The National Archives and Records Administration USA

Discussion in 'Research Material' started by Drew5233, Mar 29, 2018.

  1. Drew5233

    Drew5233 #FuturePilot Patron 1940 Obsessive

    Hi all

    Do any forum members offer a file copying service at NARA or know anyone that offers this service. I'm searching for someone else.

  2. Trux

    Trux 21 AG Patron


    I tried for some months to find a way of accessing NARA documents and photos but failed. If you succeed let me know. I might even hire your services. I did access Fold 3 documents which are good for US Navy and D Day.

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  3. OpanaPointer

    OpanaPointer Pearl Harbor Myth Buster

  4. OpanaPointer

    OpanaPointer Pearl Harbor Myth Buster

    Some people offer retrieval services. You might want to check the NatArch. prices before committing to the third party people.
  5. SDP

    SDP Incurable Cometoholic Patron

    Might be worth asking the same question over on the sister USA Forum if you haven't done so already and also on I can ask on your behalf if you are not registered with them.
  6. Tricky Dicky

    Tricky Dicky Don'tre member

    Another link here for NARA, Mayland - The National Archives at College Park, Maryland

    I have tried to gain access to files in NARA, and initially you need to find out which NARA building holds the files you need.

    I ended up goping through a list of possible researchers Independent Researchers Available for Hire some will do some initial research but the detailed research and copying does become expensive

    Good Luck



    I requested a quote from NARA and their response was :

    consisting of approximately 1000 pages which includes lists and some associated correspondence. We appreciate the fact that some people are unable to travel to Washington at this time and thus we offer limited assistance to researchers by mail. To take advantage of this assistance, researchers must limit the size of their requests, order complete files rather than individually selected documents, and pay our current fee for electrostatic (paper) copies which is $0.80 per page with a minimum mail order fee of $20.00.

    One researcher I contacted gave me:
    I have over 25 years experience researching records at the National Archives. I charge $55.00 per hour. The Archives charges me $0.25 per page copying/scanning. I require $110.00 deposit for the first 2 hours before I start.

    The next problem when this guy looked into the file ref NARA gave was:
    All is not lost, I have only been through one box of dozens, and the
    only reason I'll pulled this box is because it was in the citation you
    provided. Your data may be here, but probably not in this box.

    To conclude the info I was after was possibly in 1 of 8 boxes, so 1000 pages per box, start calculating the cost for something that MIGHT be there
    Last edited: Mar 29, 2018
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  7. Gary Kennedy

    Gary Kennedy Member

    I tried them a little while ago for a long list of US Army Tables of Organization I'm still trying to get hold of. I asked them if they could narrow it down to which site they were at so I could at least ask a researcher in the same state what it might cost; still waiting for an answer!

  8. PsyWar.Org

    PsyWar.Org Archive monkey

    It's much harder locating and ordering items from NARA. Not everything is catalogued and what is catalogued might refer to a folder in a box or several feet of shelving.

    Also accessing material is more time consuming. When I was there in 2013 you could place five orders a day and was a two step process. After finding something in the catalogue or paper finding aid, you then had to consult albums in a room at NARA to find the shelf location and stack the item was stored in.

    One order could only have items from the same stack if I remember correctly. However, you could order a cart full of boxes in one order.

    It works well if researching a particular group of files but very time consuming if wanting a lot of different things. That obviously affects how a commercial researcher can operate there.

    I had been toying with offering a similar service as I do with Kew but by taking pre-orders and visiting once or twice a year for a few weeks at a time. It just was not a viable proposition unless someone wanted a very large amount of information from the same source.

  9. Mori

    Mori Active Member

    I suppose I have been in contact with the same researcher. No need to give a name, but the "25 years experience" is enough to recognize who this is. I definitively recommend to avoid this individual, whose knowledge, expertise and ability to think by himself is extremely limited.

    Except if you only want a few pages, truth is it is cheaper to travel to NARA than to go through an independent researcher. Budget from Europe is ca. EUR 1500 (flight+lodging+rental car) for a 4 nights / a week of work on location. If you copy, say, 3000 pages per day, which is intense but not crazy, cost is ca. 0.1 EUR/page. Not to mention you don't copy what is useless.
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  10. Reid

    Reid Junior Member

    I'd like to access some files from NARA as well, but as others have noted, it is quite confusing. The info on their site doesn't fill me with confidence - I'm not even sure if what I'm looking for is in a particular file or on microfilm, if at all.

    Cost is the greatest factor - I'd hate to hire a researcher and pay $$$ only to find the files don't exist or they weren't in the box/microfilm etc I expected.

    I've used as well - some great stuff in there, but there are a few particular ones I would still like to get copies of, which aren't on this site.

    Shall keep my eyes on this thread to see what transpires!
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  11. Mori

    Mori Active Member

    Well, the place itself is very convenient and the staff helpful. Easy to access, easy to work in, comfortable. No red tape whatsover even if you don't hold a US passport. I would even say their cafeteria is pretty good by US standards.

    One issue is there is no catalog online. I just found some listing all the documents for the Pacific related units. It was somewhere... on the Japanese national archives site. But I'm yet so spot an equivalent for ETO.

    That said, once you get there and check the folders, it's organized properly. The first key is the unit, then the Gs. The staff's solely mission seems to help visitors navigating these folders and they do that well.

    At some point I searched for "Force 163" (the HQ preparing the Anvil/Dragoon operation) and I feared it would be difficult to spot because it wasn't a numbered unit. But checking the catalog I quickly found the relevant entries in the unit which took over their task, US 7th army.
  12. hucks216

    hucks216 Member

    I have used their online ordering service as I needed a few of their German rolls. The cost was $130 per roll but that is regardless of whether the roll has 10 frames or 2,000. I haven't tried it but I believe they now provide the rolls digitally so you get them quicker via email (same price though I believe). If you know what section your rolls are in (i.e. T-78, T-315 etc) then it is fairly easy.

    I recognise the '25 Years of experience' tag line from somewhere but can't remember where but if it is not the following then might be worth a go. He offers a copying service of various prices but also has a lot of files available already copied for a fraction of the price (approx $20 each).
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  13. Reid

    Reid Junior Member

    A little too far for me to travel, but great to hear that they are helpful and no red tape for non-US citizens to access. It would be fantastic if they had an online catalog, but I won't hold my breath.

    Good to hear you found some info on Anvil/Dragoon - my grandfather was part of the convoys that transported troops from Sorrento etc, and that's an area I'd like to get some more info on. I was told by the wireless operator of their ship, that it was involved in a collision, but haven't been able to find any info on it.

    Look forward to hearing other's experience and how they're tackling access.
  14. idler

    idler GeneralList Patron

    I believe that's our member MLW. I have got my eyes on some of his stuff but I haven't bitten the bullet and ordered it yet.

    A big plus of the NARA stuff is that it is considered public domain, not TNA's waived crown copyright, which makes it more attractive for the occasional British documents that turn up there.
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  15. hucks216

    hucks216 Member

    That is correct. I have ordered from him in the past and the quality is good. I need to order more but likewise I haven't got round to it yet.
  16. PsyWar.Org

    PsyWar.Org Archive monkey

    NARA's online catalog is here:

    It is rather clunky but to be fair it is improving all the time. Accessing records on site is even more clunky but they are slowly digitising records which are free to download.

  17. Reid

    Reid Junior Member

    Thanks, Lee - I hadn't seen this prior, so perhaps my comment was a little harsh. I do agree access can be clunky, but at least records are starting to be digitised, which makes things much easier than 30 years ago.;)
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