Friday, August 11, 2006

The U.S. National Archives Northeast Region: Waltham, MA

This conference is filled with lectures about the national archives of several countries – and representatives who will tell you about these wonderful places for research. Some of these will also have a presence in the Exhibit Hall. The blog just received the following from the U.S. National Archives and Records Administration Regional Archives location in Waltham, Massachusetts. Once you hear these lectures and read about the resources at Waltham, you will definitely be planning a research visit.
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Thursday, 10:30am - Naturalization Records at the National Archives in New England

Thursday, 2:00pm - Records of Deceased & Deserted Seaman

Friday, 9:00am - The Boston Passenger Arrival Records, 1820-1891: The Federal Records

Saturday, 10:30am - Boston Custom House Records: Quarantine & Immigration,1884-1912

Presenter biography
These four lectures will be presented by Walter V. Hickey. Mr. Hickey has been with NARA since 1990, serving at both the Waltham and Pittsfield Regional Archives in the Boston area. Previous to joining the National Archives, he was the Special Collections Librarian at the Pollard Memorial Library in Lowell, Massachusetts, having previously taught Social Studies for a number of years. Mr. Hickey has written articles for many genealogical society newsletters and is a frequent speaker to societies throughout New England.

Region Biography (http://www.archives.gov/northeast/)
The National Archives, Northeast Region consists of three regional facilities in Waltham, MA, Pittsfield, MA and New York, NY. The Waltham facility is located just outside downtown Boston, NARA's Northeast Region has its headquarters in Waltham. This facility is among New England's renowned learning centers for local, regional and national historical research, serving Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, and Vermont. This facility also serves as a Records Center where retired Federal records are stored temporarily and made available for agency retrieval as needed. Our Records Management program staff provides assistance to Federal agencies throughout New England. The Pittsfield facility is located amid the beautiful Berkshire Mountains area of Massachusetts, NARA's Northeast Region, Pittsfield office is a research center for genealogical, local, and national historical records. The New York facility is located in Greenwich Village, NARA's Northeast Region, New York City office is an integral part of the tri-state area's internationally renowned network of research and cultural institutions, such as universities, libraries, archives, and museums. Our holdings consist of Federal records from New Jersey, New York, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands. Our Records Management program staff also provides assistance to Federal agencies throughout these locations.

Historical Resources
The National Archives, Northeast Region in Waltham holds vast quantities of records over and above the microfilmed resources commonly used for genealogical research. Many of these records contain information pertinent to local history. It is highly probable that there are many records pertaining to your community, making these records worthy of further research. Examples include, New Deal/World War II agencies dealing with life on the home front, Bankruptcy case papers, including Depression-era files, Tax assessment lists for the post Civil-War period, Documentation of Federal land condemnation.

Genealogy Resources available in NARA's Northeast Region in Waltham
The most widely used microfilm and original records for family history research at our facility are Census Records, Naturalization Records, Passenger Arrival Lists, Canadian Border Entry Records, Customs Records, Post-Civil War Tax Records, Draft, Military Service, and Pension and Bounty Land Application Files, Chinese Exclusion Act Case Files, Freedmen's Bureau and Records to African American Families, Dawes Commission Final Cards of the Five Civilized Tribes.

Census Records
Microfilm copies of the existing Federal population census schedules, taken every ten years, for all states and territories 1790-1930 (nearly all of the 1890 schedules were destroyed by fire in 1921).

Non-population census schedules for Massachusetts 1850-1880 and Vermont 1850-1870
Special census of Union veterans and widows of veterans 1890

Naturalization Records
Records of immigrants living in New England who applied for American citizenship through the courts.

Federal court records (U.S District Courts and U.S. Circuit Courts)
Connecticut, 1842-1991
Maine, 1790-1991
Massachusetts, 1790-1991
New Hampshire, 1873-1977
Rhode Island, 1842-1991
Vermont, 1801-1982

Select state, county, and municipal court records for Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, and Vermont, 1790-1906.

