21 December 2007

Marian L. Smith: West Coast tour, January 2008

An increasingly frequent movement among Jewish genealogical societies is to organize grouped visits for major speakers. This collaboration is always a fascinating process, as such tours may be grouped by state, region or a wider geographical range.

During January 2008, popular speaker Marian L. Smith, Senior Historian of the US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS, formerly INS), Department of Homeland Security, will speak at seven West Coast US Jewish genealogical societies and 2 NARA branches.

Smith's depth and range of knowledge never fail to impress her audiences, and she regularly lectures at national and international genealogy conferences - including the annual international Jewish genealogy event - on the history and uses of immigration and naturalization records. Her articles appear in the National Archives journal Prologue, the FGS Forum and other publications, while her research focus primarily involves official immigration agency records held in the National Archives in downtown Washington, DC.

"Documenting Immigrants to America, 1882-1954" is the topic for all her appearances.

The program will focus on immigration and naturalization records of a typical late 19th-early 20th century immigrant. Records at both the US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS, formerly INS) and the National Archives will be discussed. These include ship passenger lists, Board of Special Inquiry records, land border arrival records, visa files, legalization records, Alien Registration, and naturalization and citizenship record. A Q&A session will follow.

USCIS houses records documenting arrivals and naturalizations of millions of American immigrants. If you have an ancestor who immigrated after 1882 and was naturalized 1906-1956, USCIS may hold significant records for your family history research.

Smith will provide an overview of all types of records that were created and maintained over time, and how the records are distributed between the two agencies. She will also cover services and records becoming available through the new USCIS Genealogy Program.

Dates and times are as follows. Please see each genealogy society's website for details on location, directions and additional information.

Sunday, January 6, 2pm; Thousand Oaks, CA; JGS of Conejo Valley and Ventura County

Monday, January 7, 7.30pm; Los Angeles, CA; JGS of Los Angeles

Tuesday, January 8, 7pm; San Diego, CA; San Diego JGS

Sunday, January 13, 1pm; San Francisco, CA; San Francisco Bay Area JGS
Monday, January 14, 7pm; Seattle, WA; JGS of Washington State

Tuesday, January 15, 7.30pm; Portland, OR; JGS of Oregon

Wednesday, January 16, 7.30pm; Eugene, OR; JGS of Wilamette Valley, Oregon

This type of consortium activity was trailblazed by pioneer Jan Meisels Allen of California, when she organized the first 2004 US tour of Yale Reisner of the Jewish Historical Institute of Warsaw, on his visits to six JGSs (Toronto, Michigan, Los Angeles, St. Louis, New York City and Long Island).

An active Pacific Northwest consortium also brings speakers to JGSs in Vancouver, B.C.; Seattle, WA; Portland and Eugene, OR.

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