Aerial Photography in Record Group 145: Records of the Farm Service Agency

Aerial photographs for RG 145: Records of the Farm Service Agency are in the series Aerial Photographs of the United States, 1934 - 1957. Like other series of domestic photographs, you begin the search for these by using Special List 25, available for download digitally here and in the Cartographic Research Room.

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Special List 25, RG 145 Aerial Photographs, Berkshire County, MA

Indexes are filed by state and county. When searching Special List 25 for your county of interest, you will see a list of years and projects. Most of these indexes are scanned and available digitally at RG 145: Indexes to Aerial Photographs of the United States, 1953 - 1957.

You can search the National Archives Catalog to see if the indexes are available for a specific county by following these instructions:

Step 1: Navigate to

Step 2: Click on the "Advanced Search" button next to the main search bar.

Step 3: Enter the following search data:

  • Search Term: Enter "Year County Name, State". You can also just enter the county and state if you want to see all available indexes for that county.
  • Record Group: Enter "145"
  • Level of Descriptions: Select "File Unit"
  • Location of Archival Materials: Select "National Archives at College Park - Cartographic"

Scroll to the bottom of the search page and click "Search".

RG 145 aerial indexes catalog search fields


You will then see the search results for the available indexes:

RG 145 aerial indexes catalog search results


Step 4: Click on the file unit from the search results.

RG 145 aerial indexes file unit


Step 5: Click on the "Search within this file unit" button. This will bring up all of the digitized sheets for the file unit.

RG 145 aerial indexes catalog search item list


You can then click on each sheet to view it.

RG 145 aerial indexes catalog search item view

You can download the scans by clicking the blue down arrow under the image.

If your specific county and year are not available in the Catalog, they are available in our research room. These indexes may be a large format negative mosaic or aperture card, which are not digitized.

The indexes for the RG 145 photography are photomosaics. You can search the index to find your area of interest.

RG 145 aerial indexes, berkshire county, 1952, DPM, sheet 1 zoom in

You can search the index for your area of interest. The symbol, roll and exposure on the frame creates a citation which can be used to locate the film can where the photographs are held (ex: DPM-1K-60). The symbol, roll and frame numbers can be searched in the RG 114 Can Locator, available digitally onsite.

Information about the photographs, including the forest name, project and symbol, can be found on the index. There will also often be a diagram showing the full county and which sheets cover each part of the county.

RG 145, aerial indexes, Berkshire County, MA, 1952, DPM, Sheet 1 project information


The symbol, roll and frame numbers can be searched in the RG 145 Can Locator, available digitally onsite.

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RG 145, Aerial Photographs, Can Locator

In this case, the photographs would be on film can DN5651, which is available to view onsite. Cans with an “ON” identifier are original negatives which are stored at the Lenexa Federal Records Center. These cans can be ordered in the Cartographic Research Room and arrive within three business days. If you already have a researcher card, you can order ON cans ahead of your visit to our site. Some ON cans for this record group are onsite and these are noted in the can locator. Cans with a “DN” identifier can be ordered and viewed onsite.

Once you order the cans at our facility, you can view and copy them in the Cartographic Research Room. We have light tables which allow you to view the film and take photographs on a personal camera. We also have aerial film scanners available. If you have a USB capable laptop, you can bring it to our research room and scan the photographs to your computer. You can learn more about aerial film reproductions here.

You can view a blog post on these photographs on the Unwritten Record blog here: Researching Aerial Photography of the United States : RG 145 Aerial Indexes Now Digitized.

If you have any questions about these photographs, you can contact the Cartographic Branch at