National Archives at Seattle

Services for the Public

Genealogy Research

Microfilm Holdings at the National Archives at Seattle

Currently, our Microfilm Records are unavailable for walk-ins or appointments. Please monitor our site for more information about when the records will become available. 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

Check out our Microfilm Holdings Guide for more information.  

E-mail your inquiry to or call the Seattle facility at (206) 336-5132.


Online Resources

The National Archives has worked with several different partners to digitize select microfilm publications.  Many of the microfilm publications available to view at the National Archives at Seattle have been digitized. See our list of publications that have been digitized, and links to access them. 


Historical Research


Original records

The National Archives at Seattle has more than 58,000 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 by over 60 Federal agencies in Alaska, Idaho, Oregon, and Washington. Federal law requires that agencies transfer permanently valuable, noncurrent records to The National Archives (NARA).

Among subjects of local interest are: Chinese Exclusion Act, Naval and Coast Guard records pertaining to World War II, Civilian Conservation Corps, National Forests, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Indigenous Tribal records for the Pacific Northwest, Immigration and Naturalization records as well as Customs and Merchant Vessels.

The archival holdings are arranged by record group (RG), which is defined as 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 by telephone, mail, or electronic mail at Appointments and virtual consultations are required before research within our holdings can be conducted.

Before using archival holdings, every researcher must obtain a researcher identification card. An applicant must first complete an On-Line Researcher Orientation and present a certificate of completion to obtain a researcher card. On their appointment day, the researcher must show identification that includes a photograph, such as a driver's license, passport, school, or a business identification card. They must then complete a short form giving name, address, telephone number, and brief description of the proposed research topic. A Researcher Identification Card, valid for 1 calendar year, is then issued. This card must be presented during each research visit.


Microfilmed records

Currently, our Microfilm Records are unavailable for walk-ins or appointments. Please monitor our site for more information about when the records will become available.

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.



For a fee, the staff will make or arrange for copies/scans 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


The National Archives at Seattle Main Page