Saturday, August 02, 2008

USCIS to offer Genealogy Fee for Service Program

Genealogy to be offered by the United States Citizenship and Immigration Service

The new USCIS Genealogy Program will become effective on August 13, 2008. The Genealogy Program is a fee-for-service program designed to provide family historians and other researchers with timely access to accurate information and good copies of historical immigration and naturalization records.

The USCIS Genealogy Program will offer two services:

Index Search: Using biographical information provided by the researcher, USCIS will search its historical immigration and naturalization record index for citations related to a specific immigrant. This index search service is limited to subjects born more than 100 years ago, or for whom the requester can provide proof of death. Search results (record citations) will be returned to the researcher, along with instructions on how to request the file(s) from USCIS or the National Archives.

Record Copy Request: Researchers with valid record citations (USCIS file numbers), gained through a USCIS Genealogy Program index search or through independent research, may request copies of historical immigration and naturalization records. Records available through the USCIS Genealogy Program are:

Naturalization Certificate Files (C-files) from September 27, 1906 to April 1, 1956
Alien Registration Forms from August 1, 1940 to March 31, 1944
Visa files from July 1, 1924 to March 31, 1944
Registry Files from March 2, 1929 to March 31, 1944
Alien Files (A-files) numbered below 8 million (A8000000) and documents therein dated prior to May 1, 1951

Detailed information about the USCIS Genealogy Program is currently available in the published rule for the Establishment of a Genealogy Program.

The USCIS Genealogy Program cannot accept any requests until August 13, 2008. Until then, please check this page for updates and send any comments to

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Indexed Records to Remain Free on

Indexed Records to Remain Free on
28 July 2008

The recent announcements of joint census projects with FamilySearch and affiliate companies, such as and, have caused some confusion. FamilySearch patrons and indexing volunteers are wondering if the indexes created from their efforts will continue to be free to the public. The answer is a resounding YES!

All data indexed by FamilySearch volunteers will continue to be made available for free to the public through—now and in the future. Access to related digital images may not always be free to everyone. Working jointly with other organizations ensures wider availability to improved indexes and provides a tremendous benefit to millions of people around the world who are seeking to connect with their ancestors. FamilySearch is committed to working with records custodians around the world to provide faster access to more records for more people.

Where possible, FamilySearch will seek to provide free public access to digital images of original records. Due to affiliate obligations, free access to some images may be available only to FamilySearch members (volunteers and indexers who meet basic contribution requirements each quarter, patrons at Family History Centers, and members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints who’s contributions support FamilySearch’s operations). FamilySearch members will also enjoy convenient access in their homes or wherever they have Internet access. (FamilySearch is currently developing its ability to verify that users are FamilySearch members for future home access. This expanded access should be enabled in 2009.)

The general public will have several options to access any fee-based images offered under FamilySearch affiliate agreements. 1) Home access will be free for FamilySearch members; 2) access is free through a local Family History Center or the Family History Library; 3) access is often free through the record custodian or archive reading room; or 4) for a nominal fee, the public can access the images on specified record custodian or commercial Web sites.