Textual Records at the National Archives at Washington, DC

The Archives 1 Reference Branch provides information to on- and off-site researchers about executive and judicial branch records housed at the National Archives in Washington, DC (Archives 1). The Center for Legislative Archives provides assistance with legislative records.

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

For the latest information about our operating status, please see National Archives in Washington, DC.

On-Site Consultation

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Archives 1 Research Room

Archives 1 Reference staff members are available to consult about your research topic in our Consultation Room. The Consultation Room is located on the ground floor of our building through the Pennsylvania Avenue entrance.

Consultation Room Hours (MondayFriday):

  • 9:00 a.m.–4:00 p.m.

Pulling Original Records

To view textual records in our research room, 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.

Please see Information for Researchers and Frequently Asked Questions Related to Research Room Reopenings 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 this 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 Digitized Microfilm for a list of microfilm publications digitized by our partners.