National Archives at Philadelphia

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National Archives at Philadelphia


Contact Information[edit | edit source]

E-mail:[1]  Philadelphia.archives@nara.gov

Address:[1]
14700 Townsend Road
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 19154-1096

Telephone:[1]  215-305-2044
Fax:  215-305-2052
Hours and holidays:[1] Monday - Friday, 8:30 a.m. - 3:30 p.m. Closed to the public on Saturdays, Sundays, and federal holidays.
Directions, map, and public transportation:[2] The facility is located on the ground level of the Nix Federal Building. Enter on the Chestnut Street side between 9th and 10th Streets.

  • Google map
  • Subway:  Market-Frankford Line. Exit at 8th Street.
  • Bus:  Many SEPTA and NJ Transit buses stop in the vicinity. For routes that stop at the main entrance, SEPTA buses #9, #21, #38, and #42 stop at 9th Street and Chestnut.
  • Rail:  All SEPTA regional rail lines and the New Jersey PATCO line have stations on Market Street between 8th and 11th.  Transit contacts:
  • SEPTA, Southeastern SEPTA, Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority 215-580-7800
  • NJ Transit, New Jersey Transit 973-762-5100
  • PATCO Speedline Delaware River Port Authority of PA and NJ (DRPA), (856) 772-6900
  • Car:  There is pay parking in the vicinity.
  • From the north:  I-95 south to Exit 22 (I-676 West/ Independence Hall/Callowhill St. exit), right on Callowhill St. at bottom of ramp. Left on 6th St. to Walnut St. Right on Walnut to 9th. Right on 9th to Chestnut St.
  • From the south:  I-95 north to Exit 22. Left at 6th St. and proceed as above.
  • From the east:  Benjamin Franklin Bridge to 6th St. Proceed as above.
  • From the west:  I-76 to Exit 344 (I-676 East). I-676 east to 8th St./Chinatown exit. Right on 8th to Walnut. Right on Walnut to 9th. Right on 9th.

Internet sites and databases:

Collection Description[edit | edit source]

Collects the historically significant records of federal agencies and courts for Delaware, Maryland, Pennsylvania, Virginia and West Virginia, starting in 1789. Also United States federal censuses and indexes 1790-1940,[3] passenger arrival lists for Philadelphia 1800-1945 and Baltimore and other east coast ports, naturalizations 1790-1990, military pension and bounty land warrants, World War I and II draft registration, early federal history, diplomacy, military history, Chinese-Americans, World War II homefront, National Park Service, merchant marine, U.S. Army Corp of Engineers, federal tax evasion and smuggling cases,[4] court records including bankruptcy, civil, criminal, and courts of appeal.[5]

Tips[edit | edit source]

  • Valid official photo identification, such as driver's license or passport, must be presented to the guard at the door for entry. In addition, visitors and their belongings are subject to being scanned and searched. All belongings are to be stored in a free locker near the entrance. No food is allowed, unless attending a scheduled workshop.[6]
  • Online Research Tools and Aids including online catalog, microfilm catalog, AAD, ALIC, Guide to Federal Records, and NARA publications.

Guides[edit | edit source]

Alternate Repositories[edit | edit source]

If you cannot visit or find a source at the National Archives at Philadelphia, a similar source may be available at one of the following.

Overlapping Collections

  • National Archives I, Washington DC, census, pre-WWI military service & pensions, passenger lists, naturalizations, passports, federal bounty land, homesteads, bankruptcy, ethnic sources, prisons, and federal employees.[7]
  • National Archives II, College Park, MD, Departments of Agriculture, Commerce, Education, Energy, Health and Human Services, Housing and Urban Development, Interior, Justice, Labor, State, Transportation, and Treasury all after 1900.[8]
  • Pennsylvania State Archives, Harrisburg, indexes and original sources of Pennsylvania Archives, such as vital records, military records, naturalization, prisoners, land records, censuses, and ships lists 1728-1808. Also, unfilmed transcripts from many historical societies and courthouses.[9] [10]
  • State Library of Pennsylvania, Harrisburg, indexes and surname files, histories, atlases, land records, maps, ship lists, church and cemetery records, censuses, regimental histories, ethnic and religious groups, newspapers, obituaries, naturalizations, and city directories.[11]

Similar Collections

  • National Personnel Records Center, St. Louis, MO., has millions of military personnel, health, medical records of discharged and deceased veterans of all services starting with World War I, and federal employee records.[12]
  • Library of Congress, Washington, DC, is the world's largest library including 50,000 genealogies, 100,000 local histories, manuscripts, microfilms, maps, newspapers, photographs, books, strong in North American, British Isles, and German sources. The Local History and Genealogy Reading Room has moved to the Main Reading Room, but services remain unchanged.[13]
  • Family History Library, Salt Lake City, 450 computers, 3,400 databases, 3.1 million microforms, 4,500 periodicals, 310,000 books of worldwide family and local histories, civil, church, immigration, ethnic, military, and records pertaining to members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.[14]

