Yesterday, several members of the Southern California Genealogical Society (SCGS) and I had a private tour of the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) at Riverside. The Regional Archives (formerly in Laguna Niguel, CA) moved to the new facility at 23123 Cajalco Road, Perris, Riverside County, CA in 2010. This location will better preserve records for coming generations, at more affordable cost to the government and taxpayers. All holdings are open for on-site research at their new research room and are available to the public.
The tour was conducted by Kerry Bartels, an Archives Specialist at the facility. We were taken into two secured areas. One was a processing room where some digitalizing and preserving of records were performed. The second area was one of the warehouse bays that was temperature controlled at all times. There were rows and rows of ceiling high metal shelves of archival boxes that held thousands of files of original federal and regional records. Mr. Bartels explained the process the records go through once they arrive at the facility.
After the tour, we met him in the training room for a mini talk designed to show genealogists how they can use the National Archives website to determine what records are in the National Archives would be of use in their particular family research. He'll be teaching a two hour class on this very subject at the SCGS Jamboree in Burbank, Saturday, June 11th. I highly recommend, don't miss it! NARA website is not user friendly. Once you learn how to navigate, you'll be able to order file copies of your own.
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