National Archives in Fort Worth, Texas.

National Archives in Fort Worth, Texas.

The National Archives’ website claims:

“Laid end to end, the sheets of paper in our holdings would circle the Earth over 57 times!”

And that doesn’t include the photographs, films, maps, charts, or 3.5 billion electronic records they have stored.  Yet, after a whole day of scrolling through rolls of microfilm in Fort Worth, Texas, I was unsuccessful in finding a copy of a signed Petition which is referenced in my book.  I was told by a woman who works there, and who is very familiar with the archives, that said copy probably does not exist.   I was also informed that of all the records created in the course of business by the United States Federal Government, only 1 to 3% was considered important enough to be kept forever.   I’m trying to imagine how many times their holdings would circle the Earth if 100% of the records had been kept.

The trip to Texas wasn’t a total loss, however.  I gained another valuable lead and had a great time hanging out with two of my kids in Texas.  And, of course, we took a little detour to Ada on the way home.

While my book is officially finished, my research continues on.

 Said one British woman to another during breakfast at the hotel in Fort Worth:

“They HAVE grape jelly in America!  In America.  They haaaaave grape jelly!!!”