If you are unable to physically visit an archives that holds the only copy of something you need, consider other ways to potentially access that information: call them, email them, write them a letter. Many archives will communicate with patrons who are unable to visit onsite. Recently I’ve obtained digital copies of materials by email communication with archival staff in Colorado and Nebraska.

A few reminders:

  • Be polite.
  • Try and be specific in your request.
  • Do not send rambling emails with extraneous information–the archivist is there to help you find a document not a solution to your personal problems.
  • View online inventories and finding aids, if available.
  • Use online indexes and databases, if available.
  • Be patient–you are not the only patron.
  • Images or copies of records may not be free.
  • Ask if there is something on the record you do not understand. The archivist may be able to give you a quick answer or refer you to someone else.
  • The archivist is also under directive to preserve the records.




No responses yet

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Get the Genealogy Tip of the Day Book
Get the More Genealogy Tip of the Day Book
Recent Comments