Friday, September 27th we began our research at the National Archive. Despite excitement being high, we faced some real difficulties with our first research session. Some of the records we were looking for were missing, some did not have the information we were hoping for, and some appeared to be mis-numbered. Most of these problems, however, are because archival research, especially at the national archive, is a very different methodology, and, in the process of doing this research, we will learn how to do it as well. I only needed a handful of files from my boxes, but others in my group were able to go through larger sections of information at once. That being said, we were able to find most of the individual cases we were hoping to examine, adding to our list of examples of persons entering the United States through El Paso while afflicted with disease. However, even more cases were pertaining to the deportation of Mexican persons with diseases, a majority of the ones I found pertaining to syphilis and trachoma. While a great deal of the information I looked through will not be as useful for the overall project, we at least have those files marked down now for potential examples later on.
I am hoping to find more information on the medical examination process at that port of entry the next time we go to the Archive to further expand our paper and maintain the proper focus on the port of entry and process, not just the people coming through. This will likely mean more preliminary research before we go back in October. We will need to re-group, re-organize and come back next time better prepared to take on the sheer massive volume of information with additional files to request. In the meantime, we need to sort through the information we do have to determine what will be the most useful moving forward.