News from the National Archives Catalog

What’s in a name? Help make naturalization records name searchable

What’s in a name? Quite a lot, it turns out, if you are searching for a petition for naturalization and do not know the court of naturalization or petition number. And if you’re in the midst of family or historical research, you’re probably already looking for these records (or you soon will be!). Even though petitions for naturalization filed prior to October 1906 typically contain less information than those filed after that date, these records can be an invaluable resource and remain some of our most requested records at the National Archives at New York City.

This series of Petitions for Naturalization, newly added to the Catalog, contains copies of naturalization records for individuals who filed in Federal, state and local courts in New York from 1790 through 1906. As a general rule, the National Archives does not hold naturalization records created in State or local courts. However, because this series of records is comprised of copies of the originals, our New York office maintains petitions for naturalization filed through Federal, state, and local courts in New York City for the years 1794-1906.

Still not convinced you need to track down these records? Well, that’s where the Catalog comes in! This significant part of our naturalization collection was recently added to the Catalog. The entire series of petitions for naturalization filed through Federal, state, and local courts in New York City prior to October 1906 (over 598 records!) are available in the Catalog in their entirely–the whole record! The records contain the petitioner’s name, age, place of birth, occupation, date and place of emigration, as well as date and place of arrival in the United States.

These records are not yet searchable by name in our Catalog, but that’s where you come in! Help us make these records more searchable by tagging the records with the petitioner’s name, or go a step further and transcribe the entire record.

On the petition for naturalization. Look for the names of the petitioners within the record and type the names you see in the Tag field. This now makes the record searchable by name!

Look for names of petitioners within the naturalization records.Tag the names so they’re searchable. No need to transcribe the entire page (but we won’t stop you!).

Tag it! Introducing the National Archives Facebook Chatbot

What do you get when you have an bold strategic goal to have one million records enhanced by citizen archivists in the National Archives Catalog and an idea to try something new on a social site? You create a Facebook Messenger Chatbot, of course!

You’ve already tagged records in the Catalog, now here is a fun new way to help make records more accessible. And it’s easy to participate. From your phone or desktop, navigate to the National Archives Facebook page. (Give us a follow! We post about lots of cool finds and interesting events!) To start chatting with the bot, tap on the Send Message button, and type “hi” in the text box.

The chatbot will open, and give you the option to tag a document or ask a question. When you choose tag a document, the bot will serve you a record from the Catalog, and you can tag the document as typed, handwritten, or both. This helps us sort the documents by difficulty, which can then help citizen archivists transcribe the records in the Catalog.

You can keep tagging and sorting documents, but you can also use the bot to answer your questions about visiting the National Archives and starting your research, learn some archives trivia, or see an interesting photo from our Catalog (like these awesome track workers in 1943!).

Our chatbot makes participating in citizen archivist activities easy and available on a platform you might already be using. So stop by our Facebook page, say “hi” and let’s get tagging!

Learn more on our NARAtions blog.  And review other National Archives Catalog Newsletters by clicking HERE.