Web Guide: NARA Cheat Sheet

Web Guide: NARA Cheat Sheet

Fast Facts, Quick Links and more resources for using NARA's website.

Want more advice on using NARA’s Web site to your genealogical advantage? See our NARA Web Guide and our step-by-step sample NARA searches.
 
NARA Vital Statistics

Web address: <archives.gov>

 
Owner: National Archives and Records Administration, 700 Pennsylvania Ave. NW, Washington, DC 20408 (mailing address: 8601 Adelphi Road, College Park, MD 20740, (866) 272-6272
 
Price: Free
 

Locations:

  • National Archives, Washington, DC
  • National Archives II, College Park, Md.
  • 22 regional records facilities
  • 13 presidential libraries
Content Highlights
  • Access to Archival Databases: indexes to immigration, WWII enlistments, Korea and Vietnam casualties
  • Archival Research Collection: digitized photos, Guion-Miller Roll index, descriptions of NARA holdings
  • finding aids to federal records
  • order popular genealogy records online
Record Request Fees
  • federal census record, ship passenger list, military service file or military bounty land-warrant application: $25
  • military pension application (pre-Civil War): $50
  • military pension application (Civil War and later): $75 for up to 100 pages plus 65 cents per additional page
 Microfilm Fees
  • interlibrary loan: $3.50 per roll for up to four rolls of microfilm, plus $6 shipping
  • purchase: $85 per roll
Timeline

1934 Congress creates National Archives
1935 Archives I opens in Washington, DC
1973 National Personnel Records Center fire destroys many military service files
1985 NARA becomes an independent federal agency

1993 Archives II opens in College Park, Md.
 
National Archives Quick Links
Access to Archival Databases

Archival Research Catalog (ARC)

Caring for Your Family Archives

Genealogy FAQs

Guide to Federal Records in the National Archives of the United States

Hire a Researcher

Microfilm Catalogs (click Microfilm)

Microfilm Rental

National Archives eStore: Archivists/Genealogists

National Archives Experience: Digital Vaults

National Personnel Records Center

Order Online

Plan Your Visit

Reproduction fees

Research Tools and Ways to Search Online

Research Topics of Genealogical Interest

What You Can Find at NARA Online

 
Resources

The Ancestry Insider: Visiting NARA

Cyndi’s List: National Archives

Guide to Genealogical Research in the National Archives, 3rd edition, edited by Anne Bruner Eales and Robert M. Kvasnicka (NARA)
 

NARA records on Footnote

NARA Records on Ancestry.com

 
Hacks and Shortcuts
AAD searchable databases
Go to <aad.archives.gov/aad> and click on Passenger Lists for:
  • Famine Irish Passenger File 1846-1851
  • Germans to America Passenger File 1850-1897
  • Italians to America Passenger File 1855-1900
  • Russians to America Passenger File 1834-1897
Click on Civilians for Japanese Americans Relocated During World War II
 
Click on Military Personnel for:
  • World War II Army Enlistment Records
  • World War II Prisoners of War
ARC browsable databases

To quickly access the following ARC databases, go to <archives.gov/research/arc/topics/genealogy#keywords> and click the linked topics.

  • Index to Applications Submitted for the Eastern Cherokee Roll of 1909
  • Index to the Final Rolls of Citizens and Freedmen of the Five Civilized Tribes in Indian Territory (Dawes Rolls)
  • Summary of War Casualties (World War II)
  • World War II Honor List of Dead and Missing
Focused searching
Because the National Archives site is so huge, a site search may be the easiest way to find what you need. Type your search terms in the box in the top right corner of any page and hit Go. A search from the Genealogists/Family Historians page will let you search the whole NARA site or just the current section, which can help you focus on the best matches for genealogy.
 

Open links in new windows

So you don’t lose your way, open links in new windows or tabs. Right-click on a link and select Open in New Window or Open in New Tab. On a Mac, hold down the Control key when you click on a link to open it in a new tab.
 

Research Support

Visit <archives.gov/contact> to submit a research question, request for a record order form or other suggestion or complaint. Or call toll-free (866) 272-6272. If the NARA records you need aren’t described in ARC, check <archives.gov/research>, e-mail the general reference desk at inquire@nara.gov or call (301) 837-2000.
 
From the November 2009 Family Tree Magazine

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