National Archives and Records Administration

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National Archives and Records Administration (NARA)
Research entrance at the National Archives Building as seen from 7th Steet & Pennsylvania Avenue, Washington, D.C.

Contact Information[edit | edit source]

E-mail: Several e-mail options are available at National Archives and Records Administration

Mailing Address:[1]

The National Archives at College Park, Maryland (Archives II) (Headquarters)

8601 Adelphi Road
College Park, MD 20740-6001

National Archives in Washington, D.C. (Archives I)[2]

National Archives Building—Research Entrance
700 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW

Telephone:[1]  1-866-272-6272 , or TDD 301-837-0482
Fax:  301-837-0483

Hours:[3]  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.

Public transportation:[4]

  • 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.

Obtaining Reproductions of Records[edit | edit source]

Copies of the records can be accessed three ways:

  • Ordered online from the NARA
  • Ordered by mail using the NATF Form 86.
  • Visiting the National Archives Building in Washington, D.C. in person and request to see the original

Regional Archives-Facilities and Affiliated Archives by State[edit | edit source]

A full list of facilities can be found on the National Archives' Visit Us page.

Federal Records Centers[edit | edit source]

A full list can be found on the National Archives' Federal Records Center Locations page.

Internet Sites and Databases[edit | edit source]

National Archives Programs[edit | edit source]

Collection Description[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.[7]

National Archives Catalog[edit | edit source]

The National Archives Catalog contains descriptions for NARA's nationwide holdings in the Washington, DC area; regional facilities; and Presidential Libraries. The Catalog is a work in progress and currently contains descriptions for 95% of our records, described at the series level. For detailed information on how to use the catalog see National Archives and Records Administration Catalog.

Record Groups with Digitized Records[edit | edit source]

The Record Group Explorer and Record Group Explorer Data webpages will identify record groups with digital records in the National Archives Catalog.

Selected Record Groups with Digitized Records The following links identify by Record Group with some digitized content. Under "Browse our Records" click on the "Explorer" link to see "Textual records," "Maps and Charts" and "Video and Audio"

FamilySearch Wiki - Collection Coverage Tables

Tips[edit | edit source]

  • 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.[8]
  • 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.
  • Start Your Genealogy Research
  • Claire Prechtel-Kluskens. In Their Owns Words: Family Stories in the National Archives. NGS Magazine 41 #4 (October-December 2015): 34-37.

Guides[edit | edit source]

Alternate Repositories[edit | edit source]

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.

Overlapping Collections

  • 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.
  • ($) subscription site with wide-ranging images and indexes of National Archives census, military, naturalization, passenger arrivals, border crossings, and published passenger lists.
  • ($) 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.
  • ($) 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

Selected Collections

Neighboring Collections

  • 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.

Sources[edit | edit source]

  1. 1.0 1.1 "Contact the National Archives and Records Administration" in Natonal Archives at (accessed 5 April 2009).
  2. "Washington, D.C. Area" in National Archives at (accessed 5 April 2009).
  3. "Hours" in "Washington, DC Area" in National Archives at (accessed 5 April 2009).
  4. "Transportation" in "Washington, DC Area" in National Archives at (accessed 5 April 2009).
  5. "About ARC" in National Archives at (accessed 5 April 2009).
  6. "What will I find in AAD?" in "Getting Started Guide" in "Access to Archival Databases (AAD)" in National Archives at (accessed 5 April 2009).
  7. "Information for Researchers at the National Archives Building in Washington, DC" in National Archives at (accessed 5 April 2009).
  8. "Orientation and Research Room Procedures" in "Information for Researchers at the National Archives Building in Washington, DC" in National Archives at (access 5 April 2009).