National Archives opens new treasure trove of records

Just in case you’re planning to be in Kansas City anytime soon, you may want to check out the latest offering from the U.S. National Archives.

The National Archives had this to say about the collection in an announcement:

Kansas City, (MO) – For the first time, more than 300,000 case files on alien residents of the United States who were born 1909 and prior are now open to the public at the National Archives at Kansas City.  These files, known as “Alien Files” (commonly referred to as “A-Files”) were transferred to the National Archives from the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) and are only a small part of the millions of case files that will eventually be transferred and opened to the public.

“The A-files are a key to unlocking the fascinating stories of millions of people who traveled to the United States in search of opportunity, including my own grandfather,” said Archivist of the United States David S. Ferriero.   “They include information such as photographs, personal correspondence, birth certificates, health records, interview transcripts, visas, applications and other information on all non-naturalized alien residents, both legal and illegal. The snapshot of American life that develops from each file can, in some cases, serve as a one-stop-shopping for researchers.”

You can read more about the A-Files in Dick Eastman’s genealogy column by clicking this link to his column.

Eastman does say that the “A-Files document the famous, the infamous, the anonymous and the well-known, and are an historical and genealogical goldmine.  These files contain an abundance of relatively modern immigration documents in one file, making them a rich source of biographical information.”

It may well be worth it to plan your next family vacation to Kansas City!

A-Files may be viewed in person by appointment at the National Archives at Kansas City or copies of files may be ordered for a fee.

For additional information on requesting A-Files, visit http://www.archives.gov/research/genealogy/aliens/a-files-kansas-city.html

Happy ancestor hunting!

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