National Archives' Elizabeth Burnes Offers Genealogists, Biographers, and Historians A Rich Source of Information: Federal Alien Files

Missouri Valley Sundays
Elizabeth Burnes of the National Archives at Kansas City shows  how enterprising genealogists, biographers, and historians can access a trove of records – visas, photographs, applications, affidavits, and official correspondence – kept by the government while tracking arriving immigrants since the 1940s.
Sunday, June 7, 2015
Program: 
2:00 pm
RSVP Required

The federal government has been keeping tabs on foreign visitors to these shores for decades. In 1940 the Immigration and Naturalization Service began issuing each of them an Alien Registration number, and in 1944—in the midst of World War II—began to use this number to create individual case files called Alien Files or “A-Files.” They contain all records from any active case of an alien not yet naturalized—visas, photographs, applications, affidavits, and official correspondence—gathered as the individual passed through the U.S. immigration and inspection process.

Archivist Elizabeth Burnes of the National Archives of Kansas City shows how the enterprising genealogist, biographer, or historian can access this treasure trove of information. The National Archives preserves and makes available to researchers more than 450,000 A-Files for individuals who were born in 1910 or earlier, many of them with direct connections to this area.

Elizabeth Burnes works for the National Archives at Kansas City, located near historic Union Station, and serves as the lead archivist for “A-Files” reference. Her talk is part of Library’s monthly observance of Immigration Heritage Month.

A progam of the Missouri Valley Special Collections, the Missouri Valley Sundays series is made possible in part by a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Thu, 05/28/2015
Courtney Lewis,816.701.3669
National Archives' Elizabeth Burnes Offers Genealogists, Biographers, and<br>Historians A Rich Source of Information: Federal Alien Files

(Kansas City, Missouri) - The federal government has been keeping tabs on arriving immigrants for decades, issuing each an Alien Registration Number since 1940. Four years later, in the midst of World War II, it began using those records in the creation and maintenance of individual case files called Alien Files - or simply A-Files.

Archivist Elizabeth Burnes of the National Archives at Kansas City shows how genealogists, biographers, and historians can access those files - a trove of visas, photographs, applications, affidavits, and official correspondence - on Sunday, June 7, 2015, at the Central Library, 14 W. 10th St. Her illustrated lecture, Alien Files: Researching Immigrant Ancestors at the National Archives, begins at 2 p.m.

The presentation is part of the Missouri Valley Sundays series, a program of the Library's Missouri Valley Special Collections made possible in part by a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities.

The event also is part of the Library's observance of Immigrant Heritage Month.
The National Archives preserves and makes available to researchers more than 450,000 A-Files, a number of them on individuals with direct connections to the Kansas City area. Though creation of the files began in 1944, documents and other information may be much older than that, in some cases dating to the subject's birth.

Many records were compiled up to the time of any final action - deportation, permanent resident status, or citizenship - related to the individual.

Burnes serves as the lead archivist for A-files reference at the National Archives at Kansas City. She worked previously at the Harry S Truman National Historic Site, Missouri History Museum, Herman T. Pott National Inland Waterways Library, and Harry S. Truman Presidential Library and Museum.

She earned a bachelor's degree in history at Truman State University and a master's in history and museum studies at the University of Missouri-St. Louis.

Admission to the event is free. RSVP at kclibrary.org or call 816.701.3407. Free parking is available in the Library District parking garage at 10th and Baltimore.

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