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.

Extension Service Motion Pictures Digitized

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. 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.

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.

Are You Looking for a Woman Who Lost Her U.S. Citizenship?

Staff members at the National Archives at Chicago are tagging various records series in Record Group 21, Records of District Courts of the United States, to make them more accessible to a wider audience.

One of these series is the U.S. District Court, Detroit, Repatriation Records, 1918-1970 (National Archives Identifier 1150838). Between 1907 and 1922, women lost their U.S. citizenship if they married a foreign national. Later, many women wished to regain their U.S. citizenship. Depending upon when they applied, the women were required to file either a Petition for Naturalization or take the Oath of Allegiance. This series primarily includes the latter document. The records consist of eight legal-size archives boxes, and each box contains approximately 700 repatriations. To date, NARA staff has created over 23,000 tags for the series.

For more information about women and naturalization laws, see the excellent two-part article by Marian L. Smith, “‘Any Woman Who is Now or May Hereafter Be Married…’ Women and Naturalization, ca. 1802-1940,” Prologue: Quarterly of the National Archives and Records Administration, Vol. 30, Nos. 2-3 (1998). Here are links to Part 1 and Part 2.

The National Coalition for History Requests Your Support for NARA and NHPRC

MESSAGE QUOTED IN FULL FROM THE NATIONAL COALITION FOR HISTORY:

“Ask Your House Member to Sign Letter in Support of Increased Funding for NARA and NHPRC

The National Coalition for History (NCH) has worked with Congressmen John Larson (D-CT), Don Young (R-AK), and Bill Pascrell (D-NJ) to seek support for additional funding in the upcoming fiscal year (FY) 2021 budget for the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) and the National Historical Publications and Records Commission (NHPRC).

They have circulated a “Dear Colleague” letter to their fellow representatives urging them to show their support. The letter will be sent to the chair and ranking member of the House Financial Services Appropriations Subcommittee which has jurisdiction over NARA and the NHPRC’s budgets. Please click on this link to see the letter which has already been sent to House members.

We are requesting the House Appropriations Committee to provide at least $395 million for NARA’s operating expenses in FY21 and at least $7 million for the NHPRC. NARA’s operating expenses budget in constant dollars has remained stagnant for over a decade, even as its responsibilities have increased. When adjusted for inflation, NARA’s budget has decreased by 10% since 2012. NARA today has fewer employees than it did in 1985.

We need you to contact your representative and ask them to sign on to the letter in support of additional funding for NARA and the NHPRC. We have prepared a one-page briefing paper that summarizes the funding challenges facing these two agencies that are so vital to historians, archivists and other stakeholders. Click here to access an on-line version.

The simple truth is Members of Congress are unlikely to sign on to the NARA “Dear Colleague” letter unless they are asked to do so by their constituents! Please help us in this effort by reaching out to your representatives to seek their support.

How to Contact Your Congressperson

To contact your representative, you can use one of these two options. No matter which means of communication you choose, please personalize your message as to your background or interest in history. If you are employed in the field, mention the institution where you work in your congressional district. You can also use the Dear Colleague letteras talking points.

  1. Send a pre-written message directly to your House member. Our colleagues at the National Humanities Alliance have created a concise letter that goes directly to your House member. You can add additional language if you want, however we have made it as easy as possible for you to have an impact. Click here to go to the letter, fill in basic contact information, hit send and your message is on its way. When you enter your zip code the system directs your letter to the Member of Congress from your district automatically.
  2. Make a phone call. All Members of Congress can be reached through the U.S. Capitol switchboard at (202) 224-3121. If you feel comfortable doing so, make a phone call. If you speak to a staff member, be sure to get their name and email address so you can forward them a copy of the National Archives/NHPRC Dear Colleague letter. If you get voice mail leave a message and ask them to support the Larson/Young/Pascrell letter and increased funding for NARA and the NHPRC.

To sign on or for more information, tell them to contact Michael Dunn with Rep. Larson Michael.Dunn@mail.house.gov, Dylan Sodaro with Rep. Pascrell Dylan.Sodaro@mail.house.gov, or Kem Crosley with Rep. Young Kem.Crosley@mail.house.gov. PLEASE DO NOT CONTACT THESE STAFF PEOPLE YOURSELF!”

 

–(End of message from the National Coalition for History.) Thank you.

U.S. Government Horse Sales at Frederick, Maryland, and Reading Pennsylvania, February 1864

There are many unusual or unexpected records in the U.S. National Archives that shed light on the life on someone’s ancestor or relative. Among these is a slim volume in which were recorded the buyers and sale price of surplus military horses sold at auction on 12 February 1864 at Frederick, Maryland, and on 19 and 22 February 1864 at Reading, Pennsylvania. The Office of the Quartermaster General sold the horses because they were no longer fit for military duty, but were still serviceable for less demanding civilian needs.

Read about this volume in “No Horsing Around! Unusual Records in the National Archives” and then go to List of Horses Sold, February 1864 to take a look at the volume yourself.

All the names have been “tagged” so that a researcher could stumble upon this volume when doing a simple name search in the National Archives Catalog — but, beware! Names are not always spelled as expected!