About the National Archives

Welcome remarks given at Virtual Genealogy Fair

October 21st, 2016 McGowan Theater
National Archives Building


Who is the Archivist?

David S. Ferriero

David S. Ferriero The Archivist of the United States is the head of our agency, appointed by the President of the United States.

The AOTUS Blog
What's an Archivist?

Good morning.

Welcome to the National Archives and Records Administration's Virtual Genealogy Fair.  I'm David Ferriero, Archivist of the United States.

In an experiment three years ago we took our annual Genealogy Fair to the ether in order to engage a larger audience and spread the word globally about the richness of the resources and services available here at the National Archives.  It was a success!  And last year more than 22,000 of you participated.  This proved to us that we truly can bring the National Archives to you no matter where you are in the world.

Today, we have National Archives staff from around the country making presentations about using records from our holdings to help you discover your own family's story as I have done myself.  Using our records I learned when my father's parents sailed from Naples to Boston in the early 1900's and discovered that my grandfather's father was already here in this country.  A piece of family history new to my relatives.

Here at the National Archives we make history come to life. We have over 12 billion pages of records. Many of them are of special interest to genealogists, such as the census schedules, passenger arrival lists, records of naturalizations, and land and military files. Each day in our research rooms across the country, people comb through these records to piece together details of their own family histories.

But for the next two days, we'll be here virtually to teach you about our genealogical records, and we'll help you discover your history.

We are featuring lectures about records relating to the civilian conservation corps, military and early Veterans Administration personnel data records, and women in war time civilian government. Each record, large or small, is a representation of a greater story, many of which are still being told today in daily life. 

Our preservation staff will advise you on the care of your family records and answer your questions during a 30 minute Q and A.

During the Fair, we are on Facebook and Twitter. You can follow the National Archives on Twitter using the hashtags shown on the screen.

I am grateful to the staff of the National Archives, particularly to our Research Customer Support Coordinator, Diane Dimkoff, and her team, Andrea Matney and Cathy Lumi.

And I want to especially acknowledge all the presenters across the nation.

Shortly after the end of the Fair, the recorded lectures and materials will be available on the Genealogy Fair's web page at the URL on your screen.  You'll be able to tune in and watch as many times as you like. 

Thank you very much and enjoy the Fair.