|National Archives and Records Administration (NARA)
Research entrance at the National Archives Building as seen from 7th Steet & Pennsylvania Avenue, Washington, D.C.
E-mail: Several e-mail options are available at National Archives and Records Administration
The National Archives at College Park, Maryland (Archives II)
- 8601 Adelphi Road
- College Park, MD 20740-6001
National Archives in Washington, D.C. (Archives I)
- National Archives Building—Research Entrance
- 700 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Telephone: 1-866-272-6272 , or TDD 301-837-0482
Hours: Monday, Tuesday, Saturday 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.; Wednesday, Thursday, Friday 9:00 am to 9:00 p.m. For record pull-times, holidays, and other details, click here.
- Subway. In Washington, DC, take Metrorail's Yellow or Green lines to the Archives/Navy Memorial station. The Archives/Navy Memorial stop is across Pennsylvania Avenue from the Archives building.
- Bus. In Washington, DC, Metrobuses 30, 32, 34, 36, 53, A42, A46, A48, P1, P2, P4, P17, P19, and W13 stop at the National Archives on Pennsylvania Avenue.
- Parking. No parking at the building is available for researchers. Several commercial parking lots are located nearby and metered curb parking may be available on nearby streets.
- National Archives at Atlanta: Alabama,Florida,Georgia,Kentucky,Mississippi,North Carolina, South Carolina,Tennessee.
- National Archives at Boston: Connecticut,Massachusetts,Maine,New Hampshire, Rhode Island, Vermont
- National Archives at Chicago: Illinois,Indiana,Michigan,Minnesota,Ohio, Wisconsin
- National Archives at Denver: Colorado,Montana,New Mexico, North Dakota,South Dakota,Utah,Wyoming
- National Archives at Fort Worth: Arkansas,Louisiana,Oklahoma,Texas
- National Archives at Kansas:Iowa,Kansas,Minnesota,Missouri,Nebraska,North Dakota,South Dakota
- National Archives at New York City: New Jersey,New York,Puerto Rico,U.S. Virgin Islands
- National Archives at Philadelphia:Delaware,Maryland,Pennsylvania,Virginia,West Virginia
- National Archives at St. Louis
- National Archives at Riverside: Arizona,Clark County, Nevada, Southern California
- National Archives at San Francisco: California:northern & central,Nevada,Hawaii,US Navy Bases on foreign territory-Pacific and Far East,America Samoa,Guam,Trust Territory Pacific Islands
- National Archives at Seattle: Alaska,Idaho,Oregon,Washington
Internet sites and databases:[edit | edit source]
National Archives Programs[edit | edit source]
The National Archives has a vast collection of documents created by the United States federal government. The records most often used by genealogists are census, military, land, immigration, and naturalization records.
The National Archives Building in Washington, DC (Archives I), houses textual and microfilm records relating to genealogy, American Indians, pre-World War II military and naval-maritime matters, the New Deal, the District of Columbia, the Federal courts, and Congress.
"The National Archives Catalog is the online catalog of NARA's nationwide holdings in the Washington, DC area, Regional Archives and Presidential Libraries." Not all of NARA's records are described in the catalog, but NARA is working towards complete coverage. Researchers can search the catalog by keyword, dates, person name, topic, physical location of records, and digitized images. See "How to Search in the catalog" for more details. "Catalog Guide for Genealogists and Family Historians" contains guidance specific for genealogists.
- Claire Prechtel Kluskens. The National Archives Catalog. NGS Magazine 43 # 3 (October-December, 2017): 40- 43.
Catalog entries contain many different numbers. Some of the more important are:
- Record Group (RG) number – A record group is a grouping created by NARA that comprises the records of a government organization.
- Inventory Entry Number – An inventory or preliminary inventory is a finding aid, and generally includes a brief administrative history of the organization(s) as well as series descriptions of their records. Inventory Entry Numbers were formerly called Inventory Identifiers.
- Local Identifier – Local identifiers are created by local NARA offices to identify materials. Local identifiers are office specific; different offices may use the same identifier for different records.
