Calendar of Events

2021 National Archives Genealogy Series

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May & June 2021

In lieu of the autumn 2020 Virtual Genealogy Fair that could not be held due to the COVID-19 pandemic, we offered a new Genealogy Series in the springtime of 2021. Instead of a single-day event, the program sessions were broadcast individually during May and June 2021. You are invited to watch the video recordings on YouTube

Over the two months, the sessions offered family history research tools on federal records for all skill levels. The first three sessions are broad and will appeal to the beginner and beyond. The last three sessions are focused on specific topics and may be better suited for the experienced researcher. All are welcome! Session descriptions, videos, and handouts are below.

  • Watch the broadcasts via YouTube 
  • Session video recordings and presentation materials are available below.

2021 Genealogy Series Schedule

Miss the live event? The video recording and presentation materials remain available.

Example of a personal photo album


Preserving and Digitizing Personal Photo Albums and Scrapbooks 

  • Presenters: 
    • Sara Holmes, Conservator in Preservation Programs from the National Archives at St. Louis, MO; and 
    • Noah Durham, Supervisory Preservation Specialist from the National Archives at St. Louis, MO
  • Skill level: All
  • Presentation Slides and Handout 
  • YouTube

Preserving photo albums and scrapbooks can be especially challenging, often because they are bound and contain a variety of problematic materials. This session addresses how to work with the poor quality materials commonly found in personal scrapbooks and albums, how to maintain the integrity of the arrangement, and how to store photo albums and scrapbooks appropriately. Pro tips for home users include ways to digitize albums, organize electronic files, and preserve them as electronic records. Examples come from both National Archives and personal collections.

Screenshot of the

Finding Genealogy Resources and Tools on 

This presentation will provide an overview of what’s available for genealogists on the website, and demonstrate how to navigate to its many resources and tools, including the National Archives Catalog, the Access to Archival Databases (AAD) system, the Microfilm Catalog, topic pages, articles, reports, and blogs. We’ll explore the Genealogy portal page, and also see how the website is organized, which will enable you to do even more expansive searches for information.

Family Tree

Tips and Tools for Engaging Family with Your Research Finds 

  • Presenters:  
    • Missy McNatt, Education Specialist from the National Archives in Washington, DC; and
    • Dorothy Dougherty, Virtual Public Programs Director from the National Archives at New York City, NY
  • Skill level: Beginner
  • Presentation Slides/Handout
  • YouTube

As the family historian, you have amassed information and records that will one day pass to the next family historian. How do you share your findings with others? How to engage young family members involved with all your hard research may be another story. Education staff members Missy McNatt and Dorothy Dougherty will demonstrate fun and engaging ways to connect research to your family, including younger family members. This lecture will highlight activities related to our most popular genealogy records, such as Immigrant Ship Arrivals, U.S. Census Records, Naturalization records, and Military and Pension files. The presenters will also demonstrate new ways to share your research finds online, using social media tools.

King,, Mary Photograph and Letter; Official Personnel Folders—Department of the Interior, Bureau of Indian Affairs; Record Group 146: National Archives, St. Louis.

From Here to There: Researching Office of Indian Affairs Employees 

  • Presenters: 
    • Cara Moore Lebonick, Reference Archives Specialist from the National Archives at St. Louis, MO; and
    • Cody White, Archivist and Native American Related Records Subject Matter Expert from the National Archives at Denver, CO
  • Skill level: Experienced (all are welcome!)
  • Presentation Slides/Handout
  • YouTube

Researching ancestors who worked for federal agencies is a popular topic at the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA). This presentation will tie together the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) Official Personnel Files (OPF) held in St. Louis with agency records located in various NARA field sites. The session will open with what can be found in the OPFs and how to request them. Cara Moore Lebonick will conduct a deep dive into several OPF's of Native women employed by the BIA. Cody White will then explore how further information can be found in the regional records of the BIA. Together Cara and Cody will show how the holdings across the National Archives can provide a more complete genealogical story.

Women and children in camp

Civil War Union Noncombatant Personnel: Teamsters, Laundresses, Nurses, Sutlers, and More 

  • Presenter: Claire Kluskens, Genealogy/Census Subject Matter Expert and Digital Projects Archivist from the National Archives in Washington, DC
  • Skill level: Experienced (all are welcome!)
  • Presentation Slides and Handout
  • YouTube

The National Archives Building in Washington, DC contains many records about noncombatant civilians connected with the Union Army during the American Civil War. However, the records are underutilized because there is no comprehensive index, no “one” place to look, and require time-consuming research into obscure records. Digitization is slowly changing that, however! This lecture will provide suggestions for research with emphasis on online materials that can help you get started.

RG 26, Licenses Issued to Merchant Marine Officers, Billings, Daniel

Merchant Marine Records at the National Archives at St. Louis 

The National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) recently accessioned the core collection of Merchant Marine Licensing Files, which are now open to the public for the first time at the National Archives at St. Louis. Theresa Fitzgerald will discuss these holdings as well as our auxiliary collections of Merchant Marine records that are complex and closely connected.


Request a transcript taken from the live captioning by sending a request to


The National Archives holds the permanently valuable records of the federal government. These include records of interest to genealogists, such as pension files, ship passenger lists, census and Freedmen’s Bureau materials. For information on National Archives holdings see


All events listed in the calendar are free unless noted.