Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Naming Geographic Features

Question: How can I get a name assigned to a glacier in the United States?

Answer: Anyone may propose a name, or name change, to the U.S. Board on Geographic Names (BGN) for geographic features in the United States. The BGN is (quoting from its web site) a Federal body established to "maintain uniform geographic name usage throughout the Federal Government." BGN offers a web form and brief instructions for people who’d like to propose names at The Principles, Policies and Procedures that BGN uses in considering proposed names are published at; it would be prudent to review this document before submitting a proposal. You can learn more about the Board on Geographic Names and find information about naming geographic features outside of the United States from BGN’s web site, at

States typically also have boards or programs established to consider names for geographic features. In Alaska, the Department of Natural Resources, Division of Parks and Outdoor Recreation, Office of History and Archeology, operates a Geographic Names Program. You can find more information about the Program, and download an application to propose a name for a geographic feature in Alaska, at The Alaska Historical Commission, within the Office of History and Archeology, reviews applications and sends its recommendations to the U.S. Board on Geographic Names for final decision.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Family Records

Question: Can you assist me in finding my marriage license? I was married on a military post in Alaska in 1953.

Answer: These records are maintained by the Alaska Division of Vital Statistics. You can find information about how to request a search for a marriage certificate and/or a copy at You can email them at with any questions. This web page also includes a link to information on obtaining military records.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Alaskans With Library Cards

Question: How many Alaskans have library cards?

Answer: According to information compiled by our Library Development section, 379,206 Alaska residents had library cards in 2007. This number is subject to a few cautions according to Patience Frederiksen, our public library statistician. She notes:
One odd thing about this data is that many of the libraries do not have an online catalog and some do not give out library cards at all, so I gave those libraries their entire population as library card holders.

Another odd thing is that many of the libraries give out temporary seasonal cards to tourism, cruise ship, and fish canning and processing employees, so sometimes they give out more cards than they have residents living in their local service area.
People interested in other statistics about Alaska's libraries should check out the Alaska Public Library Statistics page at The statistics web page is under revision and the FY2006 and FY2007 statistics should appear in January.