For those of us with our one-place study in the United States, October has been a really busy month. In honor of Family History Month, many of the subscription websites have provided free access at various times, several local and regional societies and associations have put on special programs with guest speakers, and online groups (including several Google+ Communities) have hosted webinars, hangouts, and recorded presentations. October will close out with the National Archives hosting a three-day virtual genealogy fair that you can attend from the comfort of your own home.
We each create, receive, send, file, stash and throw away lots of documents and other materials over the course of a lifetime. And governments are just like individuals. Documents and materials are created on a daily basis by the United States Federal government, however only about three percent are considered important for legal and/or historical reasons. The National Archives (NARA) is affectionately known as the Nation’s record keeper and these VIP documents are kept forever in the Nation’s attic. Actually NARA has quite a few attics. The most impressive, the National Archives Building, is located a few short blocks from the White House in Washington, D.C. Additional Archives and Records Centers are located in Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, College Park, Dayton, Denver, Fort Worth, Kansas City, New York City, Philadelphia, Riverside, San Francisco, Seattle, and St. Louis. Many of these permanent records are of special interest to genealogists and family historians, including census schedules, pension files, the Freedmen’s Bureau materials, ship passenger lists, military personnel service and medical records, land records (public lands transferred to private ownership), veterans records, and presidential library collections, as well as agency and intergovernmental records.
Whether you have a one-place study in the United States or would simply like to learn a bit more about our record keeping, why not check out NARA’s Research Our Records at their website. And be sure to tune in for the Virtual Genealogy Fair October 28, 29 and 30. The schedule and handouts can be found at Genealogy Fair where you will find 17 great topics presented by NARA’s record keepers (our friends the Archivists). The sessions will be presented live and recorded on the NARA’s Tube channel!
Let’s close out Family History Month will a good new-fashioned fair!