Sunday, September 28, 2014

Visit to San Bruno NARA

Last January, through my genealogical society, Livermore-Amador Genealogical Society, I organized a trip to the San Bruno National Archives for four of us. Although I contacted them early, due to budget cuts, they no longer do tours and had limited help for us that day. Rather, they sent plenty of information for us to do our own homework and order what we needed before our trip.

The Archives opened at 7:30 a.m. on the chosen day, but, as we come from the East Bay, we decided to leave much later and arrived around 10 AM. While we all looked through the catalog before our trip, only two of our group located items in the online catalog and called ahead to have it ready.

Because they'd called ahead with the information, when we arrived, their items were waiting for them in the secure room. They hit jackpots, while my non-lucky partner and I learned that all we really had to do that day was use Ancestry, Heritage Quest, and Fold3 on the public access computers. There isn't much available if you don't have special catalog items.

The two who were lucky were able to use the special secure room and make copies of the immigration files they found. When they were done, we left for lunch and decided there was no need to return after. There is a mall with a restaurant (BJs) right down the street. We ate there, discussed our finds (and non-finds) and then drove back to our side of the Bay.

While I wasn’t successful in my trip to the Archives this time, I do know that the Archives in St. Louis has a treasure trove for me. So the tools I learned for this trip will help me in my someday trip to St. Louis.

The San Bruno National Archives has a self-service microfilm-to-paper copy machine at $.60 per page. The paper-to-paper copies are $.25 per page. Payment can be made by cash, check or credit card after you complete your project. There is a two-hour limit when people are waiting.

Here is a link to make your trip more successful that our group used: 

The catalog link is here:

And here is a list of some of the holdings:

Holdings include:
  • Records generated by Federal courts and agency field offices in California (Northern and Central), Nevada, Hawaii, American Samoa, Guam, former Trust Territory of Pacific Islands (Marchall, Caroline and No. Mariana).
  • Records of U.S. Navy bases on foreign territory in the Pacific and Far East.
  • Asian-Pacific immigration
  • Environmental and natural history
  • Naval and military activity in the Pacific
  • American Indian experience
  • Federal population censuses for all States, 1790-1930
  • Indexes for the 1880, 1900, 1910, and 1920 censuses (indexes are not available for all census years and all states)
  • Censuses listing residents of American Samoa and Native Americans in California and Nevada
  • Records documenting the removal of Cherokees and other tribes included in Oklahoma Removal, ca. 1900
  • Passenger arrival records for the port of San Francisco
  • Indexes to naturalization records from Federal courts in Honolulu, Reno (NV) and San Francisco
  • Maritime records for San Francisco and other ports
  • Revolutionary war military service records
  • Early pension and bounty land warrant applications Galveston, Philadelphia, and San Francisco
  • Naturalization records
  • Chinese Immigration and Chinese in the United States

If I were to go again, I'd do the following:
  1. Take BART.  It was fine to drive, but we did have a bit of traffic.
  2. Have a plan, including calling ahead to make sure that they had something I needed.
  3. Have another place to visit.  I don't think it required all day, so a visit to Sutro on the same trip would have made it a full, productive day.
  4. Unless it's St. Louis, as I know I'd have enough to spend a full (few) day(s) there.

1 comment:

  1. As a local (Santa Cruz), I'm interested in the results of your trip. I'm not sure this particular library would hold anything for me.