About the National Archives

Welcome Remarks at the Virtual Genealogy Fair

October 23, 2019

Welcome to our Virtual Genealogy Fair!

For 14 years the National Archives has hosted an annual Genealogy Fair and since 2013, we’ve been doing a live webcast on YouTube. Our sessions offer family history research tools on Federal records for all skill levels. Thousands of family historians participate in the live event each year.

As a virtual attendee, you can:

  • Participate with the presenters and other family historians
  • Watch individual sessions and download the materials at your convenience

Since going “virtual” seven years ago, we are able to have these resources and tools available for family historians in the form of lecture video recordings and handouts on our Genealogy Fair web page

We hope that you take advantage of all that is offered. As some of last year’s participants said:

  • “Pro[g]ram had engaging speakers whose enthusiasm for the material shows.”
  • “Thank so much for putting on these fairs every year! They are very helpful & I appreciate the effort involved from all the presenters and everyone behind the scenes.”
  • “It was most informative. All the subject areas were amazing.”
  • “Loved that it was on YouTube, free and had handouts...”
  • “Slides were done well. Handouts were helpful and easily obtained. The online transcription was very helpful for those minutes when I had to go away. All considered, it was brilliantly done.”
  • “The graphics on the slides were excellent. They included names and photographs of persons relevant to the presentation in addition to the actual record of their service. Keep up this high quality!”
  • “I think this is a great format and hope that you will continue doing these! Thank you for making the recordings available as well––this is very helpful.”

This annual event is an opportunity to bring us together to share knowledge about the National Archives’ holdings and research strategies.

Sessions will offer guidance on:

  • the National Archives’ History Hub;
  • preserving personal collections;
  • using records relating to immigration;
  • World War I soldiers and marines;
  • Bureau of Indian Affairs schools; and
  • the Homestead Act. 

As you enjoy this genealogy fair, I encourage you to visit our website, Archives.gov. We have many other resources available including:

  • Videos from our “Know Your Records” programs, an ongoing series of free public programs created to show you how to use Federal Government records held at the National Archives for historical and genealogical research. These videos include the previous six virtual genealogy fairs.
  • Our National Archives Catalog, where you can find documents of genealogical interest to genealogists.
  • And the “Research at the National Archives” page on Facebook, where you can follow the latest topics on genealogy.

You can also connect with Virtual Genealogy attendees on Twitter using the hashtag shown on the screen.



The dedication of National Archives staff is one of our greatest assets in carrying out the mission of this agency. I want to thank our presenters: Rebecca Collier, Darren Cole, Kelly Osborn, Sara Holmes, Elizabeth Burnes, Nathaniel Patch, Cody White, James Muhn and Marene Baker for their efforts. Moreover, special thanks to our Research Services Workplace Culture and Training Manager Vernon Smith and Program Analyst Andrea Matney for putting this all together.


Our role at NARA is to preserve the records that have permanent value. With over 15 billion pages of records, 44 million photographs, thousands of motion pictures, maps, broadsides, and electronic records, history comes to life at the National Archives through our holdings.

Thank you, and enjoy the virtual genealogy fair!