National Archives Virtual Genealogy Fair 2018Find an Event
Sixth Annual Virtual Genealogy Fair
Every year, the National Archives hosts a virtual Genealogy Fair via live webcast on YouTube. The sessions offer family history research tools on Federal records for all skill levels. Thousands of family historians participate in the live event.
Miss the live event? You can watch the entire day of videos on YouTube and download the presentation handouts.
Schedule, Videos, and Handouts
Videos and handouts for each presentation are available by clicking on the session names below.
Watch the entire day of videos on YouTube.
David S. Ferriero was confirmed as 10th Archivist of the United States on November 6, 2009.
Session 1 Description: Join the National Archives Catalog Community Managers as they discuss genealogy resources available in the National Archives Catalog and how the Catalog can help you jump start and refine your genealogical research. The Community Managers will also discuss the many opportunities to participate in our online Catalog through citizen archivist projects such as tagging, transcription, and adding comments. They'll talk about how you can contribute to these projects and how these contributions can help make content in our Catalog more discoverable to researchers.
Presenters: Suzanne Isaacs and Meredith Doviak are the Community Managers for the National Archives Catalog, catalog.archives.gov, working to manage, build and grow the community of users surrounding records and information in our Catalog through crowdsourcing missions archives.gov/citizen-archivist.
Suzanne Isaacs holds a B.A. in American History and an M.L.S in Archives from the University of Maryland. Before arriving at the National Archives she was the Open Society Archives Western Fellow in Budapest, Hungary and the audiovisual archivist and assistant curator at the Library of American Broadcasting at the University of Maryland. Over 15 years at the National Archives she was the Supervisory Archivist for the Cartographic Section, Archivist in the Special Media Division, Digital Projects Coordinator for the National Archives Experience, and Item Level Description Coordinator in the Office of Innovation. She was a project manager for the development of DocsTeach.org and blogged for Today’s Document on Tumblr (http://todaysdocument.tumblr.com).
Meredith Doviak joined the National Archives in 2009, first working in the Social Media Branch in the Office of Innovation, developing policy, strategy, and outreach initiatives for the National Archives’ social media accounts. Meredith also served on the governance workstream for the development and launch of the Digital Public Library of America (DPLA) project to create free and open access to the nation’s cultural and scientific record. Meredith holds a Master of Library Science Degree with a focus on Archival Administration from the University of Maryland, and a Bachelor of Arts from Gettysburg College.
Session 2 Description: This presentation will highlight some of the most important federal records for identifying former slaves and slave owners, including:
- Civil War and later military service and pension records
- Confederate slave payrolls
- Bureau of Pensions Law Division case files
- Freedmen’s Bureau records
- Freedman’s Savings and Trust Company records
- Southern Claims Commission claims files
- Coastwise slave ship manifests
- Fugitive slave case files
Claire Kluskens is a reference and digital projects archivist at the National Archives in Washington, DC and specializes in records of high genealogical value. She spearheaded the completion of more than 330 National Archives microfilm publications, and now works on digital and description projects for the National Archives Catalog. She lectures frequently and has published extensively in national, state, and local genealogical publications. Claire has been a National Archives and Records Administration staff member since 1992 and has done genealogical research since 1976.
Session 3 Description:
The Case Files of Approved Pension Applications of Widows and Other Dependents of the Army and Navy Who Served Mainly in the Civil War and the War with Spain are records heavily used by genealogists and social historians. They contain records received by the Bureau of Pensions from widows to prove entitlement for pensions based on their deceased husbands’ military service.
Pension files contain records for all claims relating to the veteran and include:
- marriage and/or divorce
- certificates from examining surgeons
- birth records of children
- copies of veterans’ death certificates
- correspondence between parties and the Bureau of Pensions
Alexandra Villaseran has been a processing archives technician since 2016 at the National Archives in Washington, DC. A great lover of art, design, and history, she holds an MA in History and a BS in Interior Design, both from West Virginia University. She has worked on several projects at the National Archives, including the digitization of Record Group 109, the Collected Record Books of Various Executive, Legislative, and Judicial Offices of the Confederate States of America, 1860–1865; Record Group 15, Entry 12-A, the Civil War and Later Widows’ Certificates, 1861–1934; Record Group 85, Entry 7, the Records of the Immigration and Naturalization Service Letters Received, 1882–1906; and Record Group 45, Entry 231, the Collection of the Office of Naval Records and Library, Messages Sent and Received 1912–1926. Previously, she worked in archives at the West Virginia and Regional History Center in Morgantown, West Virginia, and at the Architect of the Capitol in Washington, DC.
