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Thursday, 2nd September 2010

Now Available: The National Archives at Kansas City Opens over 300,000 Alien Case Files for Research

A new source that will likely be of special interest to those who do genealogy research.

From the NARAtions Blog Post by Elizabeth Carrington:

I find when I approach new records what I really want to understand is how a particular item has meaning in my own life; I want to see a reflection (or contradiction) of my experiences in the piece of history I have sitting before me. Working with the National Archives at Kansas City’s recent accession of more than 300,000 Alien Files (A-Files) for individuals born 1909 and prior from the United States Citizenship and Immigration Service, I have had an opportunity to observe a snapshot of American life that I have never before experienced.

A-Files were utilized by the Immigration and Naturalization Service starting on April 1, 1944, as a means of recording the details of any active case of an alien not yet naturalized as they passed through the United States immigration and inspection process. They are a rich source of biographical information in that they contain relatively modern immigration documents, all in one file. Each file has the potential to hold a wealth of data including visas, photographs, applications, affidavits, correspondence, and more. Additionally, the files are unique from other genealogical resources in that the level of comprehensive data included is comparably larger, and in some cases there is a variety of information such as employer addresses, residences in non-census years, and copies of certificates and licenses in original foreign languages that may not be found elsewhere.


If you are interested in learning more about the A-Files and how to request or view files please visit http://www.archives.gov/research/genealogy/aliens/a-files-kansas-city.html. A successful request will contain the individual’s complete name, Archival Research Catalog (ARC) ID number, and Alien Registration number. You can perform a search in ARC (click the “Search within this series” link in the description and enter the name for which you are searching).

To confirm that we have referenced the correct file, it is also helpful to provide the individual’s date and place of birth and date of entry into the United States. We receive A-File requests either by e-mail, postal mail, or fax only.

More In the Complete Blog Post Including a Few Digitized Items from the A-File of Abstract Painter Willem de Kooning.

Source: NARAtions (National Archives and Records Administration)

See Also: 20 Works of Willem de Koonig (via the Museum of Modern Art Database)

See Also: Bio of de Koonig (via Biography.com)


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