Introduction to Red Book: Archives, Libraries, and Societies

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This entry was originally written by Alice Eichholz, Ph.D., CG for Red Book: American State, County, and Town Sources.

This article is part of
USA sil.png
the Introduction to Red Book.
Vital Records
Census Records
Background Sources
Land Records
Probate Records
Court Records
Tax Records
Cemetery Records
Church Records
Military Records
Periodicals, Newspapers, and Manuscript Collections
Archives, Libraries, and Societies
African American
Native American
Internet Resources
County Resources

This section indicates the major genealogically significant repositories and organizations for each state. Those that have collections or memberships that are national in scope are included below, but often referred to in individual state chapters.


National Archives and Records Administration

Eighth and Pennsylvania Ave.
Washington, DC 20408

NARA has extensive holdings, often referred to throughout Red Book. The indispensable guide, Anne Bruner Eales and Robert M. Kvasnicka, Guide to Genealogical Research in the National Archives of the United States, 3d ed. (Washington, D.C.: National Archives Trust Fund Board, 2001) indicates some of the extent of the records for genealogical research. Additional guides are available for purchase from NARA and, also downloadable from its website, are outlined in other sections of “How to Use This Book.” Many of the records available in Washington, D.C. (census, war, pension, immigration, etc.) are also available on microfilm at the NARA Research and Records Centers (see below). The NARA website provides Access to Archival Databases (AAD), which makes some of the more popular electronic records, primarily covering the last part of the twentieth century, available through the Internet.

National Archives at College Park

University of Maryland
8601 Adelphi Rd.
College Park, MD 10740

The National Archives at College Park was established in 1994 to house U.S. maps, architectural, presidential, post-World War II, photographic materials, and records of civilian agencies.

NARA’s regional centers have been established throughout the United States. These centers hold duplicate microfilms of the major holdings in Washington, D.C., making the records considerably more accessible. The regional centers also have considerable original source material that is endemic only to that region, such as naturalizations, court records, and land records. In addition to individual published guides available for each regional center, The Archives: A Guide to the National Archives Field Branches, compiled by Loretto Dennis Szucs and Sandra Hargreaves Luebking (Salt Lake City: Ancestry, 1988), is an important reference to the records in each of the centers.

National Archives—Northeast Region (Boston)

380 Trapelo Rd.
Waltham, MA 02154

Serves Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, and Vermont.

National Archives—Northeast Region (Pittsfield)

10 Conte Dr.
Pittsfield, MA 01201

A microfilm reading facility for major National Archives collections.

National Archives—Northeast Region (New York City)

201 Varick St.
New York, NY 10014

Serves New York, New Jersey, Puerto Rico, and U.S. Virgin Islands.

National Archives—Mid-Atlantic Region

900 Market St.
Philadelphia, PA 19107

Serves Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, and West Virginia.

National Archives—Southeast Region

1557 St. Joseph Ave.
East Point, GA 30344 (new facility in Morrow, GA after 2004)

Serves Alabama, Georgia, Florida, Kentucky, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Tennessee.

National Archives—Great Lakes Region (Dayton)

3150 Springboro Rd.
Dayton, OH 45439-1883

Provides access to retired federal records from Indiana, Michigan, and Ohio and selected Internal Revenue sites.

National Archives—Great Lakes Region (Chicago)

7358 South Pulaski Rd.
Chicago, IL 60629

Serves Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio, and Wisconsin.

National Archives—Central Plains Region (Lee’s Summit)

200 Space Center Dr.
Lee’s Summit, MO 64064-1182

Provides access to retired records from most Department of Veterans Affairs offices nationwide.

National Archives—Central Plains Region (Kansas City)

2312 East Bannister Rd.
Kansas City, MO 64131

Serves Iowa, Kansas, Missouri, and Nebraska.

National Archives—Southwest Region

501 West Felix St.
P.O. Box 6216
Fort Worth, TX 76115

Serves Arkansas, Louisiana, Oklahoma, and Texas.

National Archives—Rocky Mountain Region

Bldg. 48, Denver Federal Center
Denver, CO 80225

Serves Colorado, Montana, New Mexico, North Dakota, South Dakota, Utah, and Wyoming.

National Archives—Pacific Region (San Francisco)

1000 Commodore Dr.
San Bruno, CA 94066

Serves northern California, Hawaii, Nevada (except Clark County), Pacific Trust Territories, and American Samoa.

National Archives—Pacific Region (Laguna Niguel)

24000 Avilla Rd./P.O. Box 6719
Laguna Niguel, CA 92677

Serves southern California, Arizona, and Nevada (Clark County).

National Archives—Pacific Alaska Region (Seattle)

6125 Sand Point Way N.E.
Seattle, WA 98115

Serves Idaho, Oregon, and Washington.

