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The following record repositories have major collections and services helpful for genealogical research. Before you visit an archive or a library, contact the organization and ask for information on the collection, hours, services, and fees.

Contents

National Archives and Records Administration

Pennsylvania Avenue at 8th Street, NW
Washington, D.C. 20408
Telephone: 202-501-5415
Fax: 301-713-6740
Internet address: National Archives

The National Archives (NARA) has a vast collection of documents created by the federal government. The records most often used by genealogists are census, military, land, and immigration records.

Microfilm copies of many of the records at the National Archives are available at the Family History Library, other major archives and libraries, and at regional branches of the National Archives. You may purchase microfilms from the National Archives or request photocopies of the records by using forms obtained from the Archives.

  • Eales, Anne Bruner and Robert M. Kvasnicka, ed. Guide to Genealogical Research in the National Archives of the United States. Third Edition. Washington, DC: Nathional Archives and Records Administration, 2000. (Worldcat) Explains records collections used most by genealogical researchers: Census, Passenger Arrivals and Border Crossings, Naturalizations, Military, Land, Native Americans, African Americans, and more.
  • A National Archives (NARA) descriptive pamphlet (DP) provides helpful information about a microfilm set such as an explanation about the records on the film set, their origin, and a roll-by-roll descriptive list. Reviewing a DP prior to using a film set can increase a researcher's ability to use it successfully in a time-efficient manner.  The Special Collections of the St. Louis County Library has placed on their web site full-text or PDF versions of DPs for some of the NARA microfilm sets.

Digitized NARA Microfilm Publications and Original Records

"US National Archives To Upload All Holdings To Wikimedia Commons"

The National Archives has a list of digitized records and links to access them through online databases. It includes pay sites such as Ancestry and Fold3.com that have partnered with the National Archives to digitize many of the archives' records. Read more about the digitization program at the National Archives.

National Archives - Regional Branches

Regional branches of the National Archives collect records of federal government offices and courts within the area they serve. These branches are located in or near Anchorage, Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Denver, Fort Worth, Kansas City, Los Angeles, New York (moving soon), Philadelphia, San Francisco, and Seattle.

Digital Public Library of America

The Digital Public Library of America provides a one stop access to the best of America’s libraries, archives, and museums, and makes them freely available to the world. It strives to contain the full breadth of human expression, from the written word, to works of art and culture, to records of America’s heritage, to the efforts and data of science. See also Digital Public Library of America

Allen County Public Library

P.O. Box 2270
Fort Wayne, IN 48801
Telephone: 219-424-7241
Fax: 219-422-9688
Internet address: Allen County Public Library

The Allen County Public Library has a very large collection of sources for all states, including U.S. census records, periodicals, and local histories.

Daughters of the American Revolution

1776 “D” Street N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20006-5392
Telephone: 202-879-3229
Fax: 202-879-3227
Internet address: Daughters of the American Revolution.

Daughters of the American Revolution is a national society. Its library in Washington, D.C. has one of the largest genealogical collections in the United States.

Family History Library

35 N. West Temple Street
Salt Lake City, UT 84150-3400
Telephone: 801-240-2331
Fax: 801-240-1584
Internet address: FamilySearch


For more details see Family History Library.

Library of Congress

Genealogy and Local History Reading Room
101 Independence Ave. at First Street, S.E.
Washington, D.C. 20504
Telephone: 202-707-5000
Fax: 202-707-5844
Internet address: Library of Congress, Local History and Genealogy Reading Room

The Genealogical and Local History Reading Room of the Library of Congress has a large collection of published genealogies, manuscripts, histories, directories, maps, and newspapers.

The Library of Congress site has a wonderful American Memory page that links to more 60 collections, searchable by keyword or time period in a variety of media.

New England Historic Genealogical Society

101 Newbury Street
Boston, MA 02116-3087
Telephone: 617-536-5740
Fax: 617-536-7307
Internet address: New England Historic Genealogical Society

The society's collections of New England family and local histories and manuscripts are especially helpful. Members can borrow printed resources from their lending library.

New York Public Library

Local History and Genealogy Division
Fifth Avenue & 42nd Street
New York, NY 10018
Telephone: 212-930-0828
Fax: 212-921-2546
Internet address: New York Public Library

The New York Public Library has collected many published sources, such as local histories, city directories, maps, newspapers, and genealogies.

Newberry Library

60 West Walton Street
Chicago, IL 60610-3394
(312) 943-9090
(312) 255-3513  fax

The Newberry Library was established in 1887 with a bequest from the estate of Walter Loomis Newberry.  A privately endowed independent research library, their collections are free and open to the public.  The library's Genealogy Collection includes more than 17,000 published family histories, and an extensive collection of local histories, military records, published indexes and abstracts, manuscripts and published sources.


