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November 22, 1963, at NARA

It was a day seared into the memory cells of every person alive.

A day in which so many of us — The Legal Genealogist included — saw our childhoods come to an end.

It was 56 years ago today when a President of the United States was shot down on the streets of an American city.

And so much of what happened that day has been documented in a records collection that’s available for our review at the National Archives.

NARA JFK collection

There’s a special collection at NARA called The President John F. Kennedy Assassination Records Collection. It was compiled in one place after Congress passed a law in 1992 requiring that all assassination-related material be housed together in a single collection there within 25 years — or by 2017.1

NARA responded in December 1992 by establishing the collection which, today, includes more than five million pages of records and more than 300,000 individual records and is housed at Archives II in College Park, Maryland — records, photographs, motion pictures, sound recordings and artifacts (approximately 2,000 cubic feet of materials all told).2 Those records include the records of the Warren Commission and Rockefeller Commission, the House Select Committee on Assassinations, and key federal agencies including the FBI, the CIA, the Justice Department, the Secret Service and more.3

Materials have been donated by Dallas Police Department; the New Orleans Metropolitan Crime Commission; the Sixth Floor Museum in Dallas; and private individuals connected in some way to the case.4 And newly discovered or released items continue to roll in: 3,810 documents on July 24, 2017; 2,891 documents on October 26, 2017; 676 documents on November 3, 2017; 13,213 documents on November 9, 2017; 10,744 documents on November 17, 2017; 3,539 documents on December 15, 2017; 18,731 documents on April 26, 2018; and more to come.5

There are a number of finding aids available for the materials, including:

JFK Assassination Collection Reference System
Folder Title Lists
Collection Register – Series Titles
Federal Records Guide to Record Group 272
FBI Case Files Arranged by Surnames

And perhaps the most powerful part of the online holdings is an exhibit called Eyewitness: Fallen Leaders: Lady Bird Johnson–Assassination of President John F. Kennedy, 1963, with excerpts from the recorded diary of Lady Bird Johnson.

A day when so many lives changed.

Documented and collected at the National Archives.

Cite/link to this post: Judy G. Russell, “Documenting that day…,” The Legal Genealogist ( : posted 11 Nov 2019).


  1. See “An Act To provide for the expeditious disclosure of records relevant to the assassination of President John F. Kennedy,” 106 Stat. 3443 (26 Oct 1992).
  2. See “Background on the Collection,” The President John F. Kennedy Assassination Records Collection, ( : accessed 22 Nov 2019).
  3. Ibid.
  4. Ibid.
  5. See “JFK Assassination Records – 2018 Additional Documents Release,” The President John F. Kennedy Assassination Records Collection, ( : accessed 22 Nov 2019).
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