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The original content for this article was contributed by The National Institute for Genealogical Studies in June 2012. It is an excerpt from their course US: Occupational Records  by Beverly Rice, CG. The Institute offers over 200 comprehensive genealogy courses for a fee ($).

National Archives, Records Administration and the Regional Branches

This is a massive source with the majority of the records not microfilmed. Records that have been microfilmed may be purchased or rented. The Family History Library purchased a portion of these microfilmed records and has made them available at the FHL and the FSC. Check the FHLC for availability.

Learning the intricacies of this repository is not the purpose of this course. I would recommend that an individual attend the National Institute of Genealogical Research held at the National Archives in Washington DC each July or one of the seminars offered by RIGS Alliance held at Regional Branches if your research interest is in this area.

The National Archives maintains a very extensive Internet site and has two publications that are necessary for researching in this facility.

Guide to Genealogical Research in the National Archives of the United States, Third Edition. Anne Bruner Eales and Robert M. Kvasnicka, editors. Washington DC: National Archives and Records Administration, 2000.

Guide to Federal Records in the National Archives of the United States, 3 volumes. Washington DC: National Archives and Records Administration, 1995.

The National Archives also provides Preliminary Inventories and Descriptive Pamphlets as aids to accessing the different Record Groups. They also have published many books to assist the researcher in using the archive records with more understanding.

Check the website for publications. Or if you have the opportunity to attend a national genealogy conference they will usually have a booth and publications available for review before purchasing.

The records available for research about an individual’s occupation range from the familiar such as the census, immigration, naturalization, and military records to the less familiar records of the Bureau of Indian Affairs, Lighthouse Bureau and Postmasters, to name just a few.

I can not repeat this often enough; you are researching a person’s “life’s work.” It must be more than just the family lore “that he worked for the Bureau of Indian Affairs at a trading post.”

Always ask:

  • What do I want to know about his/her occupation?
  • What records are available to answer my question?
  • Where are these records housed?
  • How do I access these records?

The following is a listing for the National Archives and its branches. This information was taken from the website. For further information on each facility and a more detailed listing of the branch facility check out the above address.


National Archives and Records Administration
700 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20408
National Archives at College Park
8601 Adelphi Road
College Park, MD 20740-6001
Pacific Alaska Region (Anchorage)
654 West Third Avenue
Anchorage, Alaska 99501-2145
Telephone: 907-261-7820
Email:alaska.archives@nara.gov
This facility maintains records retired from Federal agencies and courts in Alaska.


Pacific Alaska Region (Seattle)
6125 Sand Point Way NE
Seattle, Washington 98115-7999
Telephone: 206-526-6507
Maintains retired records from Federal agencies and courts in Idaho, Oregon, and Washington.


Pacific Region (Laguna Niguel)
23123 Cajalco Road
Perris, CA 92570
Telephone: 951-956-2000
Maintains retired records from Federal agencies and courts in Arizona, southern California, and Clark County, Nevada.


Pacific Region (San Francisco)
1000 Commodore Drive
San Bruno, California 94066-2350
Telephone: 650-238-3510
Maintains retired records from Federal agencies and courts in northern California, Hawaii, Nevada except Clark County, the Pacific Trust Territories, and American Samoa.


Rocky Mountain Region (Denver)
P.O. Box 25307
Denver, CO 80225
Telephone: 303- 407-5740
Email:denver.archives@nara.gov
Maintains retired records from Federal agencies and courts in, Colorado, Montana, New Mexico, North Dakota, South Dakota, Utah, and Wyoming.


Southeast Region (Atlanta)
5780 Jonesboro Road
Morrow, Georgia 30260
Telephone: 707-968-2100
Serves Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee.


Great Lakes Region (Chicago)
7358 South Pulaski Road
Chicago, Illinois 60629-5898
Telephone: 773-948-9001
Maintains retired records from Federal agencies and courts in Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio, and Wisconsin.


National Archives - Central Plains Region
400 West Pershing Road
Kansas City, MO 64108
Telephone: 816- 268-8000
Serves: Iowa, Kansas, Missouri, and Nebraska


Northeast Region, Pittsfield
10 Conte Drive
Pittsfield, Massachusetts 01201-8230
Telephone: 413-236-3600
Maintains microfilm holdings for genealogy and other research and retired Federal records from agencies nationwide.


Northeast Region (Boston)
Frederick C. Murphy Federal Center
380 Trapelo Road
Waltham, Massachusetts 02452-6399
Telephone: 781-663-0130
Serves Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, and Vermont.


Northeast Region New York City
201 Varick Street
12th Floor
New York, New York 10014-4811
Telephone: 1-866-840-1752
Email:newyork.archives@nara.gov
Maintains archival records from Federal agencies and courts in New Jersey, New York, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands.


Central Plains Region Kansas City
400 West Pershing Road
Kansas City, Missouri 64108-3011
Maintains retired records from Federal agencies and courts in Iowa, Kansas, Missouri, and Nebraska.


Mid-Atlantic Region
900 Market Street
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 19107-4292
Telephone: 215-606-0100
Email:philadelphia.archives@nara.gov


Southwest Region
1400 John Burgess Drive
Fort Worth, TX 76140
Telephone: 817- 551-2051
Maintains retired records from Federal agencies and courts in  Arkansas, Louisiana, Oklahoma, and Texas.



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Information in this Wiki page is excerpted from the online course US: Occupational Records offered by The National Institute for Genealogical Studies. To learn more about this course or other courses available from the Institute, see our website. We can be contacted at wiki@genealogicalstudies.com

We welcome updates and additions to this Wiki page.