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Madison County Genealogical Society

Minutes of the Meeting - September 10, 2009


The September 10, 2009, meeting of the Madison County Genealogical Society was held at the Edwardsville Public Library in Edwardsville, Illinois.

President, Robert Ridenour, called the meeting to order.


In the absence of our Treasurer LaVerne Bloemker, Secretary Barbara Hitch presented the financial report for the month of August 2009.

Librarian Elsie Wasser reported that we had received no new items for the library:

September Meeting

On September 10, 2009, Diane Walsh presented a program titled An Introduction to the National Archives and Its Treasures.

Her presentation covered what a researcher should know and have ready before making the trip to Washington, D. C. Most of the preparations that she discussed can be done from home online. She gave several websites that are available to help the researcher prepare for their trip to the National Archives.

The topics covered included:
     Ready for Archival Research?
     Information for Researchers
     Researcher Card
     Paraphernalia Allowed

For information about an individual to be found in the National archives, that individual must have some connection with the federal government. The first step a researcher must take is to determine their subject's connection to the federal government, i.e., presidential, military, immigration, land, census. It will help to determine which agencies, offices, or individuals are involved, i.e., Bureau of Land Management, etc.

The researcher needs to determine the record type and location using the finding aids available:
     Research tools
     Guide to Federal Records
     Descriptive pamphlets for microfilm publications can be found at the microfilm webpage plus 32 are available in
          co-operation with the St. Louis County Library-Lindbergh
     A List of Publications of the National Archives and Records Administration can be ordered free of charge 

Records with genealogy emphasis are segregated into separate groups/lists:

Diane also discussed the Archives' record arrangement and "lingo."

Record Arrangement: Record Group - Series - File Unit - Items (Documents)

All district court records held by the National Archives are in the same record group
     Records of District Courts of the United States (Record Group 21)
Within that record group are series of records
     Admiralty Case Files, 1790 -1966
     Civil Case Files, 1938 - 1967
     Criminal Case Files, 1791 - 1970
Within the Series are file units (each court case is a separate unit)
     United States versus Henry Sims, #68 August Session 1851
     United States versus Samuel Williams etal., #159 August Session 1851
Within the file units are individual items (documents). The Archives calls them Items; Ms. Walsh refers to them as Documents.
     Indictment of Samuel Williams
     Lists of Witnesses and the Jury

This presentation was well received and prompted several questions, as several of those in attendance were planning research trips to the National Archives.