Pritzker Military Museum & Library

104 S. Michigan Ave.
Chicago, IL 60603
(312) 374-9333
(312) 374-9314

Internet: pritzkermilitary.org

The Pritzker Military Museum & Library was established in 2003 by Colonel J.N. Pritzker, IL ARNG (Retired), who had assembled a major collection of books and related materials on military history, with a particular focus on the concept of the Citizen Soldier in America.  A private museum & research library, the galleries and collections are accessible to the public for a $5 daily admission and are free to PMML members.  The Museum & Library has over 45,000 books on military history including numerous unit histories with rosters and cruise books (similar to high school yearbooks) with lots of photographs.  Additionally, the reference collection includes guides to uniforms, equipment, insignia, and ships for many of the world's militaries.  The librarians enjoy working with genealogists and genealogists should see the Library's Genealogy Research webpage before visiting.


Other major United States libraries with genealogical collections

The following libraries also have exceptional genealogical collections. These libraries collect major national sources as well as records of the states they serve.

Your local public library can help you locate these and other archives and libraries. Current directories include:

Previously published directories include:

  • American Library Directory. 53rd Edition. New Providence, New Jersey: R. R. Bowker, 2000-2001. (FHL 973 J54a 2000, 2 vol.) Alphabetical by state and town. Lists addresses, telephone and fax numbers, and describes each library's holdings and special interests.
    • 65th Edition being published May, 2013.
  • Bentley, Elizabeth Petty. The Genealogist's Address Book. Fifth Edition. Baltimore, Maryland: Genealogical Publishing Company, 2005. (FHL 973 D24ben 2005.) Includes national, state, ethnic, religious, historical, adoption, computer interest group, and vendor addresses with telephone numbers, E-mail addresses, supervisors, and repository hours.
  • A directory of many repositories and manuscript collections is:
    The National Historical Publications and Records Commission. Directory of Archives and Manuscript Repositories in the United States. Second Edition. Phoenix, Arizona: Oryx Press, 1988. (FHL 973 J54u 1988; 1978 Edition on fiche 6010080-89.)

University Libraries with special collections

Most large universities have a special collections division of their university library. Some of these repositories have extensive collections of local and state historical documents, including many individual record collections. Carefully search the university library catalog for references to the individuals you are researching. Access to the special collections may be very restricted, so check with the library about any restrictions before visiting.

Federal Repository Libraries

The federal government has designated at least one library in each state (generally a major university library) to receive a copy of published federal records. These include a wide variety of topics, such as pension lists, private land claims, veterans' burial lists, and individuals' petitions to Congress.

State Archives and State Libraries

Each state has a state archive or a state library. Many states have both. These serve as the repositories for state and county government records. They often have some federal records as well, such as the U.S. census schedules for the state. A list of all of the state archives and libraries is kept up to date on the webpage for the Council of State Archivists website. Another comprehensive list of state archives and their websites is available from the Georgia Secretary of State's website for anyone wanting to find a specific state archive.

Also see the state Archives and Libraries wiki articles (links below) for more information on these and other archives in each state.

Archives and Libraries in each State

Territories and Federal District

County and Town Courthouses

Many of the key records essential for genealogical research were created by local county or town governments. These include court, land and property, naturalization and citizenship, probate, taxation, and vital records. The county and town courthouses are the primary repositories of these valuable records. (However, some courthouse records have been destroyed or transferred to state archives.) The Family History Library has copies of many of these important records on microfilm.

The individual counties have organized their records and offices in many different ways. The county Wiki articles provide further information on how to obtain these records.

Easy-to-use sources that list the various county offices in each state and the types of records at each office are:

  • Bentley, Elizabeth Petty.County Courthouse Book. Baltimore, Maryland: Genealogical Publishing Company, 1995. (FHL 973 D24bena) (Worldcat)
  • The Handy Book for Genealogists: United States of America. Tenth edition. Logan, Utah: Everton Publishing, 2006. (FHL 973 D27e) (Worldcat) The Handy Book also lists the county seat and zip code.

Historical and Genealogical Societies

Historical and genealogical societies have been organized in each state, most counties, and some towns. These societies collect many valuable records and offer various helpful services to researchers. Addresses of local societies are listed in:

  • Carson, Dina C., Directory of Genealogical and Historical Libraries, Archives and Collections in the US and Canada. Niwot, Colorado: Iron Gate Pub., 1002. (Worldcat)
  • Directory of Historical Organizations in the United States and Canada. 15th Edition. Nashville, Tennessee: American Association for State and Local History, 2001. (FHL 970 H24d) (Worldcat)

Inventories, Registers, Catalogs

Most archives have catalogs, inventories, guides, or periodicals that describe their records and how to use them. If possible, study these guides before you visit an archive so that you can use your time more effectively. Many of these are available at the Family History Library, at your public or university library, or through interlibrary loan.

An example of a helpful guide is:

  • Schaefer, Christina K. The Center: Guide to Genealogical Research in the National Capital Area. Baltimore, Maryland: Genealogical Publishing Company, 1996. (FHL 975.3 A3sc) (Worldcat) This describes the records and services of the National Archives, Library of Congress, Daughters of the American Revolution Library, and other repositories in the Washington, DC area.



 

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  • This page was last modified on 11 September 2014, at 22:09.
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