Non-Federal Connecticut courts, 1790-1974. Included are records of Connecticut Superior Courts, Courts of Common Pleas, District Courts, and some municipal courts. Complete or partial indexes are available for some of the Courts. There is also a Soundex index to naturalization petitions and records for all Federal and non-Federal courts in the New England states covering the years 1790-1906 (Connecticut 1790-1939).

Passenger Arrival Lists
Microfilm copies of the lists for the ports of:
Baltimore (1820-1891) New Orleans (1820-1902)
Boston (1820-1943) New York (1820-1926)
Galveston, TX (1896-1951) Philadelphia (1800-1926)
Gloucester, MA (1906-1942) Portland, ME (1820-1868; 1893-1943)
New Bedford, MA (1826-1852; 1902-1942) Providence, RI (1820-1867; 1911-1943)
Canadian Border Crossings (1895-ca. 1954)

At least partial indexes exist for most of the above lists. We also refer researchers to Boston passenger lists held by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.

Customs Records
American seamen from New England are documented in U.S. Customs Service records. Researchers will need to know what ports individual seamen may have shipped out of in order to effectively use these records. To locate crew lists it is usually necessary to know the vessel name and port.

These are available for various New England ports, 1789 ca. 1950. Please inquire about using these records before visiting, since the records listed above do not exist for every New England port in all time periods.

Information contained in the Customs House Records may include: place of birth, town of residence, physical description, names of relatives. Specific types of records include, Crew Lists, Shipping Articles (which document payments), Records of Seamen's Protection (issued for identification), Case files of Deceased and Deserted Seamen, Marine Hospital Returns of Seamen (not medical records, documents money withheld for dues)

Draft, Military Service, and Pension and Bounty Land Application Files
Microfilm copies of the applications for pension and bounty land warrants issued to veterans of the Revolutionary War and military service records of those who served in the war. These records cover all states and include name indexes. Microfilm copies of War of 1812 Military Bounty Land Warrants; an index to compiled service records of volunteer soldiers who served in the War of 1812; the pension index for veterans of the War of 1812, the "Old Wars", Mexican War, and Indian Wars, as well as a general index to pension applications, submitted between 1861 and 1934, for military service performed up to 1916. These records cover all states. Microfilm copies of abstracts of service records of naval officers for the period 1798-1893 and indexes to compiled service records of volunteer Union soldiers who served in organizations from each New England state. Military Records at Waltham include, Revolutionary War, War of 1812, selected Civil War papers and indexes available on mircofilm, Naval Records, and Pension Indexes

Chinese Exclusion Act Case Files
Chinese Exclusion Act Case Files for Boston (1911-1955) and Montreal (1900-1952) are a valuable resource for the study of Chinese immigration and Chinese-American travel, trade, and social and family history from the late-19th to mid-20th century. A typical Chinese Exclusion Act case file contains information such as the subject's name; place and date of birth; physical appearance; occupation; names and relationships of other family members; and family history. Materials in the files may include, applications, certificates of identity and residency, various correspondence, INS findings, recommendations, and decisions, maps of immigrant family residences and villages in China, original marriage certificates, individual and family photographs, transcripts of INS interrogations and special boards of inquiry, witness statements and affidavits. The records are indexed by the individual's name. Privacy Act restrictions may apply to some cases.


The blog thanks Priscilla Foley and Diane LeBlanc for supplying the preceding details. Read on for more information on these two examples of great NARA staff.

Priscilla Foley Biography
Priscilla Foley started with the National Archives in 2002 working first for the Northeast Region in Waltham and then John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum in Boston. Ms. Foley recently returned to the Northeast Region in Waltham to serve as Regional Archives Director.

Diane LeBlanc
Ms. LeBlanc began her career at the National Archives as a Northeastern University Co-op student and since then she has served as Assistant Director, and Director of the Federal Records Center. Diane LeBlanc currently serves as the Regional Administrator for National Archives and Records Administration, Northeast Region consisting of Boston, Pittsfield, and New York facilities.

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