NARA Proposing to Raise Reproduction Fees Significantly

If you’ve been putting off ordering great-grandpa’s Civil War Pension file, it’s time to act. The National Archives is revising its fees for making copies of records. Below are the proposed prices for some commonly requested records:

  • Passenger arrival lists (NATF Form 81) $25.00
  • Federal Census requests (NATF Form 82) $25.00
  • Eastern Cherokee applications to the Court of Claims (NATF Form 83) $25.00
  • Land entry records (NATF Form 84) $40.00
  • Full pension file more than 75 years old–Civil War period (NATF Form 85) $125.00
  • Full pension file more than 75 years old–non-Civil War (NATF Form 85) $60.00
  • Pension documents packet–selected records (NATF Form 85) $25.00
  • Bounty land warrant application files (NATF Form 85) $25.00
  • Military service files more than 75 years old (NATF Form 86) $25.00

According to the notice: 

NARA invites interested persons to submit comments on this proposed rule. Comments may be submitted by any of the following methods:

   Federal eRulemaking Portal: http://www.regulations.gov. Follow the instructions for submitting comments.

   Fax: Submit comments by facsimile transmission to 301-837-0319.

   Mail: Send comments to Regulations Comments Desk (NPOL), Room 4100, Policy and Planning Staff, National Archives and Records Administration, 8601 Adelphi Road, College Park, MD 20740-6001.

   Hand Delivery or Courier: Deliver comments to 8601 Adelphi Road, College Park, MD.

24 thoughts on “NARA Proposing to Raise Reproduction Fees Significantly

  1. The government needs to realize that many of the people who are doing genealogical research are on fixed incomes primarily SS. To raise these rates could very well place that hobby out for their reach financially. It seems that anything that seniors do should be considered seriously before raising the prices to the point that they cannot afford to purchase the items that they need to use to document relationships and etc. This is one of the few hobbies that they can do from home or a library with a small expense now. That will not be the case if these price increase take place.

  2. I am sure the majority of people doing research on their families are in the older catogery of people ( senior’s) and are living on limited incomes. I don’t mind an increase for record’s, but NARA’s increase is too much. They should take this into consideration when they make changes. So many of us would never be able to travel to the Archives to look for the information they desire.Maybe we all need to contact NARA and voice our opinion.It sounds like they are trying to get people to QUIT using their service’s.

  3. Can you imagine if our living expenses were raised by that percentage? NARA might just as well tell us that they will no longer do it at all. For most of us, that is just what the end result will be if this price increase takes effect.

  4. I would not complain about the price increase for the NARA records if Social Security would go up by the same percentage! I think NARA is trying to get to the point that they do not send out anything. They should stop to think that if we do not request the information, they will be out of a job!

    I need four or five Civil War records now, but I cannot afford them all at the same time, even under the old rates. I will never be able to get them at the new rates.

  5. I would not mind an increase, but raising the fees 4x is kind of rediculous. For example, the current cost of getting a copy of a full pension is $37. NARA wants to raise this to $125. I understand that NARA needs money, but why don’t they try raising Everything (not just reproduction fees) by $1-5 instead of certain things by a whole lot?

  6. Records are supposed to be made available to the public. $125 will have the effect of removing them from public access. Why not make electronic copies and then charge a small fee to electronically access the file. Once the file is available electronically, all that is required is to maintain the site. No handling of paperwork is needed.

  7. These NARA fee increases are ridiculous! I purchased a copy of my GGGG grandfather’s Civil War pension recently. The price NARA charges now is very reasonable. But increasing these fees from $37 to $125 for a full pension would have discouraged me from even attempting to retrieve the record. That record helped me resolve a great deal of information that I wouldn’t have found elsewhere, but that information would have remained in the archives forever had the price been even $70. NARA needs to rethink this issue. The archives holds a treasure trove of information that even low income families have a right to retrieving. Don’t price this wonderful service out of the reach of the common citizen. If you have to raise the price… raise it to under $50, but don’t jump off the deep end and raise it so much the common people will no longer use the service or someone who doesn’t understand the service won’t take the risk to try it. Be reasonable, please!

  8. I am flabbergasted by the proposed raise in price for Civil War pension files. I am also outraged! I few years ago I wrote for a widow’s pension file. The name was not a common one and I knew additonal information to fill out every blank on the order form. In other words, it should only have taken a few minutes to locate that file. The quality of the copy I recieved was very poor by the way compared to a similar Civil War pension application file I recieved from the the Texas State Archives. It cost me less than a dollar (10 cents per page). I was just beginning to research our family and would never have spent $125 knowing that I might get almost nothing in return. The brief file that I did get from NARA broke things wide open for me and I later ordered a brother’s file as well (It was less than 10 pages). $125 is pretty steep to find out how many times someone answered role call.

