25 January 2013

New & Improved USCIS History and Genealogy Notebook

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has created a new and improved Genealogy website including a page called the “Genealogy Notebook” -- a gateway to the history of the service, research guidance, records requests and much more.

Besides reformatting the “old site” to be more useful, the USCIS has also added some resources to help you as you request records:
  • Avoid Common Errors – helps requestors avoid mistakes that could cost them extra time and money.
  • Does My Request Qualify -- ensures that requesters are able to easily identify which Genealogy Program service would be the most beneficial to them
  • Research Guide -- provides information pertaining to Arrival and Nationality records organized by date, and provides valuable information about Historical USCIS topics and events.

Not familiar with immigration documents?  Besides reading the aforementioned Research Guide, check out the new “Image Galleries” so that you can see what the most common file types might include.

If you are researching an immigrant ancestor and are seeking their A-Files (Alien registration), C-Files, Registry Files and/or Visa Files, this is a great place to get started.  

Even if you don’t know which of these files are relevant to your immigrant ancestor, the website will tell you all about what these files are, what research value they have and how to request.

Did you find the website helpful or interesting?  If so, please share what you found most helpful.

If you have done a lot of immigrant/emigrant research, what advice would you share with someone just starting out who is seeking documents from USCIS?  

Editor's Note: USCIS was formed in 2003 when the old Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) was dismantled.  Just in case those who have been doing immigration research for a while wondered.

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