Last year I blogged about the Alien Case Files. (See my post in February, 2012) These files collected information on people who were aliens. The files are available through NARA for the years 1944-2003. They can contain valuable genealogical information of the people who registered with the government.
While preparing for my genealogy class on Friday, I accessed the ARC database via www.archives.gov. (ARC aka Archival Research Catalog is where the files were found.) As of August 15th the ARC database will be permanently shutdown. NARA is asking that you access records via the Online Public Access search engine, now called OPA. To see if it was any easier to use, I searched for the Alien Case Files in the new search engine.
Reaching the OPA was much easier. You click on the first panel on the Archives.gov home page titled, "Research Our Records," and click, "Online catalog." It took me straight to the OPA page. There I was able to type in Alien Case Files in the query box. Like the former ARC search engine, it did take some time to load but not as long as ARC.
OPA displayed 503678 results with 280 online holdings. Just below the top three holdings were more links. The first link was to the same database that you had to hunt and peck to find in the old ARC catalog. The "search within this series" button is still halfway down the page but was larger to see and easier to use than the old ARC database. Typing in my search queries I found the results were displayed faster.
I didn't think I would find anyone in these files. I was surprised to see some of my grandparent's French Canadian relatives as well as my husband's German ancestors in these files. They are worth a look even if you don't think your family may not be included.