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As 2021 draws to a close, we're taking a look back at some of the more engaging and intriguing questions that the History Hub community has fielded this year.  Several have been featured as our "Questions of the Week" and highlighted on the National Archives' social media accounts including Twitter and Facebook.


Do you have a favorite?  Vote in the latest poll: Select your Favorite History Hub Question of 2021 or suggest your own!


#5: Seeking Clayton's Guide or other guides to 1850s Oregon Trail

For anyone who remembers the old Oregon Trail video game, see this thread to locate sources and records from the actual Oregon Trail.

Oregon Trail

#4: What is the latest information on Amelia Earhart and Fred Noonan?

The disappearance of the pioneering aviator Amelia Earhart remains as compelling a mystery as ever.  History Hub has received several questions regarding her disappearance.

Amelia Earhart

#3: How to search U.S. Census records?

With the impending release of the 1950 U.S. Decennial Census, interest in Census Records is at an all time high.  Be sure to check out the series of blog posts in the Census Records community.

Census researcher

#2: When has the government used "Cannot Confirm or Deny"?

Also known as a "Glomar Response," this question explores the government's use of the enigmatic phrase "…we can neither confirm nor deny…"

Glomar Response

#1: Top Secret WW2 documents- still secret?

This user would like to know if donated collection of documents stamped 'Top Secret' were still considered classified.

Top secret


Thanks to the entire History Hub community for helping to provide answers, suggestions, and encouragement to all the users who have come to History Hub for help with their questions.  Your help is invaluable!

History Hub has received the Archival Innovator Award from the Society of American Archivists (SAA) for 2021. This award celebrates creative and impactful approaches to archives programs and outreach.

The National Archives History Hub provides “one-stop shopping” for crowdsourcing historical research, connecting National Archives staff with history experts and enthusiasts alike. The Hub uses an online, community-based customer service model to make historical research accessible, engaging and user-friendly. The platform has served a vital role throughout the pandemic, staying open and responsive to thousands of remote research inquiries and requests.

“Our Innovation Hub embodies the National Archives ideals of Open Government, access, and transparency,” said Archivist of the United States David S. Ferriero. “Together, we are a powerful voice for American history. This SAA award underscores that with new technology and such collaborative efforts, we are simply more than the sum of our parts.”

“In my 2009 Senate nomination hearing, I noted the defining moment for our agency with regard to electronic records, social media communications, and emerging technologies. As Archivist, I proposed a dramatic shift. Given the ever-growing volume of records, and increased demand on trained archival staff, I advised harnessing the collaborative power of the Internet in intriguing, easy, and fun ways, and encouraged passionate and enthusiastic individuals to find their niche and contribute their expertise. I’m elated that this has happened, grown, and been recognized.”

“The goal of History Hub is to provide user-centered reference in a collaborative, open environment,” said Pamela Wright, National Archives Chief Innovation Officer. “We are honored by this SAA award that shows we are making a difference. By drawing on the expertise within the National Archives, as well as the public and other institutions, History Hub continues to provide opportunities for richer, fuller responses than any single expert can provide.”

Kelly Osborn and Darren Cole manage and promote the platform, and archivist Rebecca Collier coordinates with reference staff. Numerous other National Archives staffers share their expertise on the Hub.

Learn more online:


The National Archives History Hub is the National Archives’ crowdsourced history research platform. People can get answers from multiple sources including National Archives staff, other agencies, and a community of citizen experts. Launched as a pilot program in 2016, it evolved into a platform that fielded 400 questions in FY 2017, nearly 2,000 in FY 2019, and over 3,000 questions in FY 2020.

The Society of American Archivists (SAA), founded in 1936, is North America’s oldest and largest national archival  professional association. SAA’s mission is to serve the educational and informational needs of more than 6,200  individual and institutional members and to provide leadership to ensure the identification, preservation, and use  of records of historical value. The SAA’s Archival Innovator Award was established in 2012.


A version of this post was originally published as a press release on the National Archives website.