Getting Started with Research at the National Archives
Determine your Topic of Interest
If you already have a topic in mind, continue on to Step Two, to Gather Information about your Topic
If you are still deciding about a research topic, here are some places on our website where you can get some ideas. The topics listed represent only a small fraction of possible research topics but will help you to get started.
- Research Topics page
- Archival Online Catalog (ARC) Topics pages
- Archives Library Information Center (ALIC) "Reference at Your Desk"
- Access to Archival Databases (AAD)
Just want to browse our web site?
If you don't need a research topic and just want to browse our website and see some interesting historical documents, here are some places to start:
- The Declaration of Independence, the Constitution of the United States of America, and the Bill of Rights
- Photographs by Ansel Adams and Civil War photographer Mathew Brady
- "American Originals"–from our stacks and vaults in our museum exhibits online.
Are you here for Genealogy?
- Are you here looking for information about how to look for your family history/genealogy? If so, you should see our Genealogists/Family Historians web pages.
- If you are here to obtain copies of military service and family history records, you can learn about ordering copies of records from the National Archives here.
Are you looking for records about a Veteran?
Are you here looking for records about a veteran related to you? If so, you should see our Veterans and Their Families web pages.
If you are a veteran, or the next-of-kin of a deceased veteran, and want to receive a copy of the veteran's military service record: