A few years ago, I tried to get my maternal grandparents’ visa records. I was told nothing was available from the 1950s.
Last week, I got a response from National Archives in College Park, Md., that a one-page immigration record was found. The archives employee sent me the record for free by postal mail.
It was disappointing to receive a record I already had in my files. But then the letter enclosed gave me new hope to find my grandparents’ visa records.
A chance exists that their visa records could be in Washington, D.C. The archives employee gave me an address for an office of the Department of State that could have them.
The search for my grandparents’ visa records should be simple if they still exist. My mother gave me her family’s records that included my grandmother’s tiny visa. My grandfather’s visa is missing but his number must be near my grandmother’s.
Visa records are a great source of information. They can give immigrant’s picture, name of arrival vessel, date of arrival, profession, parents’ names and addresses, towns lived since 14 years old with dates, names and birth dates of spouse and children, names of employer and close relatives in the USA, years of education and first address in USA.
There is a small chance that National Archives could have visa records for my grandparents. The archives employee will search for my grandparents’ records in College Park. With knowing the consulate city for when my grandparents applied for immigration, the employee can check the records.
National Archives doesn’t have visa files past 1940 but maybe my grandparents’ records were left with the earlier visa records. I can’t get the records from USCIS Genealogy Program because the program covers the period from 1924-1944.
So I am putting some hope on the notarized letter I sent to the Department of State will bring me some luck, in case the archives employee at College Park doesn’t find the visa records.
National Archives lost my grandparents’ Alien Files, which detail immigrants’ process for immigration and naturalization. So I am trying put my own alien files together on them piece by piece.