  9. This is more or less my comment as well.
    5 Feb 2007 8:10 P. M. PST Don Albers

    The government needs to realize that many of the people who are doing genealogical research are on fixed incomes primarily SS. To raise these rates could very well place that hobby out for their reach financially. It seems that anything that seniors do should be considered seriously before raising the prices to the point that they cannot afford to purchase the items that they need to use to document relationships and etc. This is one of the few hobbies that they can do from home or a library with a small expense now. That will not be the case if these price increase take place.

    Comment by jhempel — 28 February 2007

  10. I, too, think a jump like that is outrageous!! I’m one of those that is on a very limited income. Paying $125 for a complete record would mean going with out something else. I was very fortunate to find lots info from the NARA records I would’ve never known otherwise. It was a tresure find!!

  11. I, too, feel that a better solution would be to digitalize at least the CW records and make them available for download. They are public records and a fee raise by 4 times is truly unreasonable. I don’t oppose reasonable fees or even a subscription.

  12. Folks, if anyone thinks anyone in Washington, D.C. cares or is interested in what everyday citizens think or perceive regarding price increases or rule revisions – think again. These people long ago forgot that they are there to sever the publc or who pays their salaries. It makes no difference to them if they ever get an inquiry or request for information – in fact, it would make their day if they got ZERO. Oh, and pleae, have a nice day.

  13. Hey you Reb descendants, I don’t blame ya’ll if you secede
    from the Union agin because of these proposed rates.

  14. I am with all of these other people who have left their comments and just wish to add my name and say ditto.

  15. Cannot believe this is true. This is part of our heritage. If NARA is strapped for cash, I have a solution. INstead of placing undue hardship on folks, just eliminate the untold millions going out to our bought and paid for (at the moment) friends around the world. After all, they are not our true friends..if they were, we wouldn’t have to bribe them to ‘like’ us. Fund NARA free of charge to Americans who have paid taxes for decades.

  16. Rebs aren’t complaining here. We obtain our civil war records from the state not the federal government.

    I too think this price increase is absurd and will notify my congresswoman as well as respond on the listed web site. I immediately ordered four civil war pensions yesterday and need several more. I had been putting this off as I thought $37.00 was high, but decided I would go ahead and bite the bullet.

    It was be nice if this information was available for download much like census records, WWI Draft Registration Cards, etc. What a treasure trove.

  17. I, too, got a wealth of info from my Great Grandfather’s Civil War Pension file! It was the first one I ordered from NARA. At $37.00 I really had to think twice (or more) before I ordered it. Then I held my breath while waiting to see if 1) they would find it and 2) how much would be in it. It really did crack open several brick walls! I am now waiting for my third file (which they couldn’t find two years ago). I had some further info so am trying again. At $125 I never would have ordered the full pension file. I probably would have ordered the condensed version but now I know I wouldn’t have gotten the info I did from the full version – lots of signed & notarized affidavits which gave a lot of info. I will be going to the site to comment on this and hope our voices will be heard. A raise is probably due after 7 years (remember, the government doesn’t support this so our tax monies are not helping here). However, 4x is too much!

  18. I am very disappointed in the NARA for such fee increase especially on something that should be public record.
    Many seniors have gotten many hours of pleasure from genealogy
    and many or homebound and unable to get out to find records, but them this is going the way of our goverment as well as many
    genealogy sites like anestery. com not many can folks can afford this fee hike if some of the genealogy website would lower their prices some it would be of help and yes I realize it cost to maintaine a site but some are out of sight.

  19. When I first started this hobby it was for myself, now the entire family appreciates the 31 years I’ve spent recording our family history. From William Brewster to 6 Rev. War veterans. I could never afford the ‘new’ price for 3 Civil War Records. Both of my husband’s G-Grandfathers were in the same Illinois Unit and my GG-Grandfather who died as a POW.
    Be reasonable, please.

  20. Genealogy is one of the passions of my life. I love it. Although, certain aspects are expensive. I also think NARA has a right to increase their fees, if they have been under-charging. However, any cost increase should be reasonable. That is all anyone can ask. Even though the current fees are a little high for me. Please use some common sense. These records are precious and we have a right to them.

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