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The fair is coming to town

Just about all of us — The Legal Genealogist included — remember the excitement when, as children, we heard that the fair was coming to town.

We may be a bit older now, a bit longer in the tooth, but that same excitement still creeps into our genealogical hearts when we hear, today, that the fair is coming to town.

The Virtual Fair, that is.

From the United States National Archives.

NARA virtual fair

This year marks the seventh annual NARA Virtual Genealogy Fair, and it’s going to take place right on our computer screens exactly one month from today. Every bit of the fair takes place on the NARA You Tube channel which, by the way, is where we can all catch sessions from the last NARA Virtual Fairs and a whole lot more to boot.

October 23, 2019, will begin with welcoming remarks from the Archivist of the United States David S. Ferriero at 10 a.m. Eastern time, 9 a.m. Central, 8 a.m. Mountain and 7 a.m. Pacific. That welcome will be followed by six sessions (all times given in the Eastern time zone):

10:05 a.m.: Exploring History Hub for Genealogists and Researchers, presented by Rebecca L. Collier, Darren Cole and Kelly Osborn.

Hit a snag in your research? Bring your question to History Hub, the National Archives’ pioneering online platform for crowdsourced historical and genealogical research, where Archives staff and expert community members alike are waiting to lend their expertise. Learn about the capabilities of History Hub including how to search from the pool of existing questions, how to post your own question, how to sign up and join the community, see what our partner agencies are doing, and more.

11 a.m.: Preserving Personal Collections, presented by Sara Holmes.

Personal collections are valued for their importance to understanding family history. Do you know how to best preserve your treasured papers and heirlooms so they can by passed on? This sessions will provide tips and information on the care and storage of paper, books, photographs, as well as film, audio, and video. Providing the best environment and storage will allow family heirlooms to be available for generations, while understanding proper handling and copying can expand their availability and enjoyment with distant kin.

12 p.m.: Immigrant Records: More Than Just Ship Passenger Arrival Lists, presented by Elizabeth Burnes.

The breadth of immigration records available online and in archives can seem overwhelming. This session will identify what original records you can find at the National Archives and what you can discover online. Records discussed will range from passport applications, naturalization documents, passenger arrival lists, and more! Attendees will discover how immigration laws have changed over time and how the records that exist have been impacted by those laws; understand the different types of records available through the National Archives; and learn how to get started with research.

1 p.m.: Using National Archives Records to Research World War I Naval and Marine Corps Records for Genealogical Research, presented by Nathaniel Patch.

In this session, archivist Nathaniel Patch offers a guide to discovering the story of your World War I Sailor and Marine using the Records of the National Archives. Although for the experienced to advanced researcher, beginners will learn where to access easily understood records (such as deck logs, war diaries, and unit records), and how to build on that information to find more material in complicated record series.

2 p.m.: Discovering and Researching Bureau of Indian Affairs School Records, presented by Cody White.

Federally run schools for American Indian children first emerged in the mid 19th century and became a potent tool of cultural assimilation for decades, before slowly evolving alongside the general changes and improvements in Native American relations. This presentation will discuss the records of Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) boarding and day schools, looking at both individual student case files as well as general administrative records, what was and was not saved, what can be found within them, and what privacy restrictions exist. Located at National Archives facilities across the country and often hidden within other BIA series, these records not only chronicle a student’s academic career but often health, family, and life after school. General school records paint a portrait of school life and can further flesh out an individuals history at a particular school at a particular time.

3 p.m.: The Homestead Act: Land Records of Your Ancestors, presented by James Muhn.

James Muhn explains the basic provisions of the Homestead Act and demonstrates how to research and interpret homestead documents found in Record Group 49, Records of the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) for family history research. Learn about how relevant records such as tract books, public land entry case files, patents and other associated documents can be found and the information they can tell you.

The Fair will wrap up at 4 p.m. with closing remarks from Ann Cummings, NARA Executive for Research Services.

You can find out more on the National Archives Virtual Genealogy Fair page, and the NARA YouTube channel.

So mark your calendar.

One month from today.

The NARA Virtual Genealogy Fair is coming to town.

Cite/link to this post: Judy G. Russell, “One month from today,” The Legal Genealogist ( : posted 23 Sep 2019).

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