Research Our Records

Online Databases

Free at the National Archives

Free when accessed from a link on while at a National Archives facility. (Libraries may also provide free access.)

More Free Subscription Databases

Free Everywhere

Free (no subscription required) - available from any computer.

More Free Databases

Subscription Databases Free on National Archives Computers

Use these links on a National Archives facility computer to access these subscription-only websites for free. (Free access can also often be found from local public and university libraries.)

If you use the same link from outside the National Archives facility, there will be a fee.

See below to learn more about each of these Subscription Databases.

Details about Subscription Databases

These websites are free only when accessed from a link on while at a National Archives facility computer.

If you use the same link from outside the National Archives facility, there will be a fee.

America: History & Life

This database offers access to:

  • Complete bibliographic reference to the history of the United States and Canada from prehistory to the present.
  • 490,000 bibliographic entries for periodicals dating back to 1954.
  • Over 2,000 journals published worldwide.
  • Produced by ABC-CLIO.
  • Click on subscription access link to browse the database.
  • America: History & Life is also available to staff and researchers on CD-ROM in the library at the National Archives at Washington, DC.

Ancestry is a subscription service offering extensive resources for researching family history including databases containing billions of digitized historical documents, message boards, educational materials, and family trees contributed by individual researchers. Over 1.2 billion records in over 3,000 databases, including census images from 1790 onward, immigration and passenger lists, military draft cards, city directories, and much more.

You may want to start your Genealogy research here with searches of recent Census records:

CIA Records Search Tool (CREST)

CREST is the name of the CIA database of declassified intelligence documents. The database, searchable by title, data, and text content, includes Directorate of Operations reports on the role of intelligence in the post WW-II period; material on the creation, organization, and role of the CIA within the U.S. Government; a collection of foreign scientific articles, ground photographs and associated reference materials; and the CIA's first release of motion picture film. 

  • An online CREST Finding Aid to research availability of CIA documents declassified and loaded onto CREST through 2008 is now available through the CIA website (formerly at NARA).  Data for the remaining years up to the present (CREST deliveries have been ongoing) will be placed on the site at later dates.

Digital National Security Archive

  • Contains comprehensive set of declassified government documents.
  • Covers critical world events, countries, and U.S. policy decisions from post World War II through the 21st century.
  • Includes glossaries, chronologies, bibliographies, overviews, and photographs.
  • Documents available in PDF format.


Fold3 (Formerly presents millions of digitized historical documents that can be searched and browsed. The site covers a wide variety of topics, including Civil War records, Native American resources, newspapers, photographs and much more. They now specialize in military records.

You may want to start here if you are searching for Military and Military Pension records:


Ingenta (Articles)

  • Search databases and tables of contents.
  • For instructions, tutorials, and other Ingenta databases see the Ingenta Home Page.
  • Place orders directly by credit card.
  • NARA staff can obtain articles by contacting the ALIC library at 301-837-3415 or by e-mail.


  • Offers core journals in economics, history, political science, and sociology, as well as in other key fields in the humanities and social sciences.
  • Includes 119 titles in twenty-one disciplines.
  • Collection can be searched or browsed by discipline, title, or publisher.


  • ArchivesUSA
    • Directory of Archives and Manuscript Repositories in the United States, with information on over 5,480 repositories and 132,300 collections of primary source material across the United States.
    • National Union Catalog of Manuscript Collections (NUCMC): published since 1959, and contains over 93,100 records.
    • National Inventory of Documentary Sources - US (NIDS-US): complete indexing of over 58,600 records.
    • Distributed by ProQuest
    • Archives USA is also available to staff and researchers on CD-ROM in the library at both the National Archives in Washington, DC and at College Park, MD.
  • ProQuest Direct
    ProQuest Direct includes:
    • Citations, abstracts, and/or full text of over 1000 newspapers and journals, including:
      • Newspaper abstracts and/or full text from 1985-
        (including the full text New York Times for the most recent 90 days).
      • Full text of the Washington Post from 1877-1989.
      • Full text of the New York Times from 1851-2002.
      • Abstracts for over 1000 journals from 1986-.
      • Full text for over 700 journals from 1992-.