National Archives at Seattle

Services for the Public

Genealogy Research

Refer to Caption The Regional Archives in Seattle, WA.

The Seattle facility has extensive microfilm holdings of value for genealogy research, among them:

  • Federal population censuses for all States, 1790-1930 (including indexes for 1880, 1900, 1910, and 1920);
  • military service records;
  • pension and bounty land warrant applications;
  • some passenger arrival and naturalization records;
  • records relating to the Five Civilized Tribes.

This microfilm is not available on loan.

Microfilm readers and reader-printers are available without appointment. A 2-hour limit is imposed when researchers are waiting. Researchers using microfilm do not need a researcher's ID card.

Additional help:

Workshops at NARA's Pacific Alaska Region (Seattle).

Hire an Independent Researcher (non-NARA staff)

NARA's Online Microfilm Catalog, which allows researchers to determine the microfilm publications held by the Seattle facility.

See the Genealogy section, for additional general information about NARA's genealogical resources.

Genealogy Links from the Archives Library and Information Center, with links for how to do genealogical research, genealogy resources around the world, and databases of family trees.

Other Genealogical Web Sites, for links to non-NARA genealogical web sites.

E-mail your inquiry to

Call the Seattle facility at 206-336-5125.

Historical Research

Original records

NARA's Pacific Alaska Region (Seattle) has more than 30,000 cubic feet of archival holdings, among them textual documents, photographs, maps, and architectural drawings, dating from the 1850s to the 1980s. These archival holdings were created or received by the Federal courts and over 60 Federal agencies in Idaho, Oregon, and Washington. Federal law requires that agencies transfer permanently valuable, noncurrent records to NARA.

Among subjects of local interest are: Chinese exclusion, the homefront during World War II, the work of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Native Americans, the merchant marine service, and smuggling.

The archival holdings are arranged by record group (abbreviated RG), a body of records from an agency or bureau identified by an RG number. Selected finding aids, including a comprehensive guide to archival holdings, are available by mail and online. Research can be initiated in person, or by telephone, mail, or electronic mail at Individuals who wish to use archival holdings on-site will facilitate their research by calling before visiting.

Before using archival holdings, every researcher must obtain a researcher identification card. An applicant must show identification that includes a photograph, such as a driver's license, passport, or school or business identification card, and complete a short form giving name, address, telephone number, and brief description of the proposed research topic. A researcher ID card, valid for 1 years and renewable, is then issued. It must be presented during each research visit.

Microfilmed records

In addition to unique original records, the Seattle facility has extensive holdings of National Archives microfilm publications. These microfilm publications reproduce basic documentation for the study of history, economics, public administration, political science, law, ethnology, genealogy, and other subjects. Included are: records of U.S. diplomatic missions worldwide, material relating to the Revolutionary and Civil Wars, German records captured at the end of World War II, and territorial papers. Selected microfilm can be loaned to academic institutions.

Microfilm readers and reader-printers are available without appointment. A 2 hour limit is imposed when researchers are waiting.

Bankruptcy Case Files

The Seattle facility has bankruptcy and other case files from Federal, U.S. district and bankruptcy courts in Alaska, Idaho, Oregon, and Washington. More. . .


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.
See the Reproduction fee schedule

The National Archives at Seattle Main Page