This database indexes instructions and despatches the Department of State in Washington, D.C. sent to consulates outside of the United States. The Department categorized these instructions and despatches as Official Correspondence. MAGS will update the database periodically as volunteers examine and index a new consulate’s records.
For the most part, these instructions and despatches records relate to the administrative functions of the consulate. There can, however, be documentation of people. The Department and consulates corresponded with each other about pensioners; people at odds with local German officials; issues of citizenship (including issuing passports); estate matters; and people who lodged a complaint against a consular employee. On occasion the Department asked a consulate for additional data about a person or a topic, e.g. death reports the consulate submitted for American citizens, more details on a complaint against consulate, or information about the whereabouts of an American. Frequently a consulate would ask the Department for information to help the consulate solve a problem; these records contain the Department’s replies.
Information in a Search Result
This name-searchable index helps you access the records. The search results provide the following information for each person indexed: The person’s name; the instruction’s or despatch’s date (and instruction or despatch number when there is a number); a synopsis of the document’s topic; the consulate to which the Department sent the document; the document’s length (the number of pages); the consulate’s volume number in which the document was filed; and the volume’s National Archives Identifier (NAID). Note: You will need all of the citation information the index provides in order to examine the original records.
If you want additional information consult the detailed text guides on the MAGS members-only website for the consulate’s records you want to examine. The expanded information for the correspondence from the Department either in a separate guide for consulates with a great deal of incoming correspondence, such as Mannheim and Kehl, or incorporated into the main guide for the consulate, for example Karlsruhe and Mainz.
Accessing the Records
The indexed documents are not on the MAGS website. The database is a tool to help you find documents relevant to your research. The records are in the custody of the National Archives in College Park MD as part of Record Group 84, Records of Foreign Service Posts of the Department of State. They are not available on microfilm or digitally on-line. The database provides the information you need to request to review the original documents.
Consulates Included in this Database