Using the NARA web site:
Very few records are online, so doing actual research on your ancestors is very limited here. However, this web site can help you prepare for your visit to the National Archives. This includes finding microfilm roll numbers for records you may want to search or order copies of. You can also read articles about the records, and perhaps get ideas for new types of records to investigate.
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 for genealogy
You may want to first view our Guide
- 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.
- WWII casualty records for the Army and Navy
- Casualty lists for the Korean and Vietnam Wars
- Search for Casualty lists for WWII, Korean War and Vietnam War using the Access to Archival Databases (AAD) system
- Search for Passenger lists into the Port of New York, 1846-1851, the “Famine Irish data files” using the Access to Archival Databases system (AAD).
- Search selected Chinese exclusion lists
- Steps on how to search the Dawes Rolls online (Native American records), including the Dawes Rolls Index and Final Rolls
- Index to the Applications Submitted for the Eastern Cherokee Roll of 1909 (Guion Miller Roll)
- 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
- List of genealogy-related journal articles which used records in the National Archives.
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.
Links to other genealogical resources.
What’s Not Online Here:
- Family trees
- Genealogical databases or search engines for ancestors listed in NARA records
- Records of individuals, including pages or images from the census, passenger lists, military records, or maps.
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:
- Purchase copies of our microfilm and use the film at a local library. See information about our available microfilm publications.
- 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.