5.28.2012

century-old immigration records released by national archives



Last week, the National Archives publicly released records for millions of Asian immigrants to the United States, dating back to the early 20th century: 'A-Files' Allow Asian Americans to Connect to the Past.

The case files -- some of them a hundred years old -- for thousands of Asian immigrants include information such as photographs, personal correspondence, birth certificates, health records, interview transcripts, visas, applications and other information on all non-naturalized alien residents, representing over a hundred different countries of origin.

The records were originally intended to be destroyed and headed for permanent storage. Now they're available for viewing at the National Archives facility in San Bruno, California. From National Archives' press release:
The National Archives and the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services with the assistance of the late U.S. Representative Tom Lantos and U.S. Representative Jackie Speier joined to have the Alien Files (commonly known as the A-Files) re-designated as permanent records of enduring historical value.

The A-Files are immigration records created for each of the millions of aliens residing the United States since 1944. Incorporating records that date back to the early 20th century, these alien case files document the famous, the infamous, the anonymous and the well-known. They are an historical and genealogical goldmine with information about immigrants from more than 100 countries.
More here: National Archives at San Francisco Opens Immigration Files and Dedicates Tom Lantos Research Center.