2 Replies Latest reply on Jul 24, 2020 10:24 AM by Jason Atkinson

    Seeking grandfather's Japanese internment records


      I am having a hard time finding archival records of my grandfather's arrest and internment. He was arrested in Seattle and at some point was incarcerated at both Lordsburg, NM and Santa Fe, NM. Is a FOIA necessary to obtain this information? If so, how and to what branch of the government do I submit a FOIA for these records? Thank you.

        • Re: Seeking grandfather's Japanese internment records
          Susannah Brooks Pioneer

          You do not need to make a FOIA request.  The records are available on Ancestry.com.  The final reports appear at https://www.ancestry.com/search/collections/2982/  If you look at the lower left of this page you will see two additional sets of records regarding Japanese-American internees that are also available on ancestry.

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          • Re: Seeking grandfather's Japanese internment records
            Jason Atkinson Ranger

            Dear Mr. Okain,


            Thank you for posting your request on History Hub!


            Santa Fe was an Immigration and Naturalization Service Enemy Alien Internment Facility.  National Archives staff will need to check if there is an INS case file for him at the National Archives Building in Washington, DC.  The records are subject to privacy restrictions. Since you are not the subject of the file, please mail a written request to the  National Archives at Washington, DC - Textual Reference (RDT1), Room 405, 700 Pennsylvania Ave., NW

            Washington, DC 20408-0001.


            Your written request should also include the following information:

            • notarized permission in writing from the subject granting you permission to see their case file (if the subject of the file is still living)
            • you can provide proof of death such as a copy of a death certificate, Social Security Death Index listing, or obituary (if the subject of the file is deceased)


            If your grandfather also was interned at a War Relocation Authority (WRA) Relocation Center, then he should be listed in the database Records About Japanese Americans Relocated During World War II, created, 1988 - 1989, documenting the period 1942 - 1946 that is available online through Access to Archival Databases. For instructions on using this database, please review Search the Database of Japanese American Evacuees (Record Group 210).


            If he was at a WRA facility, he may also be listed in the final accountability roster that Ms. Brooks noted in her response. The Ancestry database Final Accountability Rosters of Evacuees at Relocation Centers, 1942-1946 that Ms. Brooks referred to you to is derived from the National Archives record series in Final Accountability Rosters of Evacuees, 1944 - 1946 in Records of the War Relocation Authority (Record Group 210). Portions of these series have been digitized and are available online for free through the National Archives Catalog, however at present the records available through the Catalog are not as complete as those on Ancestry.  There may be a fee for accessing these records on Ancestry. Some libraries offer free access to Ancestry to their patrons.


            If he shows up either database, then this would indicate that there should be a WRA evacuee case file for him. The case files are not available online. To request these, please submit a separate written request for a copy of his WRA evacuee case file by printing, completing, and sending your completed order form to RDT1 (the mailing address is the same as listed above). You can download an order form at WRA Evacuee Case Files.


            If you have additional questions about the INS and WRA records, please contact RDT1 via email at archives1reference@nara.gov.


            Lordsburg was an enemy alien camp that was run by the Department of Justice (DOJ). Therefore, there may be a file for him in World War II Japanese Internee Cards, 1941 - 1947 and Class 146-13 (Alien Enemy) Litigation Case Files and Enclosures, 1938 - 1962 in the General Records of the Department of Justice (Record Group 60). To request a search of the DOJ records, please contact the National Archives at College Park - Textual Reference (RDT2)  via email at archives2reference@nara.gov.


            Due to the COVID-19 pandemic and pursuant to guidance received from the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), NARA has adjusted its normal operations to balance the need of completing its mission-critical work while also adhering to the recommended social distancing for the safety of NARA staff. As a result of this re-prioritization of activities, you may experience a delay in receiving an initial acknowledgement as well as a substantive response to your reference request from RDT1 and RDT2. Also, please note that the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) has suspended reproduction and digitization services until further notice due to COVID-19. Orders will not be serviced until operations can resume safely. Once operations resume, document reproduction requests will be filled in the order in which they were received. We apologize for any inconvenience.


            We hope this is helpful. Best of luck with your family research!