Using the NARA web site:
The National Archives website has articles, finding aids, webinars, and other information about our records and how to conduct research in our holdings. Additionally, we have a growing number of digitized records available online through the National Archives Catalog and in AAD that are useful for researching family history online.
What Information is Available Online Here:
- How to start genealogical research, with links to web sites with tutorials.
- Topics on genealogical records held in the Archives.
- Reference Reports: Short descriptions of research strategies for frequently used records of genealogical interest held at the National Archives Building in Washington, DC. (Most of the records described are on microfilm, and many are available online through Ancestry or Fold3. You can access Ancestry.com and Fold3 for free from any NARA facility).
- Use the National Archives Catalog to search for digitized records or descriptions of records. New digitized images are regularly being added to the catalog.
You may want to first view our Catalog Guide for Genealogists and Family Historians
- Genealogy Workshop Schedules at our facilities nationwide
- Virtual Genealogy Fair held annually
- Articles from Prologue on various genealogical research topics
- Database to Search Microfilm in our holdings, with descriptions and locations for each.
- Guides to our Microfilm, roll-by-roll listings for Census (1790-1890, 1900, 1910, 1920, 1930), Passenger Lists, American Indians, Black Studies, and Military Records.
- How to order copies of records
- List of Federal agencies whose records may be of genealogical interest.
- List of Genealogy-related books and CD-ROMs available for use in the Archives Library Information Center (ALIC) in the National Archives Building in Washington, DC
- Casualty lists for the Korean and Vietnam Wars
- Selected Chinese exclusion lists, search in the National Archives Catalog
- Fugitive Slave Case Papers, 1850 - 1860 and Petitions Filed Under the Fugitive Slave Act (Fugitive Slave Petition Book), 1850-1860, Search in the National Archives Catalog
- Fort Smith, Arkansas: 50,000 Criminal Case Files, Search in the National Archives Catalog
- Appointments and Oaths of U.S. Marshals and Deputy Marshals, 1864-1912, Search in the National Archives Catalog
- Alien Registration Affidavits from the U.S. District Court, Phoenix Division, Search in the National Archives Catalog
- Sample Case Files of Pension and Bounty-Land Warrant Applications Based on Revolutionary War Service, ca. 1800 - ca. 1900, Search in the National Archives Catalog
- Records of Death and Interment at Camp Nelson, KY, 1864-1865, Search in the National Archives Catalog
- Sample Case Files of Members, Battle Mountain Sanitarium, 1907-1934, Search in the National Archives Catalog
- Spanish-American War Compiled Military Service Records for 1,235 "Rough Riders", Search in the National Archives Catalog
- State Summaries of War Casualties for the United States Navy, Marine Corps, and Coast Guard during World War II, 1946, Search in the National Archives Catalog
- World War II Honor List of Dead and Missing Army and Army Air Forces Personnel, 1946, Search in the National Archives Catalog
- Dawes Rolls Index and Final Rolls, Search in the National Archives Catalog, see also tutorial
- WWII casualty records for the Army and Navy
- Index to the Applications Submitted for the Eastern Cherokee Roll of 1909 (Guion Miller Roll)
- Casualty lists for WWII, Korean War and Vietnam War, Search in AAD (Access to Archives Databases)
- Prisoner of War lists from WWII, Korean War, and Vietnam War, Search in AAD
- Passenger lists into the Port of New York, 1846-1851, the "Famine Irish data files", Search in AAD
- Japanese-American Internee File, 1942 - 1946, Search in AAD
- Records of Duty Locations for Naval Intelligence Personnel, 1942 - 1945, Search in AAD
- Index to the Gorgas Hospital Mortuary Death Records, 1979 - 1991, Search in AAD
- Records of Awards and Decorations of Honor During the Vietnam Conflict, 10/1968 - 12/1972, Search in AAD
Note: The National Archives' partners, Ancestry and Fold3, have digitized many of NARA's holdings with genealogical interest, and made them available online. There is unlimited access to these services, free-of-charge, from any NARA facility nationwide. These records are also gradually being added to the National Archives Catalog. Please see our Digitized by Partners page to see which records they have digitized and which may already be in the National Archives Catalog.
Free Genealogy Research Tools
Unlimited access to these services, free-of-charge, is available from any National Archives facility nationwide. Visit the National Archives
To use these web sites from outside of the National Archives, you will have to subscribe to the respective service. These links are provided for your convenience; they are not endorsements of the services.
What's Not Online Here:
- Family trees
- Vital records, church records, state militia records, or other records not created by the federal government
Ways to Conduct Archival Research
If the archival materials you are seeking aren't available on the web, it may be best to visit an archives to conduct your research. Archival research sometimes is difficult and can take many hours to complete. If you cannot visit us at one of our research facilities nationwide, you can:
- Hire an independent researcher to conduct archival research for you.
- Visit a local genealogical society library or public library with a large genealogical collection, state archives, or LDS Family History Center, and use our microfilm in their holdings.
If You Are New To Genealogical Research
If you are new to genealogical research or you need a "refresher," see Start Your Genealogy Research.