FOIA Advisor

Q&A: Over the river and through the woods

Q&A (2017)Allan BlutsteinComment

Q.  My grandmother died 8 months ago and I want to know if I can find her record.

A.  The federal government does not maintain a single repository of records from which it can search for documents on any individual.  Rather, federal agencies maintain separate systems of records.  Therefore, if you wish to locate records about your grandmother from the federal government, you first must figure out which agency might maintain records about her -- for example, U.S. Customs and Immigrations Services, Social Security Administration, etc.  See the website for guidance on how to submit a FOIA request.  For maximum access, you will need to include evidence of your grandmother's death with your request.