Genealogy Research Network

Forensic Research Services


Federal Records Lectures

Bankruptcy to Equity: Using Federal Court Records:

Was Grandma a bootlegger? Did Grandpa pay his taxes? Records of the Federal courts are among the National Archives’ largest holdings-and yet some of the least used records. Open a new chapter of your family history and discover little known branches in your family tree as the records of the Federal Court system are discussed in detail.

Records of Invention: Searching for your Ancestors in the U.S. Patent Office.

The right to protect inventions is guaranteed by law under the United States Constitution. The records of the United States Patent Office are often overlooked by genealogists as source of new information. Patents historically have been both legal and scientific and contain information about everyday persons that are located in this group of records. In addition to the Patent Office of the United States-patents of the Confederate States of American (1861-1865) during the Civil War are examined. This lecture focuses on ordering Patent Case files, Assignment Docket Books, Law Suits arising from Patents, and Records of the Official United States Register.

The New Deal: Putting Genealogists To Work: 

Out of the various New Deal programs of the 1930’s came an abundance of historical records used by genealogists today. The New Deal came in response to the great depression focusing on the “3 Rs” of Relief, Recovery, and Reform. Genealogists today can use the many documents within the various programs to record the personal experiences of their ancestors who lived through the Great Depression and sought help from the Federal Government.

Genealogical Research in the Customs House Records:

The U.S. Custom Service was created in 1789 with the responsibility for collecting duties on imports, registering vessels, and enforcing the law governing seamen and ships’ passengers. The eastern coastline was divided into districts, each jurisdiction keeping its own records. Many such records created by this department are useful to genealogists.   These records date from the early years of the republic-and include records of Naturalization, Passengers Lists, Crew Lists, Seaman Projection Certificates, among other related records. Discover your family history in these great resources.

Postmasters, Letter Carriers, and Railway Clerks: Genealogy Records of the United States Postal Service:

Was your ancestor a mail carrier? Did they serve as postmaster? The Postal Service can trace its roots to 1775 during the Second Continental Congress; where Benjamin Franklin was appointed the first Postmaster General. Officially created in 1792; and elevated to a cabinet department in 1872; and finally transformed in 1971 to an official Government agency. Records of the United States Post Office are an overlooked genealogical pathway worth the efforts to search. Many details about family members who may have worked with the postal system from the earliest listings in Federal records are available to researchers nationwide. Learn to conduct primary research at the National Archives where most of these records are stored.


Shepherd University-Lecture 2006