Textual Records at the National Archives at Washington, DC

The National Archives at Washington, DC (Archives 1) Reference Branch provides information to on- and off-site researchers about records housed here.

We can suggest record groups and series for researchers to consult, assist researchers in using our finding aids, and help researchers order copies. We are not staffed to provide general research or genealogical services.

Overview of Our Records:

Textual records housed at Archives 1 can be grouped into three broad categories: Army, Navy/Maritime, and Civilian. Records of the U.S. Senate and U.S. House of Representatives are housed with the Center for Legislative Archives.

Includes records of U.S. Army soldiers and units from the Revolutionary War up to (but not including) World War I

Includes records of the U.S. Navy (prior to World War II), Coast Guard, and Marines; the U.S. Shipping Board; and Lighthouses

Includes records of select non-military Federal agencies, Federal courts in D.C., and the U.S. Supreme Court

Overview of Our Services:

On-Site Consultation:

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Archives 1 Research Room

We encourage researchers with complex research topics to contact us before you visit. If this is not possible, we recommend that you arrive early in the day to leave time to consult finding aids and staff.

You may speak to an Archives 1 Reference staff member in our Consultation Room. The Consultation Room is located on the ground floor of our building.

Consultation Room Hours (MondayFriday):

  • 8:45 a.m.–4:00 p.m.

Pulling Original Records:

To view textual records in our research rooms, you must first go through our researcher orientation and obtain a researcher card. You may then complete a pull slip and submit it to a Reference staff member for review.

Records are retrieved at specific times during the day, so please leave enough time before a pull for a staff member to review your slip.

Know Before You Visit:

  • We are not staffed to pull records in advance of researchers' arrival.
  • Pull times are prompt.
  • We recommend that researchers submit pull slips 15 to 20 minutes before a pull time so that staff can review and process their requests.

Pull Times (MondayFriday):

  • 9:30 a.m.
  • 10:30 a.m.
  • 11:30 a.m.
  • 1:00 p.m.
  • 2:00 p.m.
  • 3:00 p.m.

Please see our Information for Researchers and Research Visit FAQs pages for additional information about conducting on-site research.

    Off-Site Research:

    If you have a question about records housed at the National Archives in Washington, DC, please email us at archives1reference@nara.gov.

    Our staff will respond to your inquiry within 10 to 12 business days. Please do not send a duplicate request before that time period has expired.

    Research Online:

    National Archives Catalog

    You can search the National Archives Catalog to find descriptions and digitized images of our records.

    Search the National Archives Catalog.

    Partner Sites

    Many records have been digitized and made available online through partner sites like Ancestry.com, Fold3.com, and FamilySearch.org.

    See our Digitized Microfilm page for a list of records digitized by our partners.