- HMS/MLR Entry Number – A number that uniquely identifies an entry in the Holdings Management System/Master Location Register (MLR) database, such as “A1 1077B.”
- Declassification Project Number – A number assigned to records that have been reviewed for declassification.
Selected Digitized Collections[edit | edit source]
- Register Showing Gains and Losses of Hospital Matrons on Duty at Army Posts, 1893-1904. NAID 57276173
- Army Air Force. Award Cards, 1942-1963. NAID 4530002
- Carded Marriage Records, 1883-1916. Married on U.S. Army Posts, 1883-1916. NAID 655730
- Index to Personalities in the US Army Signal Corps Photographic Files,1940-1981. NAID 530686
- Muster Rolls of Naval Ships. 1.1.1860 - 6.9.1900. NAID 563603
- Card Index to Navy Courts Martial, 1900-1951. NAID 5080503
- Identification Cards for Employees, 1941-1942, Adjutant General's Office, RG 94. NAID 7563237
- Returns of Military Organizations, ca. 1800 - 12/1916 NAID 300381
- Cadets Continuing Training. U.S. Army Balloon School, Fort Omaha, Nebraska, 1918-1919. NAID 74223651
- Applications for Headstones for Sailors, Marines, and Soldiers Buried Outside the Continental United States, 1909 - 1923. RG 92.
- Register of Reports on Claims for Pay Due Deceased Soldiers, 2/24/1854 - 3/15/1861.
War of 1812
War with Mexico, 1846 - 1848.
- Lists of Wagonmasters, Teamsters, Laborers, and Other Employees, 8.1861-10.1862 NAID 131043647.
- List of Wagonmasters Serving in the Civil War, ca. 1900-ca. 1912. NAID 4707061. Digital images
- List of Female Nurses, Cooks, and Laundresses Employed in Army Hospital During the Civil War. NAID 28277783.
- Lists of Male and Female Nurses, ca. 180-c. 1890. NAID 2561317.
- Records of Civil War Chaplains, 1861-1865. NAID 1226240.
- Recommendations for Employments, 1861-1867. Schuylkill Arsenal, Philadelphia. NAID 854656
- Statements of Service of Civil War Medical Cadets, 1898-ca. 1920. NAID 2561105
- Name Index to Press Copies of Letters Sent Granting Permits to Sutlers. NAID 122681358
- Register of Exemptions of Men from the Service,1863-1866, Rhode Island, 1st District. NAID 121044771
- Medical Register of Examinations of Enrolled Men,1863-1866, Rhode Island, 1st District. NAID 121044770
- Recommendations of the Board of Enrollment for Appointment or Transfer of Applicants into the Invalid Corps, 1863-1866, Rhode Island, 1st District. NAID 121044772
- Certificates of Disability for Enlisted Men Examined by Dr. George E. Brickett,1863-1866, Maine. NAID 121044773
- Descriptive Book of Massachusetts Recruits Examined by Dr. B. Joy Jefferies,1863-1866. NAID 121044774
- Records of Death and Internment at Camp Nelson, Kentucky, 1864-1865. NAID 279423
- Troops Tendered to the Confederate War Department, 1861 NAID 7403347
- Legislative & Executive - Prison Pens; Canada Raids; Secret Operations 1864; A Few Items Relating to Prisoners at Andersonville, Georgia; and Operations from Canada. NAID 7459760
- Case Files of Approved Pension Applications of Widows and Other Dependents of the Army and Navy Who Served Mainly in the Civil War and the War With Spain, 1861 - 1934. NAID 300020
- Carded Records Showing Military Service of Soldiers Who Fought in Volunteer Organizations During the American Civil War, 1890 - 1912. NAID 300020
- Post and reservation Maps, 1820-1905. NAID 305818
- List of Claims Filed with the Office of U.S. Military Railroads, 1864-1866. NAID 4711702
War with Spain, 1898
World War I, 1917-1918
- Card Register of Burials of Deceased American Soldiers, 1917 - 1922. NAID 6943087
- Compiled Data on Casualties of the American Expeditionary Forces by State or United States Possession, 1917-1919. NAID 1726747
- Records of Divisions, 36th Division, World War I Soldier Letters NAID 301641
- Burial Reports,1919-1920. Cemeterial Branch. World War I. NAID 6928160
- Correspondence, Reports, Telegrams, Applications and Other Papers Relating to Burials of Service Personnel, 1.1.1915 - 12.31.1939. NAID 595318
- Lists of Permits Issued to Enemy Aliens. Justice Dept. Office of the U.S. Marshal District of Kansas. NAID 46701813
- U.S. Food Administration. Iowa State Food Administration. Card Index to Licensed Bakers, ca. 1918. NAID 5111276
