National Archives Washington, D.C.
The National Archives holds historical records dating from the Revolutionary War to the present. The original records include photographs, maps, architectural drawings, video and sound recordings, and textual records relating to United States history; including subjects such as the expansion of the United States, wars and military history, Native Americans, slavery, the judicial system, immigration, and the activities of government agencies. The most heavily used records are on microfilm. These include U.S. census records for all states from 1790-1920, excluding 1890; census records indexes for 1880, 1900, 1910, and 1920; military service records; passenger arrival lists; and naturalization records after September 1906.
Access to Records
Researchers who plan to use the original records on-site should schedule visits in advance. All researchers using original records need to get a researcher ID card. Records may be photocopied unless the condition of the document prohibits it. Researchers who plan to use the microfilm records can do so in the self-service microfilm reader room. No appointment is necessary but there is a time limit for use of the readers when other researchers are waiting. Self-service microfilm to paper copies are available.
Through the Mail
The National Archives staff will not do genealogical research for you. However, they can look up and copy a particular record if you have detailed information about that record. Costs are usually less than $10. If you are looking for a specific type of record, call or write to find out what information is required before the staff will initiate a search.
A number of important pamphlets are available through the Archives. You may consider ordering the following pamphlets to help you in your search:
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