Session 4 Description: Learn how to navigate records held in the Still Picture unit that document CCC camps and activities. This session will provide researchers with a list of series that contain CCC photographs, as well as inform researchers as to what information they should gather prior to beginning their search for CCC imagery.
Kaitlyn Crain Enriquez is an archives specialist with the Still Pictures Branch, where she primarily focuses on reference activities. She was previously a private investigator, specifically focusing on locating and retrieving public records. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in History from the University of California, Santa Cruz; and a Master of Library and Information Science from San Jose State University. She is currently pursuing a Master of Arts in Public History from Sacramento State University.
Kelsey Noel is a processing archivist in the Still Picture Branch located in College Park, MD. She began working at the National Archives in 2014, and cannot imagine ever working anywhere else. She has a Bachelor’s of Art in Historic Preservation and Museum Studies from the University of Mary Washington and a Master of Science in Library and Information Science, with a concentration in Cultural Heritage Information Management, from the Catholic University of America.
Session 5 Description: With this year's 85th anniversary of the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA), I will cover the wealth of genealogical resources the TVA's Official Personnel Files (OPFs) provide to researchers. Additionally, I will provide information regarding the locations of other TVA records to be found in National Archives offices outside of St. Louis. The TVA was created in 1933 as one of the many “alphabet agencies” of the New Deal. It employed men and women alike for many different jobs from the, well-known, dam constructions to science labs and textile plants. It was one of the first agencies with such an overstated regional focus. Within one short year of establishment, over 9,000 people were employed over the seven state area of TN, AL, MS, KY, GA, NC, and VA. The TVA’s focus on employment as well as on the development and modernization of rural land makes the federal records that remain a sophisticated way to track families from that time and area.
Cara Moore Lebonick has worked for the National Archives since 2013. She searches and provides access to the individual personnel records of former military and civil servants of the Federal government as an Archives Technician. She is also an American Studies Ph.D. student at Saint Louis University. In prior positions, Cara has worked in a variety of museums and positions. She has a Bachelor's Degree in History from Southern Illinois University, Edwardsville, and a Masters Degree in History and Post baccalaureate in Museum Studies from Southern Illinois University, Edwardsville.
Session 6 Description: During war and peacetime, military nurses tended to the medical needs of the United States Armed Forces stateside, overseas, and on the front lines. This presentation will provide brief histories of the Navy Nurse Corps and Army Nurse Corps, useful finding aids, and how to request records. The Official Military Personnel Files (OMPFs) of Army and Air Force Nurses may have been lost, burned, or damaged in the 1973 National Personnel Records Center fire. Fortunately, the National Archives at St. Louis houses non-OMPF records that may supplement the deficit the fire caused. The National Archives collection of Navy Nurse Corps and Army Nurse Corps records contain genealogy rich content of place & date of birth, photographs, handwritten letters and typed correspondence to friends and families, awards and citations earned, job duties, facts pertaining to a death in service/killed in action, and beneficiaries.
Anna Csar graduated with a Bachelor's in History and minor in Anthropology from Southern Illinois University Edwardsville, and has worked for NARA since 2012. She is an Expert Archives Technician at the National Personnel Records Center and is currently cross-training in archival reference at the National Archives, St. Louis. She is a subject matter expert on Navy and Army Nurse Corps military personnel records.
Ann Cummings has served as Executive for Research Services since December 2016.
Genealogy Fairs & Series Past
Every year, the National Archives hosts a free, virtual Genealogy event live webcast on YouTube. The sessions offer family history research tools on Federal records for all skill levels. Join thousands of family historians participating during the live event. Attend free of charge and no reservation.
- Watch previous session video recordings on YouTube.
- See past event web pages, posters, session videos, and handouts below.
Starting in 2021, the National Archives transformed our annual genealogy event from the Genealogy Fair to the Genealogy Series.
Genealogy Series: 2021
Before we held virtual and recorded sessions, we held in-person fairs. See posters and handouts for the years 2012, 2011, and 2010 at the links below. Years 2009, 2008, 2007, 2006, and 2005 do not have handouts.
All events listed in the calendar are free unless noted.