Federal Records are held in (NARA) US National Archives Building - Rootfinders Genealogy Research - A Hopkins-Arnold

Federal Records are often the first records genealogists search. The US Federal Census is one example. The Social Security Death Index (SSDI) is another.

What other records might we find in the US Government’s National Archives and Records Administration (NARA)?

Federal Records on a genealogist’s wish list:

  • Immigration records,
  • Naturalization records,
  • Military muster rolls,
  • Service records,
  • Pension applications.

While these are official records, many may contain personal details about your ancestors.

In my class on “Finding Your Ancestor in Federal Records at NARA,” I will mention the NARA records available online and focus on those available only from on-site research (by you, by an independent researcher, or by NARA).

Click below to request information on:

TAKING THIS CLASS  (live or online)

BOOKING it for presentation to your group

GUIDED RESEARCH TRIPS to various NARA Repositories


What is included in the Class?

Where to Find Specific Federal Records

Federal Records are found both online, in print and at the National Archives. I will tell where to find the most commonly used records. I will also share information on valuable, lesser known record sets and where to find them.

Military Service Records

Military Service Records include the soldier’s or sailor’s unit, company, battles, periods of absence, and discharge. They tell whether the soldier was wounded, taken prisoner, or killed. Find further information can be found in carded medical records (Civil War), military hospital records, prisoner of war camp and parole records, and casualty lists.

Military Pension Records

Military Pension Records often include personal details and affidavits from friends and family. Widow’s pension applications must include proof of marriage (often a notarized or original marriage record).

Naturalization Records

Naturalization Records may include their place of birth and specific details of their journey to the United States including: date of arrival, port of arrival, and ship name.

Land Records

Land Records include  applications, warrants, surveys, and patents for

  • Military bounty land,
  • Homestead land,
  • Mining claims
  • Timber claims.

Documents proving both occupation and improvements on homestead claims may include descriptions from neighbors and friends of the applicant’s lifestyle, habits, and work ethic. These personal descriptions of how they lived while homesteading their land are valuable to genealogists seeking to understand their ancestor’s lives.

Finding the Records

While print, microfilm, and digital copies exist of quite a few valuable records, others are available only at the National Archives Repositories.


Class Handout

The Handout for the Class Will Be Available Here. Please return to this page later to get a copy or Contact Me to have a copy emailed to you.

Contact Me for Questions or Info

See other Classes Available

© A. Hopkins-Arnold 2017 – all rights reserved