World War II Escape and Evasion Reports Nearly 3,000 reports are part of a series containing information on escape and evasion activities and training of U.S. soldiers serving in the European theater during World War II. Within these records, you will find dramatic and gripping first hand accounts of survival from U.S. soldiers in Europe during World War II. Learn more.
"Confederate Slave Payrolls" During the U.S. Civil War, the Confederate Army required enslavers to loan their enslaved people to the military. Throughout the Confederacy from Florida to Virginia, these enslaved people served as cooks and laundresses, labored in deadly conditions to mine potassium nitrate to create gunpowder, worked in ordnance factories, and dug the extensive defensive trench networks that defended cities such as Petersburg, Virginia.
To track this extensive network of thousands of enslaved people and the pay their enslavers received for their lease, the Confederate Quartermaster Department created the record series now called the "Confederate Slave Payrolls." Learn more.
We introduced new research tools and shared strategies for online research:
Donated Collections Explorer In addition to Federal records, the National Archives holds collections of donated historical materials, many of which pertain to and illustrate historical activities of the United States, or document a significant program or activity of the U.S. government. To help you navigate the universe of records held at the National Archives, we are excited to introduce the third in a series of online finding aid tools: the Donated Collection Explorer! Learn more.
Education Resources Whether you are a teacher or a learner in an online or in-person environment, the National Archives has an abundance of resources for students and educators. Our Educator Resources web page contains information and resources on working with primary sources, free distance learning programs, professional development, civic education, and more. Learn more.
Navigating the Catalog Did you know the National Archives Catalog contains over 159 million pages of digitized historical records and more than 27.6 million descriptions of the records in our holdings? And new pages and descriptions are being added to the Catalog each week! With so much information and material available to search, we are excited to share updated Catalog Help pages with new instructional videos to help you navigate the Catalog and make the most of your research online. Learn more.
History Hub special edition Are you stuck in your historical research? Have you hit a wall in your genealogy quest? Find your answer on History Hub! We invite you to explore History Hub, our pioneering crowdsourced history and genealogy research community. Make History Hub your first stop! You can ask—or answer—questions on History Hub, or see if your question has already been answered. Learn more.
We commemorated several important historical anniversaries:
100th anniversary of the Tulsa Massacre The Tulsa Massacre of 1921 was one of the worst instances of mass racial violence in American history. The violence centered on Tulsa’s Greenwood District (also known as “Black Wall Street”), a commercial area with many successful Black-owned businesses. In 24 hours, hundreds were killed, thousands displaced, and 35 city blocks were burned to ruins. The attack on Black Wall Street included the first aerial bombing of a U.S. city.
The American National Red Cross provided relief to many victims of this massacre. The Tulsa Chapter compiled reports and a photo album relating to their management of the disaster relief effort, showing riot scenes, devastated areas, National Guard troops, destroyed homes, dead victims, and massacre survivors in temporary housing. Learn more.
20th anniversary of 9/11 This year marked the 20th anniversary of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks on the United States. As the nation’s record keeper, the National Archives holds many records related to the events of September 11, including the 9/11 Commission Records, 9/11 Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Records, and more than 50,000 photographs from White House photographers capturing the horror and heroism, the courage and compassion surrounding the attacks. Learn more.
80th anniversary of Pearl Harbor On the morning of December 7, 1941, Japanese bombers and torpedo planes staged a surprise attack on the U.S. Pacific fleet anchored at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, propelling the United States into World War II. Within the holdings of the National Archives, you will find records chronicling U.S. military history and battles, including photographs, video footage, maps, ship plans, and other records related to the events of Pearl Harbor. Learn more.
Citizen Archivist Mission History
And we unlocked history! Thanks to our online volunteers, more than 1 million pages in the National Archives Catalog have been enhanced with your tags, transcriptions and comments this year. All of your contributions help improve search results for our records and make handwritten or difficult-to-read text accessible for a wider audience. Thank you!
Want to see more of the Citizen Archivist Missions you’ve worked on? Curious about the kinds of missions we’ve done in the last few years? Check out our Mission History page. On this page we list our previous missions so that you can review the records from previous projects. In a few cases, we still need some help completing the transcription or tags, so review the list and help us out. Did you have a favorite Mission this year? Let us know!
Top 50 Contributors of 2021
A big THANK YOU to each of our contributors! We look forward to unlocking more history together in 2022. And a special shout-out to our top 50 contributors this year:
Happy New Year from all of us at the National Archives. We wish you a wonderful, peaceful holiday season.