- Department of Justice. Office of the Attorney General for the Judicial District of Minnesota. Reports of Special Agents NAID 5923162
- Enemy Alien Registration Affidavits,1917-1921. Dept. of Justice District of Kansas. NAID 286181
World War II 1941-1945
Immigration and Naturalization
Bureau of Prisons
US District Court
US General Land Office
US Postal Service
- Researchers first visiting Archives I, the National Archives and Records Administration building in Washington, DC, proceed to the Research Center on the first floor. Depending upon the types of records requested, researchers may need to first obtain a researcher identification card. You can get your research card in the Research Center. During the registration process, new researchers will view a short PowerPoint orientation emphasizing the safe handling of records and explaining the most basic research procedures, responsibilities, and rules. New researchers should plan for a total of 15-20 minutes to complete the registration process.
- Most of the National Archives records are arranged by record group. Record groups are based on the agency creating the record. For help identifying record groups to use for research see the following guides.
- Guide to Federal Records in the National Archives of the United States in National Archives Archives.gov at http://archives.gov/research/guide-fed-records/ (accessed 5 April 2009). Provides a general overview of NARA's holdings at the record group level, and is intended to assist researchers in identifying which record groups may have material relevant to their research topics. This Internet edition is an expanded version of Robert B. Matchette, and Jan Shelton Danis, Guide to Federal Records in the National Archives of the United States, 3rd ed., 3 vols. (Washington, D.C.: NARA, 1998). (FHL Collection 973 A3gui). WorldCat entry.
- Anne Bruner Eales, and Robert M. Kvasnicka, eds. Guide to Genealogical Research in the National Archives of the United States. 3rd ed. (Washington, DC: NARA, 2000) (FHL Collection 973 J53e). WorldCat entry. Explains records collections used most by genealogical researchers: Census, Passenger Arrivals and Border Crossings, Naturalizations, Military, Land, Native Americans, African Americans, and more.
- Loretto Dennis Szucs, and Sandra Hargreaves Luebking, The Archives: a Guide to the National Archives Field Branches (Salt Lake City: Ancestry, 1988) (FHL Collection 973 A3sz). WorldCat entry. Several page descriptions for each Regional Branch, but mostly a list of record groups by number. Relatively little of the book is about the main branch.
- Christina K. Schaefer, The Center: A Guide to Genealogical Research in the National Capitol Area (Baltimore: Genealogical Publ., 1996) (FHL Collection 975.3 A3sc). WorldCat entry. Explains using research rooms, census, military, immigration, naturalization, passport, American Indian, African American, Confederate, tax, W.P.A., and federal land records.
- US National Archives YouTube Channel - hundreds of videos about the archives and their collections & services
If you cannot visit or find a record at the National Archives Building (Archives I), a similar record may be available at one of the following.
- National Archives at College Park, Maryland (Archives II) houses documents created after 1900 at the departments of Agriculture, Commerce, Education, Energy, Health and Human Services, Housing and Urban Development, Interior, Justice, Labor, State, Transportation, and Treasury, and modern military records.
- National Archives—Regional Branches. Each Regional Branch has copies of key records in Washington, as well as regional records, e.g. Atlanta for the Southern region, and Fort Worth has a strong American Indian collection.
- National Personnel Records Center (NPRC), St. Louis, government and military personnel records starting 1917.
- Allen County Public Library (Indiana) has a premier genealogical periodical collection, genealogies, local histories, databases, military, censuses, directories, passenger lists, American Indians, African Americans, Canadians.
