Saturday, March 1, 2008

Central Plains Region National Archives

Researchers with Kansas connections might find some interesting resources at the Central Plains Region National Archives in Kansas City. Why not put a visit in your plans while attending the NGS conference in May!

The National Archives Central Plains Region holds the retired records of federal agencies in Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, and South Dakota. We hold records of over 100 different government agencies dating from the 1820s to the 1990s. These agencies include the National Park Service, the Weather Bureau, the National War Labor Board, and the United States Geological Survey, among others.

Many records at the Central Plains Regional Archives are of interest to genealogists. Among them, for example, are the records of the Bureau of Indian Affairs, which contains information about reservations, schools, and agencies of northern woodland and plains Indians. These records document tribal economic, political, and social life of American Indians, the government's perceptions regarding them, and the American Indians' relations and opinions of the government. In addition to reports, correspondence, and other textual records, there are photographs and maps among these records.

The records of the Bureau of Land Management document land records for the states of Kansas, Iowa, and Nebraska from 1840 to 1915. Among these records are homestead claim papers, abstracts of land entries, tract books, and material related to surveys of the land.

A large record group at the Central Plains Region Archives that is of interest to the genealogical community is Record Group 21, Records of the District Courts of the United States. These records include civil, criminal, equity, and habeas corpus proceedings that took place in courts in the seven-state region. Also in the records are naturalization proceedings, which include declarations of intention, petitions for naturalization, and citizenship certificate stubs. This record group also includes World War I-era enemy alien registrations from the state of Kansas.

Another record group that genealogists may find useful is the Records of the Bureau of Prisons. These contain original prison inmate files created by the U.S. Federal Penitentiary in Leavenworth, Kansas. These records date from the first inmate incarcerated in 1895 through the 1920s. The files contain record sheets detailing inmates' crime, conviction, sentence, violations while in prison, and usually, a mug shot.

The Central Plains Regional Archives also has available to researchers over 45,000 rolls of microfilm, including the US Census from 1790-1930 as well as indexes for military records, Freedman's Bureau records, and microfilmed Indian census of the Five Civilized Tribes (Choctaw, Chickasaw, Cherokee, Creek, and Seminole). The microfilm research room is designed for self-service, but volunteers are available to provide efficient service and personalized attention.

We invite you to visit the National Archives-Central Plains Region. We are located at 2312 East Bannister Road, Kansas City, MO 64131 and phone number is 816.268.8000. For email reference: kansascity.archives@nara.gov. Visit us online at: www.archives.gov/central-plains/kansas-city
"This article is reprinted from UpFront with NGS, the Online Newsletter of NGS, Volume 8 Number 3, dated 1 March 2008. by permission"

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