National Archives at Chicago

Genealogy FAQs

Visit our Genealogy page for general information about our holdings.

Genealogy FAQs

Q.   What Federal census records do you have?

A.  We have Federal Census records on microfilm for the entire U.S. from 1790 to 1930. The 1940 Census has not been microfilmed, but is available digitally on our website and other genealogy sites.

Q.   Does your facility have a subscription to

A.  The public access computers at all National Archives facilities provide courtesy access to

Q.   What is

A. is a subscription-based firm that provides access to digital copies of select records from the National Archives. Courtesy access to is available through any of the National Archives' public access computers. Learn more information about the National Archives partnership with (formerly Footnote).

Q.   Do I need to make an appointment to use a microfilm reader?

A.  No, but you are welcome to call and verify that they are not being used, though this it is a rare occurrence for them to all be reserved. Our number is (773) 948-9001.

Q.   Can I reserve a computer?

A.  No. Computer availability is based on a first come, first served basis. During periods of high demand, researchers are limited to 30 minutes per session, though for the most part there is always one available.

Q.   Do you have birth, death or marriage records?

A.  No. Birth, death, and marriage records are created at the county and state levels of government. We recommend that you contact the appropriate county courthouse, state archives, or state department of health.

Q.   Do you lend or borrow microfilm rolls with other institutions?

A.  The National Archives does not participate in an interlibrary loan program. Other potential resources for viewing select rolls of National Archives microfilm publications may be through your local Family History Center, or the Center for Research Libraries.

Q.   How can I find more recent (1950-2010) records of the Federal census?

A.  Information from Federal census records that have not yet been released to the public can be obtained through the U.S. Census Bureau's Age Search Service.

Q.   Do you have information on how to locate missing persons, veterans and records of adoptions/birthparents?

A.  No. The National Archives doesn't hold information on how to locate missing persons. We recommend that you contact your local public library regarding books and other resources available for review.