Neighboring Collections



  • Repositories in other surrounding states: Delaware, District of Columbia, Maryland, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Virginia, West Virginia, and Ontario.
  • Historical Society of Delaware Library, Wilmington, colonial records, newspapers, church records, state records, Revolutionary War records, Civil War records, Delaware histories, and genealogies.
  • Maryland State Archives, Annapolis, colonial and state records from 1634, county probate, land, and court records, church records, newspapers, 130 card indexes to deeds and early settlers.
  • Rutgers University Special Collections and University Archives, New Brunswick, New Jersey, town records, manuscripts, letters, diaries, newspapers, photos, biographies, histories, family folders, Bibles, census, cemeteries, genealogical collections.
  • New York State Archives, Albany, has manuscripts, vital record indexes, land grants, maps, military, court, alien depositions, prisoners, Erie Canal passenger lists, wills, estates, and state censuses. Colonial, state, county, and town records.
  • Public Library of Cincinnati and Hamilton County, good genealogies, local history, early Ohio records, Inland Waterways Library, Ohio River (and tributaries) boat traffic from Pittsburgh to Louisville.
  • Library of Virginia, Richmond, has historical maps, land patents and grants, Dunmore's War, and Blandford Cemetery Survey, government publications, newspapers from 1736, state records, manuscripts, archival records, rare books, prints and photographs.[18]
  • Virginia Historical Society, Richmond, county records, militia lists, bounty lands, tax lists, genealogies, newspapers, Bibles, and index to 10 million documents about Virginia, West Virginia, and Kentucky.
  • Handley Regional Library, Winchester, VA, records of Germans and Scots-Irish who traveled the Great Valley Road from Penn. to Virginia, including manuscripts, newspapers, biographies, and histories.
  • West Virginia Archives and History Division, Charleston, manuscripts, biographies, county histories, and tax records, family folders, birth, marriages, deaths, maps, naturalizations, newspapers, periodicals, photos, directories, and county court records.
  • Archives of Ontario, Toronto, births, marriages, deaths, wills, land, naturalizations, passenger lists, maps, cemeteries, church, court, military, hospital, schools, city directories, and voters’ lists.[19]
  • Library and Archives Canada, Ottawa, national collections including genealogy and family history, portraits, biographies, censuses, citizenship, ethno-cultural groups, immigration, land records, maps, military, roads, canals, and railroads, settlement, births, marriages, deaths, and divorces.[20]

Sources[edit | edit source]

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 The National Archives at Philadelphia in National Archives (accessed 19 December 2013).
  2. NARA's Mid Atlantic Region - Center City Philadelphia, PA in Recreation.gov (accessed 20 December 2013).
  3. William Dollarhide and Ronald A. Bremer. America's Best Genealogy Resource Centers (Bountiful, Utah: Heritage Quest, 1998), 95. At various libraries (WorldCat). FHL Ref Book 973 J54d.
  4. Family History at the National Archives in Philadelphia in National Archives (accessed 20 December 2013).
  5. Court Records in National Archives (accessed 20 December 2013).
  6. Access Requirements at the National Archives Mid-Atlantic Region] (accessed 25 September 2012).
  7. Information for Researchers at the National Archives Building in Washington, DC in National Archives (accessed 31 December 2013).
  8. Information for Researchers at the National Archives at College Park, MD in National Archives (accessed 31 December 2013).
  9. Dollarhide and Bremer, 97.
  10. Research Topics at the Pennsylvania State Archives in Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission (accessed 23 December 2013).
  11. Genealogy and Local History in Pennsylvania Department of Education (accessed 27 December 2013).
  12. National Personnel Records Center in National Archives (accessed 31 December 2013).
  13. The Collections in Local History and Genealogy Reading Room in Library of Congress (accessed 31 December 2013).
  14. Based on updated statistics from Family History Library in FamilySearch Research Wiki (accessed 31 December 2013).
  15. Dollarhide and Bremer, 95
  16. Contact information in United States District Court, Eastern District of Pennsylvania (accessed 18 January 2021).
  17. Friends Historical Library.
  18. Using the Collections at Library of Virginia (accessed October 2012).
  19. Records in Ontario Ministry of Government Services (accessed 29 December 2013).
  20. Discover the Collection at Library and Archives Canada (accessed 6 August 2013).