Want Microfilm from the National Archives? Good Luck!

I just spent way too much time trying to nail down a specific roll of microfilm that I might want from the National Archives. The search procedure is not one for mere mortals. Turns out the Archives (www.archives.gov) has about 100 sets of microfilm that one can either request images from or purchase outright. The list I saw gave the record group number, but no way to search for anything more precise. I thought I’d found the right spot when linking to “The Catalog”, and going to “Advanced Search”; apparently I was wrong. The form asks for things like file format, location, date(s), creator and description identifier, none of which I could answer. I’m still unsure about the “microform search tool” that they offered. Thankfully, many of the films are “available by partners”, like Ancestry.com and Fold3. There is the possibility that what I’m looking for is not available in their microfilm, but after this experience, I’m going back to more familiar territory! If anyone out there has used this service successfully, I’d love to hear about it!

Emily Schroeder

About Emily Schroeder

Greetings to everyone who’s into genealogy! I’m Emily Schroeder, and I’ve been at Maine State Library since 1980. My latest incarnation has transformed me into the genealogy specialist, which means I get to visit other libraries and do genealogy workshops, have classes onsite, teach adult ed., write newsletters, join genealogy groups, and generally try to keep myself “in the know”. I’m hoping that through this blog we can share ideas, review resources and databases, and maybe introduce something new to readers in the genealogy field. You can always e-mail me at: emily.schroeder@maine.gov.