Some people eat, sleep and chew gum, I do genealogy and write...

Sunday, December 23, 2018

Alaska State Archives: Wonderful Local Sources for Genealogical Research
I have actually had questions about research in Alaska. My former home state of Arizona was the 48th state and has some of the same genealogical challenges as Alaska. Both have sizable Native American populations and both have populations that are, for the most part, born somewhere else. Alaska does have one of the most recent, if not the most recently established state archives in the United States. Here is a quote from the website.
The Alaska State Archives was established in 1970 and opened its doors to the public in 1972. The State Archives preserves permanently valuable government records that document Alaska's history and makes these records available to its clients in a secure, professional and responsible manner. The State Archives' serves both the citizens of Alaska and state agencies that create and administer public records. The Records & Information Management Service (RIMS) consults with state agencies to create records retention and disposition schedules for both permanent and temporary records. Staff administer two records center storage and service contracts for over 130,000 cubic feet of non-current state records.
Governments do produce a lot of records, but perhaps a little perspective is in order. One smaller Federal agency, the Records of the National War Relations Board (World War I), has 173,676 cubic feet of records and there are hundreds, if not thousands, of agencies that have more records than this one example some into the millions of cubic feet of records. I haven't given this example to belittle the records in Alaska, but to show that time and population really does increase the number of records. The current population of Alaska is about 739,795 (2017) about the population of Seattle, Washington, the 18th largest city in the United States.

The reality of genealogically important records is that it doesn't how big or small the repository, what is important is whether or not they have the records you are looking for. My question would be how do you know some of your relatives or ancestors did not live in Alaska. I know of at least one of cousins who was reported as living Alaska. What is important is that we know there is that possibility and what we can do to find the records if it turns out that we need them. But when they have the records it is wonderful. Here is the web page for conducting research at the Alaska State Archives:
Here is a summary of the record collections from the website:
Under AS 40.21.030 the Alaska State Archives preserves nearly 24,000 cubic feet of government records. The bulk of the State Archives’ holdings are State government records (1959-present) that document the work of State agencies (Office of the Governor, Department of Fish & Game, Department of Natural Resources, etc.), as well as the Alaska State Legislature. The State Archives also holds select District (1884-1912) and Territorial (1912-1959) government records, with the largest pre-1959 holdings consisting of District Court records (includes land records) and the papers of Alaska’s governors.
In this case, the Alaska State Archives has an advantage over other states. They use the most up-to-date methods for storing and making their records available. The Alaska Digital Archives has some of the most important state records.
Take time to become familiar with each of our state's archives. With our highly mobile culture in the United States, you could have relatives, like I do, almost everywhere.

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