Minutes from the February 18th DC-area Researchers Meeting are now available

The minutes from the Researcher Users’ Group meeting on February 18th (PDF) are now available on the Archives.gov page for the Researcher Users Group at the National Archives in the Washington, DC Area.

Topics covered in the meeting included:
– NARA’s Transformation Plan
– The 1940 Census
– An update on the Archives I renovation plans
– An update on the purchase of new microfilm reader-scanners for Archives I
– A discussion of the potential move of military records to St. Louis
– A discussion of the Library at Archives I

Please join us for our next meeting at 1 PM on Friday, May 20th, 2011 at Archives II in College Park, Maryland, lecture rooms B/C.  Please let us know here on NARAtions if you have any suggestions for the agenda and we’ll pass your ideas along to the Customer Services Staff.

And don’t forget to mark your calendars for the annual NARA Genealogy Fair on April 20-21. This year’s theme is Become Your Family’s Detective.

68 thoughts on “Minutes from the February 18th DC-area Researchers Meeting are now available

  1. I am opposed to moving these military records to St. Louis. They should remain in DC.

  2. Reply to Susan Cummings’s post of 21 April.
    Susan, you said: “There are no plans to move the pension files at this time. As mentioned before it is only one of many options that will be considered as we address space needs in the future.”

    What bothers many of us, Susan, is the “at this time” part of your message, and the fact that moving the pensions is still “one of many options that will be considered as we address space needs in the future.”

    Many of us who have expressed concern here are hoping to hear that moving the pensions is NOT among the options being considered “at this time” or in the future. We will continue to monitor the situation in the hope that someone in authority at NARA can give us that guarantee.

    Thank you for the communication, and here’s hoping that sometime very soon you can give us the reassurance we are waiting for.

  3. Moving the Military Pension records away from Washington is not wise, from a researchers (aka;Taxpayer) perspective.

    Having the NARA records in close proximity to the Library of Congress and D.A.R. Library is not only convenient, it is smart A researcher coming to DC has the opportunity to research the military records of Archives I & II, the DAR Library, the Library of Congress, BLM’s General Land Office Records. And the resources at Service historical activities such as those of the Navy at the Washington Navy Yard, the Marine Corps at Quantico.

    I understand how decisions are often made strictly on budgetary reasoning, but PLEASE think about why the records are kept and Archived…to be accessed and researched when needed. Moving the records to another geographic location away from Washington D.C. could/would make research trips to DC, less effective and more expensive for researchers. As stated by others posting to this list, moving other records, less frequently accessed, might make space available with less impact than moving the Military Pension records. Please consider the comments of people communicating with NARA when making the decision and do not make make the decision strictly on a logistical/storage issue.

  4. I would like to see the military and pension records remain in DC. I have the opportunity to visit DC at least once a year and someimes more. These visits regularly include NARA research that I would otherwise not be able to do. My visits are well planned to make the most of my time there. In addition, there are many people in the DC area experienced in researching these records. My hope is that this will not be an option now or in the future.

  5. Please do not move the military records from DC. A critical mass of information, expertise, and access is in place – as others have said. And, yes, I have personal and professional research reasons to benefit from them staying at Archives I. But it would be a huge loss if touring visitors to Washington, DC, could no longer stop by and interact with original records in an historic setting – for perhaps the first and only time in their lives. That makes it a unique and universal repository.

  6. Please leave the military records at NARA. If more space is needed, then move the more recent ones to St. Louis.

  7. Even the name “NATIONAL Archives” suggests that our national military records belong in the nation’s capitol. Fragmenting the archives between several centers is extremely short-sighted! All serious genealogical researchers know that the two centers of genealogical research are Washington, D.C. (National Archives, Library Congress, DAR Library, etc.) and Salt Lake City, and most make long-planned (and costly) trips to make the most of their research time. They can coordinate their research of military records with maps of military campaigns in the Geography and Map Reading Room at the Library of Congress, land records such as Military Bounty Warrants at NARA, photographs and other media at NARA, unit histories and newspaper archives at the Library of Congress, military history volumes at DAR, etc. Washington, D.C., is easily accessible to the dense population along the east coast and is home of innumerable genealogists; St. Louis is accessible to FAR fewer people (see the population density map at http://www.census.gov/dmd/www/pdf/512popdn.pdf). The D.C. area is also home to many, many dedicated genealogical researchers–go to any meeting of the Fairfax Co. Genealogical Society or the Mt. Vernon Genealogical Society and you will see packed auditoriums for all presentations. While a small minority of genealogists belong to the Association of Professional Genealogists (APG), a search for professional genealogists in “Directory Search by Location” at the APG website yielded two (2!) professional genealogists in St. Louis County (plus 1 in Madison Co., IL, and 1 in St. Clair Co., IL); a search for Washington, D.C. yielded 9 (plus 3 more in Arlington Co., VA; 12 in Fairfax Co., VA; 7 in Montgomery Co., MD; etc.). Military records are one of the most-used research tools in a genealogist’s repertoire, and the statistics are clear that the Washington, D.C. area should be their home. And, of course, as several people have mentioned above, tourists stop in and are able to do casual research into their ancestors’ military records. Keep these documents in D.C.!

  8. Each time I am able to visit the National Archives in Washington, DC, I am entranced by the sheer volume of records. The Military records section is the pinnacle of US military records research. There is not one time I visit when I do not learn something new about this country and military records in general. The staff is excellent and the records are equally magnificent. The Federal records of the United States belong in our Nation’s capitol and I am one to voice the continuity of this ideal.

  9. Please DO move the 18th/19th century pension and military records to St. Louis. This would be centrally located so that more people would have reasonable access without having to travel maybe 3000 miles or more to examine the records. It would also enhance access with regard to parking, local transportation, and lodging. One wouldn’t have to scramble to find a reasonably priced hotel in some outlying area and then take a train in, or some such nonsense. The DC area is far too crowded with no parking. Certainly people who are used to using these records in DC wouldn’t like the change, but WHAT ABOUT THE PEOPLE LIVING IN THE MIDWEST? WHAT ABOUT THE PEOPLE LIVING ON THE WEST COAST? These records belong to us too, not just to the East Coast elite.

  10. Please leave the military records where they are now. When things get moved around usually something that is important gets lost. It is very important that these records are preserved. Leave them where they are!!!!!!

  11. I strongly agree that pre-world war one military service and pension records should remain in Washington where they have been since the 19th century. Washington is our nation’s capital and it is fitting that these records remain in the national capital area.

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