It will come as no surprise to anyone who’s visited us or checked our Microtext Catalog, but we have quite a bit of National Archives microfilm. We have all federal census from 1790 to 1930 and all Soundex or Miracode films, of course, Freedmen’s Bureau records, major passenger lists, Native American material, and a great deal of military records, but we do not have everything that is available on microfilm from the National Archives and Records Serivice (NARA). For example, we don’t have "A3405: Crew Lists of Vessels Arriving at Ashtabula and Conneaut, Ohio, 1952-1974" or "A3423: Passenger and Crew Lists of Airplanes Arriving at Brownsville, Texas, January 1943-September 1964." Would you even know that these items existed?

And what if you wanted to know about the people who were nominated for positions with the Customs office in Port Townsend, Washington? Would you know that NARA produced "Nominations: Letters From the Collector of Customs at Port Townsend, Washington, to the Secretary of the Treasury, 1865-1910” on microfilm? Would you know to check "M217: Attorney Rolls of the Supreme Court of the United States" for to see if an attorney had been admitted to practice before the Supreme Court?

The Genealogy Center is in the process of scanning all of the National Archives and Records Service Microfilm Publication Guides to help you know what treasures might be available from the National Archives that The Genealogy Center does not own. Each guide tells how many rolls of microfilm are in the set, a brief history of the event surrounding the set, how the set is arranged and what is included.

Of course, these guides are also helpful for learning about a set that The Genealogy Center does own. For example, The Center owns "Series M4: Letter Book of the Creek Trading House 1795-1816." The guide tells me that it is a single roll of microfilm, containing handwritten copies of letters sent by the agent of the trading house for the Creek Indians. It explains that Congress was in charge of regulating trade with the various Native American tribes, and that each trading house was in the charge of an agent with the authority to direct commerce in that area, and that skins, furs and other goods were shipped and sold. The Creek Trading House was in Georgia, and the guide also names the various agents, or factors, and the years they were in charge before it was sold to the Creeks. The guide also identifies related records that might be useful to researchers.

There are already more than 500 of these guides available off of The Genealogy Center’s home page. Click on “Pathfinders” them go to “National Archives Finding Aids” to explore these great resources.