National Archives at Riverside

National Archives at Riverside: Historical Research

The National Archives at Riverside has approximately 80,000 cubic feet of archival holdings dating from about 1850 to 2012. In addition to textual records, there are architectural drawings, maps, and photographs. These holdings were created or received by the Federal courts and over 50 Federal agencies in Arizona, southern California, and Clark County, Nevada. Federal law requires that agencies transfer permanently valuable, noncurrent records to the National Archives.

Among the subjects covered are:

  • private land claims of the Spanish and Mexican periods in California history
  • the opening of the public lands to homestead settlement
  • Native Americans' life and culture
  • ethnic diversity, Chinese exclusion, immigration and naturalization
  • the maritime industry and its development
  • the buildup of coastal defenses and military bases since the Spanish-American War
  • the growth of the naval bases and their relationship to and impact on local communities
  • the development of Corps of Engineers civil works projects relating to flood control, beach erosion control, pollution abatement, and the uses of navigable waterways

The archival holdings are arranged by record group (RG), a body of records from an agency or bureau, identified by an RG number. Selected finding aids, including a comprehensive guide to the archival holdings, are available by mail and online.

Research can be initiated in person, or by telephone, mail, fax, or electronic mail at Individuals who wish to use archival holdings on site will facilitate their research by calling before visiting.


Genealogy Research

The Riverside facility has extensive microfilm holdings of value for genealogy research.


For a fee, the staff will make or arrange for copies of documents, including certified copies for legal use, unless the physical condition of the documents does not allow reproduction. Copies of microfilm can be made at self-service copiers or by other arrangement for a fee.