- Mid-Continent Public Library Midwest Genealogy Center, Independence, MO, national censuses/indexes, 80,000 family histories, 100,000 local histories, 565,000 microfilms, 7,000 maps, and extensive newspaper clippings.
- Ancestry.com ($) subscription site with wide-ranging images and indexes of National Archives census, military, naturalization, passenger arrivals, border crossings, and published passenger lists.
- Fold3.com ($) subscription site with indexes and images to hundreds of National Archives record types including Revolutionary War and Civil War service records and pensions, draft registrations, census, etc.
- HeritageQuestOnline.com ($) by subscription & at many libraries--Revolutionary War pension & bounty land files.
- Castle Garden 1830-1892 and Ellis Island 1892-1924 indexes & images to New York City passenger arrivals.
Family History Library
- Family History Library, Salt Lake City, has many National Archives census, immigration, land, military, and naturalization records on microfilm.
- For a list of microfilms at both NARA and the Family History Library, click here.
NARA Series to FHL film Conversion
- Library of Congress, Washington, DC, Local History and Genealogy Reading Room is part of the world's largest library including 50,000 genealogies, 100,000 local histories, and collections of manuscripts, microfilms, maps, newspapers, photographs, and published material, strong in North American, British Isles, and German sources.
- Daughters of the American Revolution Library, Washington DC, Revolutionary War and colonial period, including family and local histories, cemetery transcriptions, Bible records, 15,000 genealogical membership applications.
- DC Vital Records Division for birth and death records. DC Superior Court for marriage and divorce records.
- Washington DC Family History Center has premium online services for free, and can offer research suggestions.
- Maryland State Archives, Annapolis, census, court, church, vital, military, probate, land, tax, immigration, naturalizations.
- Library of Virginia, Richmond, digital sources, databases, vital, military, newspapers, periodicals, tax, history, land records.
- State archives for each state have archival records for people dealing with the state governments. See the Library and Archives Wiki pages for each state of the United States for further details.
- Library and Archives Canada, Ottawa, vital, census, immigration, naturalization, military, land, and employment.
- Archivo General de la Nación (AGN), Mexico City, church, civil, census, court, history, military, migration, land.
- ↑ 1.0 1.1 "Contact the National Archives and Records Administration" in Natonal Archives Archives.gov at http://archives.gov/contact/ (accessed 5 April 2009).
- ↑ "Washington, D.C. Area" in National Archives Archives.gov at http://archives.gov/dc-metro/washington/ (accessed 5 April 2009).
- ↑ "Hours" in "Washington, DC Area" in National Archives Archives.gov at http://archives.gov/dc-metro/washington/#hours (accessed 5 April 2009).
- ↑ "Transportation" in "Washington, DC Area" in National Archives Archives.gov at http://archives.gov/dc-metro/washington/#hours (accessed 5 April 2009).
- ↑ "About ARC" in National Archives Archives.gov at http://www.archives.gov/research/arc/about-arc.html (accessed 5 April 2009).
- ↑ "What will I find in AAD?" in "Getting Started Guide" in "Access to Archival Databases (AAD)" in National Archives Archives.gov at http://aad.archives.gov/aad/help/getting-started-guide.html#find (accessed 5 April 2009).
- ↑ William Dollarhide, and Ronald A. Bremer, America's Best Genealogy Resource Centers (Bountiful, UT: Heritage Quest, 1988), 2. WorldCat 39493985; FHL Book 973 J54d.
- ↑ "Information for Researchers at the National Archives Building in Washington, DC" in National Archives Archives.gov at http://archives.gov/dc-metro/washington/researcher-info.html (accessed 5 April 2009).
- ↑ "About the catalog," The National Archives Archives.gov (www.archives.gov : accessed 19 May 2010).
- ↑ "What Do All Those Numbers...Mean?" The National Archives Archives.gov (www.archives.gov : accessed 19 May 2010).
- ↑ "Orientation and Research Room Procedures" in "Information for Researchers at the National Archives Building in Washington, DC" in National Archives Archives.gov at http://archives.gov/dc-metro/washington/researcher-info.html#research (access 5 April 2009).