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What would you digitize from the National Archives?

We are nearing Footnote’s first birthday. In the past 12 months, we have grown our collection from 4 million to nearly 24 million images.

One of our partners, The National Archives recently released an introduction on digitization at the National Archives. NARA states:

The strategic plan says that NARA will work to digitize selected records, including those most requested by researchers, and will put searchable descriptions of all our holdings online.

So, of all the collections held within the National Archives, which ones do you want? What time periods, historical events, or regional information interest you?

A good place to start researching what NARA has is through their ARC database.


  1. For now:

    ARC Identifier: 656399

    Title: Cemetery Relocation Files, 1937 – 1985

    Creator: Tennessee Valley Authority. Resource Group. (? – ?) (Most Recent)

    Type of Archival Materials: Maps and Charts
    Photographs and other Graphic Materials
    Textual Records

    Level of Description: Series from Record Group 142: Records of the Tennessee Valley Authority, 1918 – 2000

    Location: NARA’s Southeast Region (Atlanta), Morrow, GA

    ARC Identifier: 566754

    Local Identifier: 142100KQ

    Title: Topographic Quadrangle Maps, 1977 – 1994

    Creator: Tennessee Valley Authority. Geographic Information and Engineering (ca. 1963 – ca. 1995) (Most Recent)

    Type of Archival Materials: Maps and Charts

    Level of Description: Series from Record Group 142: Records of the Tennessee Valley Authority, 1918 – 2000

    Location: Cartographic and Architectural Records LICON, Special Media Archives Services Division, College Park, MD

  2. ARC Identifier: 616171
    Title: Record of Headstone Contracts and U.S. Soldiers’ Burials, 1861 – 1903

    Microform Publication Available: M1845, Card Records of Headstones Provided for Deceased Union Civil War Veterans, ca. 1879 – ca. 1903

    An extremely valuable resource for identifying the burial location of Civil War veterans. It often includes deaths dates – handy for a time period when death records are incomplete at best.

    A search on “headstones” in NARA’s ARC database turns up several other similar series of headstone records that would be similarly useful.

    Dare I even mention the Civil War pension files? 🙂

  3. Thanks for the suggestions Matt and Teresa.

    @Teresa, I would love to see more maps and charts available too. I love looking at old maps and charts from around the world.

    @Matt, the good news is that we are currently working on getting the Civil War Pension Files on the site. In partnership with NARA and FamilySearch, you should start seeing some of the files soon. The process will take a little longer than normal because all of the scans are from the original paper files—neat isn’t it. Read more about it here on NARA’s website

  4. Naturalizations done in Federal Courts; non-population schedules from the censuses; land office records. All these would illuminate the growth of the U.S. during the 19th and early 20th centuries.

  5. I am looking forward to to seeing the Civil War Pension files put on this site! It has been great to access the Rev. war pension and military service files. Does NARA have records on the Whiskey Rebellion, Shay’s Rebellion and similar events in early US history? These would be great resources to have also as they illustrate the early struggles to become a unified nation.

  6. I would like to see the War of 1812 pension files. The pension files are a fantastic asset to researchers. These pension files are full of genealogical data, and are currently only available through the National Archives. I also look forward to the Civil War Pension files.

  7. In addition to the Civil War Pension Files (can’t wait!!), I would have to suggest the Naturalization Papers for all regions, and all years. I’ve been enjoying the Massachusetts ones, but wish they started before 1906. Finding my tree names as witnesses has been great.

  8. ARC Identifier: 616171
    Title: Record of Headstone Contracts and U.S. Soldiers’ Burials, 1861 – 1903

    ARC Identifier: 655674
    Title: Papers Relating to Female Nurses in the Civil War, 1861 – 1865

    ARC Identifier: 593326
    Title: Civil War Regimental Casualty Lists, 1861 – 1865

    ARC Identifier: 655646
    Title: Carded Medical Records of Volunteer Soldiers in the Mexican and Civil Wars, 1846 – 1865

    ARC Identifier: 611129
    Title: Register of Appointments in the Veteran Reserve Corps, 1863 – 1865

  9. War of 1812 Records/Pensions
    World War 1 Records/Pensions

  10. These are all terrific ideas for content. We’re glad that people are visiting the Footnote site, and that they care enough to tell us how to make it better for them.

    In my role, which includes suggesting content priorities, your suggestions carry great weight. You’ll find that we don’t comment in detail about publication plans, and we hope that you don’t feel like your comments go for nothing.

    We hear you, and are grateful for your time and your contribution.

  11. War of 1812 soldiers, including Militia.
    War of 1812 bounty land applications.
    War of 1812 pension applications.

  12. War of 1812 Muster Rolls
    War of 1812 Land Bounty Applications
    War of 1812 Pension Applications

  13. NARA Records Group 80-G. There are TONS of World War Two US Navy photos – ships under repair, under refit, in combat, etc. Its a regularly seached records group, but with much yet to be uncovered, so I have to think it would be a popular addition.

  14. War of 1812 pension files
    none population schedules such as agricultural schedules
    Civil War Pensions(actual pensions-not just index)

    I look forward every day to seeing what is new and have recommended Footnote to numerous people who have signed up.

  15. Civil War Pension files (waiting semi-patiently :>)

  16. The Einwandererzentralstelle (EWZ) records. This series includes personal information on more than 2.1 million individuals who applied for Reich citizenship from 1939-1945. The records were captured at the end of the war. They’re an amazing resource for people researching that area, but using them is difficult unless one can visit College Park. For more info, see: and

  17. The surviving agricultural schedules for the 1850-1880 censuses.

  18. I echo the requests for War of 1812 records and all non-population census schedules.

  19. I want to echo the requests for The Foreign Pork Reports, 1931 – 1937.

    ARC Identifier: 1065470
    Title: Foreign Pork Reports, 1931 – 1937
    Level of Description: Series from Record Group 83: Records of the Bureau of Agricultural Economics, 1876 – 1959

    Waiting Anxiously…

  20. I have been waiting years to sink my teeth into the Foreign Pork Reports as well.

  21. First I want to thank for the opportunity to comment on proposed record inclusions. And I’d like to thank for the wonderful collection of records that is already available.

    My wish list:

    Revolutionary War Naval Service Records (both the compiled service records M880, and the original rolls)

    Civil War pension application files

    War of 1812 pension and bounty land warrant application files

    War of 1812 rolls – both Army and Navy

    1850-1880 Federal Census Mortality Schedules (please digitize from originals. The current microfilms are unusable, at least for West Virginia counties)

    Federal Census Agriculture Schedules

  22. I would love to see the Homestead Records digitized. I found an ancestor’s citizenship papers in his homestead file at the National Archives.

  23. I would love to see the Union Civil War pension files; the Tennessee, Mississippi, and South Carolina Confederate Soldiers cards.

    Also would like to see War of 1812 pension files;

    World War I death records- if such exists


  24. You have started the compiled service records for Confederate soldiers from Mississippi. How I sincerely wish you would finish them. My cousin is writing a book on our Civil War ancestor and I am helping with the research. Every male, of age, in our Civil War ancestors family was in the Civil War including his son-in-laws and their records have not been added yet. We desperately need those records. Impatiently waiting for them!!!!

  25. Pennsylvania Vital Records

  26. I’d love to see more records related to the US Regulars before and during the Civil War.