Over half of an estimated 100,000 to 500,000 documents accumulated in Russian consulates throughout the U.S. in the late 19th and early 20th century are believed to be case files on Jewish immigrants to the U.S. The documents, left behind when the Russian consulate in the U.S. was closed following the 1917 Russian Revolution, were discovered by chance in the 1970’s at a storage center of the National Archives.
Indexing of the documents is well underway; the Jewish Genealogical Society of Greater Washington has recently sought contributions from Jewish Federations in several cities to complete the project. The Society anticipates that when it is finished, individuals in search of their family’s past will be able to scan a printed index for names of people whose case files are in the collection. Microfilmed documents will be available at the National Archives, as well as Mormon libraries throughout the country. (JTA)