Consulates performed a host of services for American citizens. They verified invoices for business and personal goods shipped to the United States, ensured compensation for damaged merchandise, obtained information from local sources for American citizens, certified signatures, and issued passports. Since they charged a fee for this work, the Department of State established guidelines for consulates to follow and prescribed specific volumes that the consular staff was to use to record their actions and the fees they collected.
Even knowing these facts, financial records may seem boring and difficult to use. Do not underestimate them; they can be a fantastic source of information for family historians. They can document when your ancestor was abroad, when he or she visited a Foreign Service post, document the nature of the business, and tell you how much doing that business cost. These are useful details in fleshing out your ancestor’s life. If your ancestor sought assistance from a foreign service post to certify a document from a local official, needed a passport, gave a local person power of attorney, had an estate matter to handle, etc., these volumes may be your only source of information. It is important to note that your ancestor did not have to register at a consulate or correspond with Foreign Service personnel to be documented in these volumes.
This database includes a transcription of the information in the Agency’s three financial records volumes. It provides you the NARA catalogue ID number (the NAID) for each volume, the volume number, the page in the volume, and the line on which the information appears. For additional information see the article by Chris Carter, “Wiesbaden Consulate: Fee Book and Invoice Books” Der Kurier 33: 1 (March 2015): 1-9.
NARA Record Group 84, Records of Foreign Service Posts of the Department of State
· Volume 1: Fee Book, February 12, 1901 – February 8, 1917 [NAID #1328628]
· Volume 16: Invoice Book, February 12, 1901 – June 26, 1907 [NAID #1328643]
· Volume 15: Invoice Book, June 26, 1907 – June 29, 1912 [NAID #1328642]
Note on the volume numbers: The information on the volume numbers is correct. The volume number is an artificial number NARA assigned the volumes when NARA moved the records from the National Archives Building in Washington, DC to College Park, Maryland. During that process volumes were not always on the shelf in pristine order. The result was that in some instances the volume numbers do not reflect the chronological content of the volumes.