If you’ve been looking for a creative outlet during these days of social distancing, the National Archives and Records Administration may just have what you need. They’re requesting help transcribing historical records — including an important slice of TVA’s history — through their Citizen Archivist program.
NARA is the nation’s record keeper, and a real treasure trove for those interested in history. Besides preserving some of our country’s most important records (think the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution) NARA also retains many other documents important to private citizens, such as military, immigration and naturalization records.
One of the collections available is the TVA Family Removal and Population Readjustment Case Files, 1937-1948. When TVA built our hydroelectric projects, we sent caseworkers to homes and businesses to gather data about folks who would be impacted — often relocated — by these construction projects. These records provide a glimpse of how different families lived, capturing their level of education, where they worked and worshiped, as well as other important data. The information is a goldmine for genealogists and other researchers.
While the National Archives is headquartered in Washington, D.C., there are branch repositories scattered across the country. Most of TVA’s historically significant records have been transferred to the National Archives facility in Atlanta, Georgia.
“There are tens of thousands of pages in the TVA Family Removal series that are ready for transcription, tagging, and comments,” said Maureen Hill, archivist at the Atlanta facility. She went on to add the importance of this type of crowdsourcing work, saying “It adds value to the records by improving access and searchability. And it’s fun!”