Web Sightings: National Archives Video Programs

Since at least 2004, the United States National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) has held free public programs on a wide variety of topics about their holdings at the Washington, D.C. and College Park, Maryland facilities. Some of these recorded programs of particular interest to genealogists began making their way online in 2012 as part of the “Know Your Records” series. Twenty such videos are now available for viewing on the National Archives YouTube channel.

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Three short introductory videos concerning military records are online, featuring Archives Specialist and resident military expert, John P. Deeben. I have embedded the videos below for convenience:

Military Research at the National Archives: Volunteer Service

This video tells us about military service records compiled for Volunteer soldiers who served in wartime from the Revolutionary War to the Philippine Insurrection, with specific examples of the CMSR for a Revolutionary War soldier.


Military Research at the National Archives: Regular Service

Registers of Enlistments for professional soldiers in the United States Army (1798-1914) available on M233 give information relative to the registration of soldiers and their discharge or separation from service.

Deeben also discusses the equivalent records for the United States Navy, called “Rendezvous Reports”. These reports (indexed as T1098 and T1099) cover the time frame between the Mexican War to about 1891. The records themselves are part of M1953.


Military Research at the National Archives: Pension Records

In this final video, Deeben introduces military pension files for service members (or their widows) stored at Archives 1, covering the period between 1775-1916. He shows examples of the records and information gleaned from them of interest to military historians and genealogists. He also reminds us that pension files for service in the Confederate military forces during the American Civil War are not held at the National Archives and must be sought at the state level.

In early February 2015, an announcement was made that future programs would be live-streamed. Check the monthly calendar and plan your viewing schedule accordingly by clicking in to this link: http://www.archives.gov/dc-metro/events/.

Virtual Genealogy Fair 2013

The United States National Archives will be hosting a Virtual Genealogy Fair September 3rd and 4th, 2013. Thirteen presentations will be made over the two-day period. There are no registration fees; all you need is a computer and an Internet connection.

Scheduled presentations will cover a wide range of Federal records available through the National Archives: Civil War pension files, United States Colored Troops, immigration, naturalization and citizenship, Federal penitentiary records, Native American records, Chinese Exclusion Act, Freedman’s Bank records, etc. Details can be found at this link: http://www.archives.gov/dc-metro/know-your-records/genealogy-fair/

Webcast instructions are here: http://www.archives.gov/dc-metro/know-your-records/genealogy-fair/webcast-instructions.html

For those who cannot attend “live”, the sessions will be recorded!

Follow or contribute to the conversation on Twitter using the hashtag #genfair2013.

I imagine this virtual offering is being made due to the prior cancellation of the on-premise 2013 National Archives Ninth Annual Genealogy Fair. For those unable to travel to Washington, D.C., a virtual genealogy fair is preferable. Perhaps if they do decide to resume the Annual Genealogy Fair they will also simulcast online via webinar.

NARA Records Digitized by Partners

A fantastic link was shared yesterday by instructor Claire Bettag in her “NARA at Your Fingertips” talk to our group at the National Institute on Genealogical Research (NIGR), currently underway at the National Archives in Washington, DC.

The link she shared was to National Archives records digitized and made available in whole or in part on the websites of its digitization partners, Ancestry.com and Fold3.com. If researching from home, you will likely need a subscription to pull up the record, but the index should be available at no charge.

NARA Records Digitized by Digitization Partners

This long list of digitized publications can easily be sorted by clicking on any of the column headings. Or, search the page for a specific keyword using CTRL+ F on your keyboard. Once you’ve found a publication of interest, click on the title to be taken to the search page at the partner website. In this example, I’ve searched for M313, the War of 1812 Pension Application Files Index, and clicked that link to be taken to the search page on Ancestry.com.

War of 1812 Pension Application Files at Ancestry