Many records of interest to the genealogist are records originated by the federal government. Some of the records in this group include; census, veteran and pension, immigration, nationalization and land grants. These federal records are found in the United States National Archives which is the federal agency responsible for maintaining all records of the federal government. Although you are not able to search for a specific person on the National Archives’ website, you can learn of the different types of records available to the citizens of the U.S.
Some of these records have been digitized and are available on sites as; Ancestry.com, Fold3.com, and Familysearch.org. Ancestry and Fold4 do charge for full access to their collections, but FamilySearch is a free database.
By checking the list of collections of records on the National Archives website, you may find you are interested in obtaining copies of records of some type or another. An example would be obtaining a copy of an ancestor’s civil war pension record. This site will give you instructions on how to request the records as well as the information needed.
Several years ago, I spent several weeks in Washington, D.C. on a work assignment. As the week-ends were my own time, I spent most Saturdays at the National Archives doing research. Some of the soldiers would go into great detail of their service when filing for a pension. Some of the information I found would include battles fought, wounds received and one reference to eating green corn on a march and the unit coming down with severe diarrhea. Others would reference family members and neighbors. Others records give descriptive details as hair and eye color, height and weight.
Even if you are not interested in the family search aspects of the National Archives; but enjoy history, you may be interested in photos from WWII that are online for viewing.
— Wanda S.
If you have questions, please feel free to contact Wanda S., our Library Genealogist at email@example.com and she will be glad to help you.