Research Our Records

Online Research Tools and Aids

Find Records and Information about Records

Our website contains answers to many of the preliminary research-related questions you might have.

  • To find copies of Federal records on our website and/or information about the records and their historical context, you will have to look in several places.
  • Some sources listed below are databases while others are online guides, publications, and exhibits.

Ways to Search Online

National Archives Catalog

Our National Archives Catalog is the online portal to our records and information about our records. It provides access to data, digitized records, selected series from Access to Archival Databases (AAD), over one million electronic records from the Electronic Records Archives (ERA), all of the web pages from, and all of the web pages from the Presidential Libraries.
Go to the National Archives Catalog

History Hub

Get help with your research and find answers to your questions at History Hub, a crowdsourcing platform sponsored by the National Archives.  Experts from the National Archives as well as other experts, history enthusiasts, and citizen archivists are available to help with your research.
Go to History Hub

Microfilm Catalog

This is a searchable database of more than 3,400 numbered microfilm. The described microfilm include those created by or purchased by NARA for researcher use. Determine which rolls of microfilm may be the most relevant for your research at NARA. You can search for microfilm by keyword, microfilm number, Record Group number, and/or location of our nationwide research facilities. Researchers at our research facilities may use this material for free.
Go to the Microfilm Catalog

Access to Archival Databases (AAD)

AAD is a search engine into some of NARA's holdings of electronic records. There are databases and indexes from more than 30 archival series, including over 350 data files totaling well over 50 million unique records; this number will continue to grow. Search by person, geographic areas, organizations, or dates.
Go to AAD

Archives Library Information Center (ALIC)

ALIC, part of the National Archives, provides sources for research about American history and government, archival administration, information management, and government documents to archives and records management professionals, the general public, and National Archives staff. Search their online catalog for holdings of the Archives libraries in Washington, DC and College Park, MD.
Go to ALIC

Additionally, ALIC's Reference at Your Desk feature provides quick access to online resources on many diverse subjects.

Guide to Federal Records

Search NARA's holdings of federal records at a very high level, to identify which record groups may have material relevant to your research topics. This includes records that originated in the executive, judicial, and legislative branches.
Go to the Guide to Federal Records

Finding Aids

Reference Reports

Filing Manuals

Filing manuals outline the filing classification systems used by staff in the Army, Navy, Coast Guard, and various departments and agencies of the federal government.

NARA Publications

Published research guides, articles, and papers
These include guides, articles, reference papers, inventories, and more, all designed to help prepare you for your research at NARA.

New Accessions and Openings

View our latest Accessions and Openings for all our locations.

Search by Topic

Research Topics
For many topics, we have included related articles, finding aids, and search tips. Links to online information about selected topics in National Archives records.

Search by Federal Government Agency

Look for the Federal Government organization that created the records you are interested in.

Search by Media Type or Format

Search for records based on media-type or format of the records (such as paper documents, photographs, motion picture film or video, audio recordings, maps and drawings, aerial film, microfilm, databases and electronic records)

If you need to see records that are not available on our website or other websites, you may need to contact us, visit us, or hire an independent researcher to continue your research.
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