NARA- NY- Concerns With Potential Reduction In Research Area

The following is a summary of an unofficial report shared with a nationally prominent professional genealogist which raises concerns about potentially losing the New York National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) office as an important repository for research.

NARA-NYC will move in approximately eighteen months to about 5000 square feet over two floors in the Customs House.

Only about twenty percent of the current collection at 201 Varick Street, textual and microform will go to the new location in the Customs House. All or most textual material will go to a storage facility in northeast Philadelphia and will have to be transported to New York City for researchers, as off-site textual material in Lee Summit, Missouri, is now.

Among the textual material to be retained in the new space will be the federal court naturalization petitions not microfilmed and the federal court records docket books, but it is not clear if the originals of microfilmed naturalizations will be retained.

"Non-regional" microfilm will go to NARA-Pittsfield (Massachusetts).

The following may also be in the future plans when moving NARA's NY office:

Certifications of records on microfilm will have to be requested from Pittsfield.

The new space will be primarily for visitors to see exhibits. There will be a few computers and, apparently, some microfilm readers and reader-printers.

The microfiche indexes of New York State vital records will evidently go to the new space, together with associated printed material and microfiche readers.

Nothing has been mentioned about the fate of NARA-NYC's library, including
published census indexes and so forth.

There may be a "public meeting," it will only be to tell us NARA's plans- [Public meetings are different than public hearings]

The move will include increased display space that NARA will have in the Customs House with the need to reduce the research collection because there will not be adequate space. NARA staff appears to believe there is reduced researchers using the facility which warrants the reduced research capabilities.

If the above plans prove to be true, researchers will truly lose access for certification of records for legal matters, local access to microfilms and original textual records that are still necessary even though there is much online--as occasionally pages are missing from the on-line census records or other pages may not be scanned and they prove to be of value for our research.

Jan Meisels Allen
IAJGS, Director-at-large
and Chairperson, IAJGS Public Records Access Monitoring Committee



  2. The National Archives at New York City is moving to the Alexander Hamilton U.S. Custom House at One Bowling Green. We are very excited about this move and believe that our new location will help us better serve our customers.

    We are aware there are several Internet postings about our move, and some of the information is incorrect. We have posted information about the move on our web site at We will be updating this web site regularly, so please check back periodically to learn the latest information about our move.

    We will also be holding public meetings at the Custom House at One Bowling Green on May 4, 2010 to discuss the upcoming move. Details will be posted on our web site.

    If you have any questions about the move or our new location, please contact me via e-mail or telephone 212-401-1626. You can also call our main number toll free at 866-840-1752 and ask to be transferred to my extension x11626.


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