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Citizen Archivists – Heroes at Home

by | Apr 2, 2020 | News

Not all heroes wear capes or masks – you can be a history hero by becoming a Citizen Archivist. (Bill Giduz photo)


Did you know you can support the National Archives from the comfort of your own home? You can. The program is called Citizen Archivists. The following material is from the National Archives.

In the last few months we’ve had many new subscribers to our newsletter. Welcome! Every other week we use this newsletter to share historical records from NARA’s holdings, demonstrate Catalog functionality, and provide ways to volunteer as a Citizen Archivist to enhance the records in the National Archives Catalog.

We have many volunteer opportunities to transcribe and tag historical records. This work can be done online from any computer, anywhere, at any time. You can do as little or as much as you want. Everything helps!

If you are new to transcribing, take a look at our Register and Get Started page to sign up for an account, and we also we recommend visiting our Resources page on our dashboard. This page contains step-by-step instructions, as well as video tutorials and guides to walk you through the process.

Visit our Citizen Archivist Missions page anytime where we always have missions and individual records to work on. We update this page on a regular basis, so check back often to see what’s new.  Ready to start tagging and transcribing? We’ve curated these topical missions to help you jump in and contribute! Click on a topic that interests you, and it will bring you right to those historical records in our Catalog. Tagging and transcribing makes these records more accessible to everyone. New missions are added and updated regularly, so check back often to see what’s new.

Look at this variety of missions available to Citizen Archivists:

  1. Civil War Documents: Help transcribe the 409 page Disapproved Pension Application File for Hannah J. Fulkerson, Widow of 1st Lieutenant Abram Fulkerson. Was she actually a horse thief, a madam, and a Confederate sympathizer, or does everyone in the town just hate her? Find a page without a blue tag and start transcribing!
  2. Alaska Road Commission: Help transcribe appropriate acts, memos, correspondence, reports and more. The materials document the Commissioner of Roads’ policies and procedures in the formulation and implementation of the work of building roads, bridges, ferries, and trails in the Territory of Alaska.
  3. Amistad: Transcribe newly digitized materials from Connecticut Circuit Court and District Court case files related to the Amistad, held at the National Archives at Boston.
  4. Franklin D. Roosevelt Master Speech Files: Transcribe public statements, speeches and addresses delivered by Franklin D. Roosevelt during his lifetime. The speeches range from a 1898 school debate on the annexation of Hawaii while Roosevelt was a student at Groton School to the draft of the April 13, 1945 Jackson Day address that Roosevelt never delivered because of his death the day before.
  5. Historical Films of the U.S. Army Signal Corps: Help transcribe the production files and shot lists accompanying these historic films.
  6. Recommendations for Employment, 1861 – 1867: Transcribe correspondence concerning employment at the Schuylkill Arsenal in Philadelphia. Most of the records are letters of recommendation by various politicians and other notable citizens for individuals seeking jobs at the Arsenal, primarily during the Civil War. The majority of the applicants are women who had relatives in the Union Army.
  7. Award Cards, 1942 – 1963: Help us transcribe this large series of index cards for awards that include the Purple Heart, Air Medal Decoration, Commendation Medal, Distinguished Service Cross, and Distinguished Flying Cross. Information included consists of: name, service number, rank, general order number, order date and issuing organization, award type, date awarded and more.
  8. America’s Scenic Byways: Tag details in features you find in these photographs of 150 roads located throughout the United States designated as National Scenic Byways or All-American Roads. Can you find a photograph from your town?

Register to become a Citizen Archivist.

If you decide to support this program, let the NoD team know. We would love to hear about the opportunities and challenges you face.


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