This database indexes despatches consulates sent to the Department of State in Washington, D.C. The Department categorized these despatches as Official Correspondence. MAGS will update the periodically as volunteers examine and index a new consulate’s despatches.
Consular despatches are generally formal documents. They read like reports, and can contain details on what life was like in the consular district. Consular despatches also include information on individuals. When a matter rose to the level where a consulate thought the Department of State should be involved, consulates wrote despatches, which might include enclosures of other documents. Despatch topics could include death reports for American citizens; consular marriages; a consulate’s role in settling estates; intervening with German authorities on behalf American citizens; questions of citizenship; and processing pension payments for veterans living in the consular district. This name-searchable index contains to help you access the records and find citations to data on individuals.
Information in a Search Result
The search results from this database provide the following information for each person indexed: The person’s name; the despatch’s date (and often the despatch’s number); a synopsis of the despatch’s topic; the name of the consulate that sent the despatch; the National Archives microfilm publication number; and the number of the roll of microfilm on which the document appears. Occasionally there is additional information in a “notes” field.
If you want additional information you can consult the detailed text guide on the MAGS members-only website. There is a separate guide for every consulate’s records the database indexes. Each guide provides you with additional details and will help you further with your research.
Accessing the Records
The despatches are not on the MAGS website. The database is a tool to help you find documents relevant to your research. You need to examine the documents at the National Archives. The despatches, complete with their enclosures, are part of National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) Record Group 59, General Records of the Department of State. NARA microfilmed the despatches from consulates through August 1906 and published those documents on separate publications by consulate. That microfilm is available in the Microfilm Research Room in the National Archives building in College Park MD, also known as Archives II. The records are generally arranged chronologically on the microfilm. The data in the index provides you with the information you need to access the microfilm.
Consulates Included in this Database