Records that have been created recently are difficult to find and access. Some privacy laws protect, and hinder, our being able to find more recent birth, marriage, and death records we need. Here are some tips for finding these and other genealogy records not yet online.
Recently, Tom in Olympia, Washington wrote us with a question about how to find recent genealogy records that are not online yet.
“My wife’s mother was adopted in 1925. We have found her biological mother’s name and through Ancestry.com, I’ve found several bits of information about her from census records. She also was a crew member on three steamships in the 1930s. On two of the ship manifests, her U.S. passport numbers are listed. Do you know any search options for finding information from passports in the 1930s?”
Maybe you have had a similar question. We hope our answer helps everyone more easily find genealogical records that are not online yet.
Obtaining Recent Passport Application Records
Tom will be interested in obtaining a passport application record which may hold more information about his targeted ancestor. As Tom already discovered, U.S. passport records are online at Ancestry and FamilySearch, but only those records prior to 1925.
My original hope was that the National Archives Records Administration would have had the passport application records for the 1930s. I googled passport applications National Archives, and the first search result took me to an excellent article. I learned the U.S. State Department has passport applications on microfilm between the years and dates of 1795 to 1905 and January 2, 1906 – March 31, 1925. Sadly, these were not the years Tom was looking for.
To find information about passport applications in the 1930s, I needed to go another route. I opened a new window and googled U.S. State Department passport applications request copy. The first search result took me right to the page I needed. The Passport Services maintain the U.S. passport records from 1925 to the present. These records are protected by the Privacy Act of 1974.
Passport records in this time frame for a third-party person are processed under the Freedom of Information Act. These records need to ordered by mail. Tom can make a request in writing and send that request to:
U.S. Department of State
Office of Law Enforcement Liaison
44132 Mercure Cir
P.O. Box 1227
Sterling, VA 20166
I suggested he mention his desire for the information is for genealogical purposes and what his relationship is to the person in question.
Using the Same Strategy for Other Recent Genealogy Records
Remember, this same kind of strategy applies to other genealogical records you might be looking for that were created recently. You can use Google searches and follow-up phone to find out where more recent records are and the access policies.
As an example, a recent Indiana marriage license index can be searched and viewed online for free at the Public Access records website for the state. I found this little goody by googling Indiana marriage records.
All of us at Genealogy Gems adore having the opportunity to find and share solutions like this one for overcoming the problem of locating recent genealogy records that aren’t online. If you haven’t done so already, sign-up for our weekly newsletter for more tips and tricks. Oh, and write to us anytime with your genealogy questions! We love to hear from you!
More Gems on Recent Genealogy Records
Other recent genealogy records in the U.S. are also available via the provisions of the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA). Click here to read about them! They include post-World War II draft registrations, immigration and naturalization documents and Social Security applications (SS-5).