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> I received this from another list so thought I would share with you
> Sande in CA
> Jtrippneu(a)aol.com wrote:
>> By EUN-KYUNG KIM
>> .c The Associated Press
>> WASHINGTON (AP) - Researchers, genealogists and the plain curious can
>> now use
>> the Internet to check more than 50 million historical records at the
>> National Archives, from Civil War battles to family immigration files.
>> Before the system became available, people had to either visit the
>> Archives and spend hours combing through documents or request the
>> files by phone and pay to have them mailed.
>> ``Now, people can pull these electronic records at their own
>> convenience,'' said Michael Carlson, electronic and special media
>> records director for the archives. ``It's totally self-service from
>> your desktop.''
>> The records available on the database system represent a small
>> fraction of the archive's electronic holdings. They were selected
>> because of their analytical and statistical nature - most deal with
>> information that easily can be looked up based on specific names,
>> dates, organizations, cities or states.
>> For instance, someone wanting to research a great-grandfather who
>> to the United States in the 19th century can choose the series of
>> records listed under ``immigrants,'' enter the relative's name and
>> learn on what ship he traveled, the occupation he claimed prior to
>> leaving, the date he arrived in New York, and the country from which
>> he left, among other details.
>> ``It can be another stop in creating your family tree and
>> understanding what happened and when,'' said Michael Kurtz, assistant
>> archivist for records services.
>> Carlson said he expects the service will be popular with veterans in
>> particular because of all the information related to military action,
>> casualties and POWs.
>> The records in the new system ``aren't a revelation in information,
>> but is it helpful? Absolutely,'' said American Legion spokesman John
>> Peterson after checking out the Web site.
>> ``A lot of people active with the POW/MIA issue complain the
>> government doesn't release enough documents about people who are
>> still missing, so almost anything they give out is good in our
>> eyes,'' he said.
>> Kristine Minami, a spokeswoman for the Japanese American Citizens
>> said getting easy access to government records will provide ``a lot
>> of validation'' to Japanese Americans who were sent to internment
>> camps during World War II.
>> The database draws from the records of 20 federal agencies. Most of
>> the information was created by the agencies to suit their own program
>> needs, without any thought to its historical significance.
>> Because of that, some records have typographical errors like
>> misspelled names
>> or an inaccurate dates. National Archives officials did not correct
>> any of the information to preserve the records' integrity.
>> Shirley Langdon Wilcox, former president of the National Genealogical
>> Society, called the new system an ``extremely useful and exciting'' tool.
>> ``This certainly gives you enough of an idea of what might be
>> available to you so you know what to weed out before taking a trip
>> somewhere,'' she said. ``Anytime you have a tool that can make
>> yourself better prepared before you go to the Archives or library,
>> it's worthwhile. You don't end up wasting an hour or two looking at
>> whether they have something, because you've done your homework.
>> On The Net: National Archives' Access to Archives Databases:
>> 04/04/03 14:33 EST
>> Judy Neu
>> Springwater, NY