(Some information updates on Camp Kilmer (1956) genealogical research and the Military Museum in Budapest.)
Hadtorteneti Intezet es Muzeum is closed until the 26th of August (summer break?) I confirmed this when I called Budapest on Thursday at their main phone number. Be advised there is not always someone available that speaks English. The phone numbers listed on their website are for various departments which in different buildings.
Main phone number: (for dialing out of the U.S.): 011+36 (1) 325-1600 FAX: 011-36-1-325-1601
Address: 1014 Budapest, Kapisztran ter 2-4 Main e-mail: email@example.com
Various other e-mail address and contacts are found at their website for the different departments. http://www.militaria.hu/hadtorteneti-intezet-es-muzeum (if I remember correctly, it might be viewed in English also, if not Google Chrome will translate it.) The gentleman I received the response from was at the: 1076 Budapest, Verseny u. 12. (site). His e-mail is: firstname.lastname@example.org
Camp Kilmer/1956 Research:
Before I go into this next section of updates I want to personally thank Amy from NARA, who was assigned, my request for review. She went above and beyond to help me find anything in there records on my father; and believe me there is TONS of boxes and sadly some mislabeled. She was very prompt in her email replies and even took time to answer some of my questions on the phone! In saying that, she was able to find and photocopy 3 “index” cards which had my father’s name, birthday, date of arrive and what looks like a manifest/index #. If you are new to researching these type of records here is some pointers: (FYI: NARA=National Archives Record Administration)
- Locate Passenger Manifest: At various free and pay sites on the internet. Not everyone who left in 1956, arrived in 1956 (mine in 1957). If your ancestors arrived in New York, the passenger list would be “New York, Passenger Lists 1820-1957.” The reason this is important to find, if you plan on doing research on Camp Kilmer records, a starting point for a records search would be good. Unless of course you plan on visiting the various holdings and searching ALL the boxes yourself. (**Most departures are from Salzburg/Bremerhaven, Austria**) (From Camp Roeder) (listed as: Intergovernmental Committee for European Migration Austria Mission
- Various Records-Various Holdings: Not all records are held at the National Archives in D.C. College Park Archives (website online for information) stores records/indexes from Camp Kilmer too, as well as audio and visual recordings. This is the same with other locations. Visiting NARA’s main website will allow you to view the index of archived material, see what is available, at which site and maybe online in one of their data bases.
- Camp Kilmer/Operation Mercy: Arrivals were by air and sea. Some via military transport ship., example: USNS General Hahn. The manifest (MSTS List) I have from that vessel is different from other manifests I have viewed. The information is minimal, but provides an INDEX number and arrival date that should match “punch” cards, etc. for the Kilmer records; needed for research. If you are lucky, some records have photo identifications attached (RG338).
- Immigration/Naturalization Files: Gets a little complicated here; for me anyway. Searching for these records are conducted in different ways depending on arrival date. Lets break this down. Record group: (RG-85, Records of Immigration & Naturalization 1787-2004) (Citation/sources for passenger manifest-Records of U.S. Custom Services Group 36, National Archives, Washington DC)
- Camp Kilmer Identification cards can list “A” numbers (Alien #) Everyone (technically) is assigned a unique alien number which = alien file=lots of information. (313.6 Records, Camp Kilmer Refugee Center, Part II, HRC2)
- USCIS (United States Citizenship and Immigration Services) has a program that offers help to those interested in family genealogy research. Two ways to do this. The first way is by “Index Search Request,” via a form and a fee to start. This will tell you if there is a file on your ancestor. (more details at website). Some RULES do apply; what they have, do not have and what falls under the genealogy program criteria. A few examples: Naturalization Certification File 1906-1956, Alien Registration Record 1940-1944, Visa File 1924-1944 and A-File (NUMBERED BELOW 8 MILLION). <—see that last part? My father’s has 8 digits, clearly above 8 million, but I’ll get to that in a minute. If you meet the criteria outlined on their website and have a number (5 different types), then you can request a “Record Search Request,” via a different form with a fee. (both has their pro’s and cons, and either download/mail or online is available) (Forms: G-1041/G1041A) Please read the USCIS website carefully! http://www.uscis.gov
- FOIA: (Freedom of Information Act) Remember the 8 million number from above? If the number A-File number you have falls in that group, it means you have to request the record(s) through the Freedom of Information Act. This is usually necessary for genealogy records less than 100 years old. Other items like proof of death is necessary too, the same goes for the USCIS search. The “Department of Homeland Security” is the agency to request these records through. Either by filing out a form or by letter (standard mail). Their site has all the specifics along with fees; there is a link from the USCIS site.. (Form: G-639, Freedom of Information/Privacy Act Request)
Last but not least I know this might seem a little overwhelming and frustrating when trying to research old records and archives, so keep in mind one step at a time. Every piece of information is like pieces to a puzzle which will eventually fit together. It does not/and can not be done over night so patience is necessary. Remember that depending on where you live local libraries and colleges have collections on historical and genealogical records; often I find them in the most unlikely places. A quick example, which I almost forgot to include is when I requested a copy of my father’s social security application. After receiving the copy through the FOIA, I found out for the first time about Camp Kilmer. It listed his residence at the time of the application! The SSDI is online and easily accessible; the forms for the FOIA request are there too; download, print, fill out and send with a small fee.
So why do I do this besides glutting for punishment? It’s a quest to preserve my heritage and history. Documentation for the memoirs I’m writing; all stories have a beginning and an end and maybe in my earlier life I was Sherlock Holmes? We all have our reasons! Kati~
P.S. Sorry I have not posted very much as of late, I’m attempting to get over some bug I caught last week. :-) Have a great weekend everyone, and don’t hesitate to ask any Hungarian related genealogy question if you have them! I’ll update more online link resources when I can…in the meanwhile just “Google” the keyword; always works for me!