NARA and Unveil New Civil War Digital Records Today

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NARA and Unveil New Civil War Digital Records Today

A press release from NARA:

In celebration of the 150th anniversary of the Civil War, the National Archives and will host a special press-only announcement and preview of online Civil War records that will be made available for the first time outside of the National Archives. The newly digitized records will be made available to members on April 6, 2011, and will be free to the general public for one week beginning on April 7.

A goal of the National Archives is to migrate online as many of its extensive Civil War holdings  as possible. Today publishes the first in a series of Civil War records that have been digitized from original paper National Archives records.  The new Civil War collection is highlighted by the Consolidated Lists of Civil War Draft Registration Records, 1863-1865. These nearly 275,000 records are among the most heavily-used records for research in the National Archives Civil War holdings and were previously only available by request in original form at the research center. The public will now be able to easily access these records online without having to travel to Washington, D.C.

At a press-only event today, two historians will talk about these records. Filmmaker Ken Burns will recount a significant Civil War-era family discovery he made from using National Archives Civil War records. Author Cheryl Wills will speak about the impact of these records for her critically acclaimed book, “Die Free” which tells the story of her great-great-great grandfather, Sandy Wills, who escaped slavery to fight as a member of the United States Colored Troops.
No word from NARA about televising this, but I’m hoping perhaps C-SPAN will be there. In the meantime, click here for the link to Ancestry’s Civil War records.