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
and Chairperson, IAJGS Public Records Access Monitoring Committee