Japanese Americans

Research Paths

Persons of Japanese ancestry arrive at the Santa Anita Assembly Center from San Pedro. Evacuees lived at this center at the former Santa Anita race track before being moved inland to relocation centers. Clem Albers, Arcadia, CA, April 5, 1942. (Photo No. 210-G-3B-414)

Check the Database of Japanese American Evacuees (Record Group 210)



About the War Relocation Authority

The WRA collected personal descriptive information on all individuals who were evacuated from their homes and relocated to one of 10 relocation centers during World War II. They used this information to support their management of the evacuees and the relocation centers.

What you will find in these records:

In these records, one can find the following information about each individual:

  • individual's name
  • assembly center
  • relocation project to which assigned
  • previous address
  • birthplace of parents
  • occupation of father
  • education
  • foreign residence
  • military service
  • public assistance or pensions
  • physical defects
  • age, sex, and marital status
  • year and place of birth
  • alien registration number and/or Social Security number
  • whether the evacuee attended Japanese language school
  • highest grade completed
  • language proficiency
  • occupations
  • religion

Read more about the records of the WRA
(Click on the Title for a description.)

What You Need to Know Before You Start Research in War Relocation Authority (WRA) Records (RG 210):

Before you can effectively find a person in the WRA records using the online search in the Access to Archival Databases (AAD), you need to know:

  • The name of the evacuee (all names used while at center). Some evacuees are listed by their Japanese name, others by their English name. Most younger internees had both English and Japanese names.

Note: If the person was born in a relocation center, proceed to the
WRA Evacuee Case File Request, provide us with the requested information, and mail it to the address listed on the form.

Basic Search Steps

Search for the person in the War Relocation Authority (WRA) Records using the Access to Archival Databases (AAD)

  1. Go to AAD, at http://www.archives.gov/aad/.
  2. Click on "World War II."
  3. Click on the "Search" button next to the file name under "Records About Japanese Americans Relocated During World War II."
  4. Enter the name of the person you are looking for in the box under "Search this file", and click on "Search". Or you can enter other criteria below, in the boxes in the "Enter Values" column, such as year of birth.
  5. If a record is found for a search under that name, click on "View Record" to determine if it's the right person.

If you don't know the name of the head of family or you find too many people with the same name:

You can sort the search results by "last permanent address", by clicking on the arrow just below the column name. You can also sort by "individual number". The individual number groups family members together. (For more information, see the FAQs.)

You can search the 1930 Census if you know a family member's name who had been born before 1930. Once you find that person in 1930, it may lead you to the head of household who accompanied the person in the evacuation.

Result 1: You find an entry in AAD for the person
If you find your person here, write down the:

  • Name of the evacuee (include all names used while in a center)
  • Year of birth
  • Name of the War Relocation Authority center (project)

Then proceed to Next Steps below.

Result 2: Not found
In this case, you can proceed to search the WWII Alien Enemy Case Files


Examples

To illustrate the above, we will search for 2 individuals in AAD who we believe were relocated.

Example 1:

First we look for Eitaro Baba.
  1. Go to AAD, at http://www.archives.gov/aad/
  2. Click on "World War II"

    Search WWII Records
  3. Click on the "Search" button next to the file name under "Records About Japanese Americans Relocated During World War II."

    File unit search
  4. Enter Eitaro Baba (the name of the person you are looking for), into the search box, and click on "Search."

  5. You will then see a screen that says "Display Partial Results." In this case, one record was found for a person named Eitaro Baba. Click on "View Record" to see the full record.

  6. You will now see the full results. You should print a copy of this page. To order copies of this file, you must write down:
    • Name of the evacuee (include all names used while in a center)
    • Year of birth
    • Name of the War Relocation Authority center (project)



  7. Proceed to Next Steps

Example 2:

Next we look for Choichi Ito.
  1. Go to AAD at http://www.archives.gov/aad/
  2. Click on "World War II"

  3. Click on the "Search" button next to the file name under "Records About Japanese Americans Relocated During World War II."

  4. Enter Choichi Ito (the name of the person you are looking for), into the search box, and click on "Search."

  5. The search results show no finding of Choichi Ito.

    You may wish to select the link to "View the FAQs" for more information.

  6. We proceed to looking for him in Record Group 60, using the Online Catalog.
    Check the index to the WWII Alien Enemy Detention and Internment Case Files

Next Steps:

If you found the person in AAD, you can:

If you did not find the person in AAD:

For more information about this database of evacuees, see our FAQs.


Contact Us

If you have any questions or for more information, contact us:

By e-mail: http://www.archives.gov/contact/inquire-form.html

By phone: 1-866-272-6272

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The U.S. National Archives and Records Administration
1-86-NARA-NARA or 1-866-272-6272

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