National Archives at Atlanta

Maritime Records at the National Archives at Atlanta

RG 26 - U.S. Coast Guard
RG 26 - U.S. Customs Service

RG 26 - U.S. Coast Guard

Conducts search and rescue operations in and over the high seas and navigable waters of the United States. Provides medical aid to U.S. ocean fishermen. Enforces maritime and other laws pertaining to protection of life and property at sea, suppression of smuggling and illicit drug trafficking, and protection of the marine environment. Formulates and enforces safety standards for U.S. commercial vessels and offshore structures. Enforces safety standards on foreign vessels subject to U.S. jurisdiction. Evaluates and licenses U.S. merchant marine personnel. Enforces regulations governing the safety and security of ports and the anchorage and movement of vessels in U.S. waters. Establishes and maintains aids to navigation. Regulates the construction, maintenance, and operation of bridges across the navigable waters of the United States. Operates ice-breaking ships and the International Ice Patrol. Develops and directs a national boating safety program. Operates as a wartime service in the Department of the Navy.

Lifesaving Stations
Merchant Marine Vessels
Vessel Documentation Case Files

RG 36 - U.S. Customs Service

Assesses and collects customs fees and penalties. Intercepts and seizes contraband, including narcotics and illegal drugs. Processes persons, carriers, cargo, and mail into and out of the United States. Administers navigation laws. Detects and apprehends violators of customs laws. Enforces export control laws. Cooperates with other federal agencies and foreign governments in suppressing illegal traffic in narcotics and pornography. Collects international trade statistics. Historical functions of the Customs Service included administration of navigation aids and lighthouses, transferred to Lighthouse Board by act of August 31, 1852 (10 Stat. 119); and functions relating to the protection of seamen, and to revenue cutters, transferred to Revenue Marine Division (later Revenue Cutter Service) in 1871. The Bureau of Customs assumed responsibility for vessel documentation by EO 9083, February 28, 1942, which abolished the Bureau of Marine Inspection and Navigation.

Chinese Laborers Departing United States  

This series contains two types of documents relating to the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882. The first, entitled “Descriptive List of Chinese Laborer in Transit Through the United States,” identifies Chinese nationals who traveled through the United States enroute to other countries. Each form includes personal, physical, and travel information: name, age, occupation, last place of residence, height, complexion, color of eyes, physical marks, date of arrival in the U.S., vessel name, and destination. There are two forms for each laborer, and some also include a photograph.

The other documents are official statements made by Chinese immigrants upon their departure from the port of Mobile to China with the ultimate purpose of returning. These documents contain similar information for each immigrant: name, age, height, weight, color of eyes, complexion, occupation, local address, photograph, and a description of debts owed. Some of the statements also include signatures of local residents verifying the identity and standing of the departing individual, as well as how many years they had known them.