Archives I, Day 2

by Linda Okazaki

My second day at Archives I was again a huge success. I arrived at 9:30 and quickly went through security, began in the microfilm area to ask questions about military pensions, ordered files for Lorin Lyon Curtis, Civil War, and for Amos Calkins, War of 1812 in time for the first record pull of the day.

While waiting for those records, I perused books in the library on Japanese American research. Though there was a limited selection of very old books, I gained additional information from the librarian, a California native. Nancy gave me the email for Rebecca Sharp, an  archivist with strength in Japanese American records. Though Rebecca was not available at the archives that day, I will contact her for further information, particularly about Sasanji Okazaki who returned to Japan permanently before World War II.  In the consultation area, it was suggested that I contact the United States Cizenship and Immigration in order to better track the arrival of Sasanji who has continued to perplex me. I have’t found his original immigration documents. I know that he left Japan around 1898. He may have arrived in Canada, Washington, California or elsewhere. He also travelled back to Japan twice, in 1915 and in 1929. From those passenger records I found his Alien Registration number. I hope that between NARA and USCIS I will be able to track down any alien records and additional documentation related to the life of Sasanji Okazaki.

My Japansese research had come to an end at the archives, at least for now, but my pulled military records were ready to view. Lorin Lyon Curtis, a third great grandfather, had a complete Civil War Record documenting his service as a Corporal in the 38th Iowa Infantry. The file of fourth great grandfather Amos Calkins was equally revealing as it included his pension request, the widow’s pension request and a bounty land request. Unfortunately for Amos, his initial pension and bounty land requests were denied as he only served 27 days in Steven Tappan’s New York Militia during the War of 1812. However, his wife, Thankful, did receive a widow’s pension and was actually overpaid by $96. Searching for these military records proved to be both rewarding and simple. When I return to Archives I in a few months, I will be prepared to review the military records of additional ancestors.