After a major renovation, the National Archives in Washington, DC, has even more to offer genealogists. We'll take you on an insider's tour of this national treasure's exciting new features.
The National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) could be called the “Nation's Attic.” not only does it house the constitution and the declaration of independence but it also holds millions of federal records with clues to your family's past. Here you'll find us censuses, military pensions and service records, passenger arrival records, homestead records, court of claims files, bounty-land warrants, bureau of Indian Affairs Records, Freedmen's Bureau Records, border-crossing records and much more.
I found my great-great-grandfather William Slaker's Civil War pension record while researching at NARA. This one document told me both the German town where he married my great-great-grandmother Augusta Marie Fischer and the reason for his discharge from the Army. It turns out he was a butcher, a steer fell on him and he was severely injured. So much for a war wound!
You can uncover similar stories about your ancestors by taking a trip to our nation's capital. And lucky for us, researching at NARA has gotten a whole lot easier. Over the past several years, NARA's Archives I building (NARA also has several regional facilities) has undergone extensive renovation. To much media fanfare last September, NARA reopened the Rotunda, the archives' biggest tourist attraction and the home of the newly encased Charters of Freedom. But for family historians, the most exciting development at NARA is the new Research Center, which opened last October.