Senate Panel Clears Bill Creating Database For Civil War-Era African-American Records

This week, the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee marked up a bill (H.R. 390) directing the National Archives to create an electronically searchable database of historic records of servitude, emancipation, and post-Civil War reconstruction contained within federal agencies for genealogical and historical research and to assist in the preservation of these records.

The legislation requires the National Historical Publications and Records Commission to provide grants to states, colleges and universities, and genealogical associations to preserve records and establish databases of local records of such information. The bill authorizes $5 million to create the searchable database and $5 million to the NHPRC for the grants.

H.R. 390 already passed the House in January 2007, and is now ready for floor consideration in the Senate.