Thursday, January 29, 2009

Castner's Cutthroats

Update: We are no longer able to access the KTUU story online. 8/1/11

Question: Where can I learn more about the WWII Alaska Scouts also known as Castner's Cutthroats?

Answer: Castner's Cutthroats were officially known as the 1st Combat Intelligence Platoon (Provisional). The unit was active at Fort Richardson from 1941 to 1946 and members were recruited from Alaska Natives and sourdough prospectors.

The Alaska State Library has a number of items with information about Castner's Cutthroats, including:

Rearden, Jim. 1990. Castner's Cutthroats: saga of the Alaska Scouts. Prescott, Ariz: Wolfe Pub.
For list of holding libraries see:

Rearden, Jim. 2005. Forgotten warriors of the Aleutian campaign. Missoula, Mont: Pictorial Histories Pub. Co.
For list of holding libraries see:

Reiss, Marguerite. Alaska miners at war -- part 01. Alaska miner 1993, v. 21, no. 12 (Dec. 1993) pp. 7+.

Rearden, Jim. Castner's cutthroats. Alaska magazine 1991, v. 57, no. 12 (Dec. 1991) . p. 34

If these books and articles aren't available in your local library, please ask your library to get them by Interlibrary Loan.

To find websites and other internet based resources, We suggest that you visit SLED at and type Castner's Cutthroats into the search box. That yields a number of results including the KTUU story, "Castner's Cutthroats: defenders of the Last Frontier". There is also a decent looking Wikipedia article at's_Cutthroats.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Classification Codes

Update: Links have been checked and updated. 4/6/15

QUESTION: How does the state of Alaska assign classification codes to state government documents?

ANSWER: At this time, the State of Alaska does not have a standardized classification scheme for state publications. At the Alaska State Library, we use the Library of Congress system to catalog most of our materials, including our state documents. For more detailed information on Library of Congress, visit

If a state agency implements a classification system, it will sometimes refer to a report series, the date of publication, the publication sequence, an assigned agency code and other internal filing or coding systems. At times, state agency newsletters and journals will include standard periodical classification such as volume number, issue number, and publication date.

Here are a few examples:

1.) State of Alaska, Dept. of Fish & Game, Technical Fishery Reports at

2.) State of Alaska, Legislative Audit, Audit Report Lists at

3.) State of Alaska. Dept. of Natural Resources, Div. of Geological & Geophysical Surveys’ Publication Series at

4.) State of Alaska, Dept. of Labor & Workforce Development’s “Alaska Economic Trends” journal at

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Death Certificates

Question: I’m looking for the death certificate and burial information of a relative who died in Alaska. Where can I find this information?

Answer: You can request a copy of Alaskan death certificates from the Bureau of Vital Statistics. For more information on the process, instructions and forms please go to:

Additionally, if you would like a copy of an Alaskan obituary let us know the date and newspaper that it was published in and we can see if it’s available to make a copy of for you. You can find a list of what Alaskan newspapers we have access to here:

Even if you don't have the all of the information we need to look up an obituary for you, we may be able to help. Try looking at our genealogy resource guide, online at, for additional sources.

Friday, January 2, 2009

January 3, 1959

Question: What was the most popular search on Since You Asked in 2008?

Answer: Last year, about half of the traffic to this blog came to us a result of searches on Google and other search engines. By far the most popular search was for "When did Alaska become a state?" The answer to that question is January 3, 1959, when President Eisenhower signed Alaska into the Union in this Internet Archive video 49th Star.

For more information about how Alaska became a state and other related materials, please see:

On this first workday of 2009, the Alaska State Library wishes you a safe, healthy and well-informed New Year.