National Archives—Pacific Alaska Region (Anchorage)

Federal Office Bldg.
654 W. Third Ave., Rm. 012
Anchorage, AK 99501

Serves Alaska.

Washington National Records Center

4205 Suitland Rd.
Suitland, MD 20746
Mailing address: National Archives
Civil Archives Division
Washington, DC 20409

This branch holds records for the District of Columbia, field offices of Federal agencies located in the District of Columbia, Maryland, Virginia, and West Virginia. It also serves Federal Courts located in the District of Columbia and Armed Forces worldwide.


Bibliographic information for every book cataloged in numerous libraries is entered into a national online computer database called the Online Computer Library Center (OCLC). Most libraries (public, private, and university) have access to this extremely important resource. OCLC makes it possible to determine what printed material is available at specific locations in the country and whether it is accessible by interlibrary loan.

Family History Library of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (the Mormons)

35 N. West Temple
Salt Lake City, UT 84150

The FHL has the largest international collection of family history research materials. Although physically located at the above address and open for research to the general public, nearly all of the FHL’s materials that are on microfilm can be borrowed through any of the local Family History Centers, most of which are attached to local meetinghouses of the church. Some materials are restricted and must be used at the FHL. There is usually a waiting period for receiving films, but the cost is nominal. For a listing of all currently operating FHL centers, write to the above address or visit the website to find one of the centers near you and learn how to access their Internet sources, and the microfilm and microfiche materials in the library. Online access to the federal census records and indexes otherwise offered by subscription through is available at most FHL centers.

A number of important materials are available on its website. These include the updated catalog of extensive holdings; the IGI (see Vital Records above); the 1880 Federal Census every-person index linked to transcribed household entries and to the actual census view for a fee through; the Ancestral File of submitted family information; and the Social Security Death Index, in addition to other international sources. See also Johni Cerny and Wendy Elliott, eds., The Library: A Guide to the LDS Family History Library (Salt Lake City: Ancestry, 1988); and Paula Stewart Warren and James W. Warren, Your Guide to the Family History Library (Cincinnati: Betterway Publications, 2001).

Library of Congress and Annex

1st-2nd Streets, SE
Washington, DC 20504

The Library of Congress has extensive holdings on local and family history. James C. Neagles, The Library of Congress: A Guide to Genealogical and Historical Research (Salt Lake City: Ancestry, 1990), provides an explanation of the library’s resources and how they can be used.

Societies with Libraries

National Genealogical Society
4527 Seventeenth St. North
Arlington, VA 22207

A membership society currently operating in Virginia, it has an excellent library of books, magazines, pamphlets, and manuscripts open to the public at the St. Louis Public Library in Missouri The publisher of the National Genealogical Society Quarterly, the society offers an extensive educational program, computer interest group, and annual national conferences covering research methods and sources.

National Society, Daughters of the American Revolution Library 1776 D St., NW
Washington, DC 20006

A membership society with an extensive library including original source material and collection of family and cemetery records gathered by local chapters. The library is open to the general public for a small fee.

New England Historic Genealogical Society

101 Newbury St.
Boston, MA 02116

Not limited to research material on New England, the extensive collection here is described in the Massachusetts chapter. Members have access to its growing collection of online New England sources. New material is added regularly to the master database.

Other Libraries

The Newberry Library in Chicago, the The New York Public Library in New York City, the Allen County Public Library in Fort Wayne, and the Wisconsin Historical Society all have extensive collections not limited to the state in which they are located, and include printed and microform materials from many regions of the country.


Federation of Genealogical Societies (FGS) P.O. Box 200940
Austin, TX 78720-0940

This federation of a large number of state and local genealogical societies is an excellent source for locating genealogical and historical societies not covered in each state’s section. FGS produces the quarterly FGS Forum, which is available by subscription and at a discount to all members of genealogical societies belonging to the FGS, which also sponsors annual national conferences where attendees can learn about research sources and methodology.

A current list of some genealogical and historical societies is included in Juliana Szucs Smith, comp. Ancestry Family Historian’s Address Book, rev. ed. (Orem, Utah: Ancestry, 2003). In addition there are many libraries, public and private, throughout the country that have significant collections of genealogical material. Some of these are listed in Directory of American Libraries with Genealogy or Local History Collections, compiled by P. William Filby (Wilmington, Del.: Scholarly Resources, 1988).

Professional Associations

The following organizations establish standards of practice in the profession and serve the general public with information about the genealogical profession and its practitioners.

Board for Certification of Genealogists

P.O. Box 14291
Washington, DC 20044

International Commission for the Accreditation of Professional Genealogists

P.O. Box 970204
Orem, UT 97097-0204

The Association for Professional Genealogists

P.O. Box 350998
Westminster, CO 80035-0998