Looking for federal records but can't make the trek to the National Archives in Washington, DC? No problem — you might have a branch of the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) in your own backyard.
NARA operates 14 regional research facilities throughout the United States. Every facility has microfilmed copies of all extant US censuses from 1790 to 1930, and Soundexes (indexes that group surnames phonetically — see page 9) for 1880, 1900, 1910, 1920 and 1930. Besides the censuses, you'll find other popular microfilmed collections, such as passenger lists for the region, special censuses (Indian, slave, agricultural, manufacturing), compiled military service records and Revolutionary War documents. Each NARA branch also keeps documents specific to its jurisdiction — for example, the San Francisco-area Pacific Region is home to case files for Angel Island immigrants; the Southwest Region in Fort Worth, Texas, has Bureau of Indian Affairs records from Oklahoma.
Check the list below to find a regional facility near you. For details about each facility's collection, go to <www.archives.gov/facilities>. Click a region name and you'll see a Web page detailing that branch's location, hours, services and holdings.