One of my favorite periodicals is no longer being published and I am thankful I did subscribe for many years. It’s still in my mind a lot and I do read it in print and online. The articles provide much background for historical and genealogical research. They lead me to understand some federal records in a different way and lead me to new source material.
The articles were written a decade or decades ago, but still stand the test of time. Some or all the records discussed may be better indexed, digitized online, and especially updated by other articles and lectures that are more current. Check Ancestry.com, FamilySearch.org, and other sites for some of these records and indexes today.
What is this periodical? It’s Prologue, a magazine published quarterly by the United States National Archives and Records Administration (NARA). Sadly, the last issue was the Winter 2017-2018 issue, Volume 49, Number 4. The first issue was in the Spring of 1969. That’s 49 years of the story of records at the various NARA facilities and some Presidential Libraries. The articles and editorials are written by people on the NARA staff, other government agencies, and some other experienced researchers.
Accessing the publication today.
- Many articles and issues from over the years are now free and available on the NARA website. https://www.archives.gov/publications/prologue
- Volumes 1-48 are free on HathiTrust Digital Library. https://catalog.hathitrust.org/Record/000640375
- Many issues are on Internet Archive https://archive.org/
- On the shelves at libraries, archives, and historical societies.
A handful of my favorite articles are listed below along with the URL for viewing them online.
- “The National Home for Disabled Volunteer Soldiers,” Spring 2004, Volume 36, Number 1, by Trevor K. Plante. https://www.archives.gov/publications/prologue/2004/spring/soldiers-home.html
- “By Way of Canada: U.S. Records of Immigration Across the U.S. – Canadian Border 1895-1954 (St. Albans Lists), Fall 200, Volume 32, Number 3., by Marian L. Smith. https://www.archives.gov/publications/prologue/2000/fall/us-canada-immigration-records-1.html (Look for other immigration and naturalization articles by Marian who is an expert on these. )
- “20th – Century Veterans’ Service Records. Safe, Secure – and Available,” Spring 2005, Volume 37, Number 1, by Norman Eisenberg. https://www.archives.gov/publications/prologue/2005/spring/spotlight-nprc
- “Bridging the Mississippi: The Railroads and Steamboats Clash at the Rock Island Bridge,” Summer 2004, Volume 36, Number 2, by David A. Pfeiffer. https://www.archives.gov/publications/prologue/2004/summer/bridge.html
More found on the NARA website, https://www.archives.gov/
- Topical index to Genealogy Notes sections of Prologue https://www.archives.gov/publications/prologue/genealogy-notes#civserv
- Archives of Previous issues by year and when published https://www.archives.gov/publications/prologue/index This page also includes the link to indexes for each year it was published back to 1982. That includes subject and author.
Cyndi Ingle who compiles the extensive https://www.cyndislist.com/ has a link to Prologue on the National Archives website under her U.S. National Archives category and directly to many of the specific articles under her a various subject and place categories.
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