Records Release, March 14, 2022, 1 p.m.

The U.S. Census Bureau hosted a webinar on Monday, March 14, 2022, at 1 p.m., Eastern Daylight Time, to give the media and data users an overview of 1950 Census records set to be released from the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) on April 1.

The webinar highlighted statistics from the 1950 Census, the historical context to how the 1950 Census was conducted, and provided information from the NARA on how to access these records when they become available to the public and what resources are available now. The presenters are:

  • Sharon Tosi Lacey, U.S. Census Bureau, chief historian
  • Marc Perry, U.S. Census Bureau, Population Division, senior demographer
  • Claire Kluskens, National Archives and Records Administration, genealogy/census subject-matter expert and digital projects archivist
  • Jewel Jordan, U.S. Census Bureau, Public Information Office, public affairs specialist (moderator)

Webinar video, slides, and other information

Resources: 1950 Census Records Release Press Kit

This post was updated 30 March 2022.

Recent Discussions on U.S. Civil War Records

Civil War Talk Radio with Gerald Prokopowicz recently had two informative episodes that featured guests with connections to the National Archives.

On 23 February 2022, archives specialist Jackie Budell discussed Civil War widows’ pension files, photographic materials in pension files, research at the National Archives, and related subjects.

On 2 February 2022, retired senior military archivist DeAnne Blanton discussed the origins of the Society for Women and the Civil War, of which she served as first president, and her book, They Fought Like Demons: Women Soldiers in the Civil War, on the 20th anniversary of its publication.

These and all other Civil War Talk Radio shows remain available for listening at Impediments of War.

National Archives Catalog Email Newsletters

The staff of the National Archives Catalog has a bimonthly newsletter to which anyone can subscribe; a pop-up invitation appears just about every time you visit the basic Catalog search page at https://catalog.archives.gov.

Recent past issues of the newsletter are archived here: https://us11.campaign-archive.com/home/?u=bfeaf03e7b0b1636c0b375892&id=921cecd7dd.

Upcoming California Genealogical Society Programs

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, 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.

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.