Know Your Records Program



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Are you looking for a way to present research work done at the National Archives?

You can submit your ideas for a presentation at

Know Your Records Program Know Your Records Program

Please check back often for schedule updates!

Events and publications showing you how to use U.S. Federal Government records held at the National Archives for historical and genealogical research. Events are free and open to all. Registration is not required.


Lectures are held throughout the month and are available both on-site and on YouTube:

Did you miss the live event? We have a growing number of video recordings, handouts, and presentations available on the Know Your Records playlist.

Wednesday, September 14, at 2 p.m.
What’s New at FamilySearch
William G. McGowan Theater and YouTube

FamilySearch provides free online access to over 2,079 record collections with 1.2 billion images, 5.36 billion searchable names, research assistance, genealogical education, community forums, and an ever-expanding knowledge base (Wiki). This session will explore the many resources available online and at your local Family History Center. Presentation materials available at online.

Thursday, August 11, at 2 p.m.
William G. McGowan Theater & US National Archives YouTube Channel
DC Emancipation Act

In 1862, the DC Emancipation Act freed enslaved persons in the District of Columbia. Damani Davis, archivist, discusses petitions filed by owners and slaves under the Act.

Video | Presentation Slides | Handout 1 | Handout 2 |
Handout 3



Live captioning will be available during the broadcast and in-person. A transcript will become available after the event. If you require an alternative or additional accommodation for an event, please send an email to: or call 202-357-5260 in advance.


For DC location details see our Visitor's Guide.

Pedigree chart traditional tree

Genealogy Programs

“Help! Iím Stuck” Genealogy Consultation

Not sure where to begin? Has a genealogical problem stumped you? Archivist Claire Kluskens is available from noon to 4 p.m. to answer your questions. Sign up for first-come, first-served 20-minute appointments at the Microfilm Research desk on Saturdays. The genealogy consultations take place on one Saturday a month, in the Microfilm Research Room, Research Center (Penn. Ave. Entrance), 700 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW, Washington, DC.

  • Summer break in July and August
  • Saturday, September 17, noon-4 p.m.
  • Saturday, October 22, noon-4 p.m.
  • Saturday, November 12, noon-4 p.m.
  • Saturday, December 10, noon-4 p.m.

YouTube Know Your Records Playlist

This is a selection of some of the genealogy videos available on the Know Your Records playlist US National Archives YouTube Channel

Introduction to Genealogy at the National Archives (5-part video series)
Learn how to do basic genealogical research using Federal records at the National Archives including census, immigration, and military service and pension records.

Census Records at the National Archives US National Archives YouTube Channel

Immigration Records at the National Archives US National Archives YouTube Channel

Military Research at the National Archives - Volunteer Service US National Archives YouTube Channel

Military Research at the National Archives - Regular Service US National Archives YouTube Channel

Military Research at the National Archives - Pension Records US National Archives YouTube Channel

Virtual Genealogy Fairs

Every year, the National Archives hosts a virtual Genealogy Fair via a live webcast on YouTube. The sessions offer family history research tools for all skill levels on Federal records. Thousands of family historians participate in the live event. It is not too late to be part of this educational program!

Session videos and handouts are available free of charge from the links below.

Virtual Genealogy FairsYear 2015, Year 2014, Year 2013

Genealogy Workshops Nationwide

The National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) offers the public a comprehensive program of genealogical workshops and courses in its facilities nationwide. Topics include an introduction to genealogy and research into records such as census schedules, military service and pension records, and passenger lists.

More DC, Area Events

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The U.S. National Archives and Records Administration
1-86-NARA-NARA or 1-866-272-6272