Are you seeking expert assistance in locating or researching NARA records? The team at Golden Arrow Research has decades of combined research experience with the record holdings of NARA and we are on-site at NARA research facilities nationwide on a daily basis. Aside from our most popular, proprietary research process which enables us to rebuild the service history of US military veterans whose service records were lost in the 1973 fire, we also offer expert research services of the wider NARA records holdings. Whether you are seeking expert assistance with NARA records for a large project or simply need assistance with a project of smaller scope, we can help!
What NARA records can our research experts help you to access?
Click on a link below to request expert research assistance with a specific record series:
Are these NARA records available for free online?
The answer to this question is, in most cases, no. While there are many records that are digitized and available on the internet (some of them on paysites), the vast majority of NARA holdings are actually not digitized or online. The holdings of NARA are fairly vast, accounting for billions of the nation’s archival records and audio/visual media. Because of the wide array of record holdings at NARA, it is unlikely that all of these records and special media holdings will be digitized in our lifetimes. Most of the NARA records that are online today are the ‘low hanging fruit’ stored at the archives such as finding aids and other indices. These are in many ways just superficial fragments of the larger NARA records holdings that are physically stored at the research facilities. Because archival holdings nationwide are so vast and complicated to access, it is highly advisable that you use an expert to assist you with your NARA records search.
Knowing when it is time to approach an expert in NARA records
Once you have covered the ground seeking digitized records online you will likely realize that the records you truly need are physically stored at NARA and are not yet digitized. The first option is to travel to NARA to conduct the research yourself. This can be a rewarding experience if you know what you are doing. In-person research can however be rather daunting for someone who is not a research expert and you may find yourself overwhelmed. If you plan to conduct research yourself, it is highly recommended that you understand exactly how the research procedures work at NARA.
There is the danger that when you carry out research at the NARA yourself, and you do not have the proper experience or understanding of the organizational structure of the NARA record holdings for the period you are researching- that you will miss important details that are vital for your project. It is no fun to spend the money on travel to the NARA facility, and on room and board and then have to go back and spend more money later on to have a NARA research expert go back and make sure nothing has been missed (this is also a danger when you hire an inexperienced researcher or fly by night online research company).
Why hire a NARA records expert
If you do not have the funds for travel to NARA (including lodging and expenses), or you are researching NARA records that are going to be very time-consuming or complicated, then it is highly recommended that you hire a NARA records expert to help you out. A NARA records expert can get you digital scans of the same records( including high-resolution scans of photos and artifacts if they are available) often for the same price or less than going directly through the much slower government ordering process. (Keep in mind that the government charges a fee to duplicate archival records for you, usually about .80 per page) So, you may actually save a bundle of money and in most cases, you will get more swift and satisfactory results when you use a NARA records expert such as those on the team at Golden Arrow Research. If you are currently ‘hitting a wall’ with your research project then it is probably a good idea to at least consult with a NARA records expert to see if they can assist you and make your life a bit easier!
Choosing the right NARA records expert
There are numerous research companies that offer research services on the internet. Make sure that you connect with a NARA research expert that specializes in the area of research that is your project’s focus. You can normally get a good idea of the focus area by browsing their site, seeing past client referrals and even viewing examples of their past work. Because there are so many different options online it can be challenging to determine which NARA research expert is a good fit for your needs. This selection process can be a bit of a minefield so be sure that you are able to see numerous referrals and reviews to ensure that the NARA research expert you select has the proven experience to get you the results you need.
Here are some helpful tips:
1. Make sure that the NARA records expert that you hire is going to be personally on-site conducting research on your behalf. You need to have a reliable and experienced expert who can work with the original records and roll with the punches in real-time during the research process. This is especially true if you are hiring someone who is working by the hour! For those who are experienced with NARA research policies and procedures, it is well known that the research process is much more complicated than simply photocopying a few pages. Being able to adjust course when the research process hits a snag can mean the difference between failure and success. Make sure that the NARA records expert you choose can actually put their hands on the NARA records you need to be researched.
2. Find out the experience level that your NARA records expert has acquired over the years. You don’t want to end up paying for an inexperienced researcher to conduct their research training at your expense. It takes years of experience to navigate the billions of record holdings at NARA and you should make sure that the NARA records expert you select has the background to locate and research the records you are looking for. One of the major pitfalls of hiring a researcher without expert knowledge of NARA’s holdings is that you may end up having to hire an actual expert to go back and do it all over again! It is always best to get the job done right the first time.
3. Come to a contractual agreement on the cost of your research project. Some NARA records experts have set fees for certain projects and others charge by the hour. I have seen hourly billing fluctuate as much as $15 to $100 per hour. Typically those who have greater experience tend to charge more per hour. This is because their expertise allows you to get more bang for your buck. The one pitfall here is that you want to be wary of those who charge a very low hourly fee but who may not know what they are doing. At the end of the project, you might pay twice as much because it takes that person ten times longer to complete a project that a true NARA records expert could complete in a fraction of the time.
Golden Arrow Research
One of the most efficient, reliable and cost-effective research companies is Golden Arrow Research. After nearly a decade of experience in research of NARA records from military records to archival government documents, Golden Arrow has upheld a standard of excellence that few can match. Their team consists of expert researchers, ex-Department of Defense military-research contractors, and military historians. The unrivaled knowledge of NARA research procedures, U.S history, and the decades of combined experience in researching NARA holdings ensures that the quality of research and attention to detail far exceeds what any other NARA research company can offer you. The team of NARA records experts at Golden Arrow Research is physically on-site at the NARA research rooms where they perform research in person, every day.
How to contact Golden Arrow Research
If you would like to inquire about a hiring Golden Arrow’s team of NARA experts you can reach them through their website here: Contact a NARA records expert
Or fill out the form below to request a free consultation about your proposed NARA research project: