Pictures and Photos at NARA of interest to Genealogists
Genealogists primarily search our holdings to find pictures of:
- Relatives who served in the military or worked for a civilian agency. We have many portraits (generally the higher the rank the more likely there's a portrait), plus photos of individuals performing various activities.
- Old cities and towns or events their ancestors participated in.
- Subjects, like Navy Ships or Battles that ancestors might have been on or participated in
What's Online for Genealogists?
In the National Archives Catalog
The Still Pictures Branch at the National Archives in College Park, Maryland, has over 2 million scans or born-digital images now available in the National Archives Catalog. The following series have been of especial interest to genealogists.
- Mathew Brady Photographs of Civil War-Era Personalities and Scenes, 1921 - 1940
- American Unofficial Collection of World War I Photographs, 1917 - 1918
- Signal Corps Photographs of American Military Activity, (Record Group 111-SC), ca. 1754 - ca. 1954
- General Photographic File of the Department of Navy, 1943 - 1958
- Historical Photograph Files, 1896 - 1963
- "Airscapes" of American and Foreign Areas, 1917 - 1964
- Combined Military Service Digital Photographic Files, 1982 - 2007
- Index to Personalities in the U.S. Army Signal Corps Photographic Files (111-SC, 111-P, 111-PC, 111-C), 1940 - 1981
- Index to Photographs of Personalities in the General Photographic File of the Department of Navy, 1941 - 1945
- Indexes to Photographs of Marine Corps and Noted Civilian Personalities, 1927 - 1981
- Black and White and Color Photographs of U.S. Air Force and Predecessor Agencies Activities, Facilities and Personnel - World War II and Korean War, ca. 1940 - ca. 1980
- Photographs of the American West, 1861--1912 [rev 1974]
- Pictures of Indians in the United States [rev. 1977]
Pictures of African Americans During World War II (1993)
- Pictures of the American City [rev. 1977]
- Pictures of the Civil War [rev. 1981]
- Pictures of the Revolutionary War [rev. 1972]
- Pictures of United States Navy Ships, 1775--1941
- Pictures of World War II 
Find Descriptive Materials about the Holdings:
- "Guide to the Holdings of the Still Picture Branch of the National Archives", compiled by Barbara Lewis Burger (1990), and the Index
- Audiovisual Records in the National Archives of the United States Relating to World War II, Reference Information Paper 70 (1992)