Navigating Our Nation's Federal Records
The National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) in Washington, DC is home to a genealogical goldmine of federal records kept since our nation’s founding. From military pension records to federal land grants to immigration and naturalization records and beyond, this five-session online seminar will introduce you to the many records available, discuss how to access them from home or in-person, and demonstrate how to leverage these resources in your family history research.
This course includes five 90-minute classes, exclusive access to handouts and recordings of each presentation, and in-depth Q&A sessions with the instructors.
Class 1: Overview of the NARA System
Presented by Ann G. Lawthers
The website of the National Archives and Records Administration (Archives.gov) is your at-home portal to a myriad of records. This first class will demonstrate how to navigate the online catalog, access or request records from home, and, because not everything is online, discuss tips for planning a research trip. We will also discuss the difference between the National Archives in Washington, DC and the regional branches found across the country.
Class 2: Military and Pension Files
Presented by David Allen Lambert
The military records at the National Archives detail service given between 1775 and 1916. Military expert David Allen Lambert will discuss how to locate, access, and utilize compiled service records, pension applications, and other resources that detail your veteran ancestor’s service. He will also discuss briefly more recent records available through the National Personnel Records Center (NPRC) in St. Louis (WWI–present).
Class 3: Federal Land Records: Bounty Land, Land Entry Files, and Homesteading
Presented by Melanie McComb
Throughout its history, the United States has offered several land incentives to encourage settlement and migration westward. In this class, Genealogist Melanie McComb will first discuss federal bounty land warrants for military service between 1775 and 1855 and then delve more deeply into homesteading records including land entry case files, patents, and tract books.
Class 4: Immigration and Naturalization Records
Presented by Rhonda R. McClure
Passenger arrival records, border crossings, passport applications, and records of special inquiry are just some of the types of immigration and naturalization records available at the National Archives. Senior Genealogist Rhonda R. McClure will provide an overview of these important resources, how to access them, and how to make the most of them in your family history research.
Class 5: Even More Records!
Presented by Ann G. Lawthers
Beyond military, land, and immigration, the National Archives holds several records of value to genealogists. This final class will review some of those collections including maps (census enumeration districts, surveys, etc.), federal employee records, congressional notes, diplomatic papers, ships logs, and more.