Find archives. Archives maintain vital, family, and genealogy records, including birth, death, marriage, and divorce records.
Archives are collections of permanently valuable records that pertain to organizations, governments, or businesses. Archived records include correspondence, reports, manuscripts, minutes, and other forms of documented evidence of past events. They can be used for research and analysis of past events, establishing or verifying legal claims, and preserving history. A repository of Archives is typically housed in a building designated for that purpose.
The National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) maintains documents and materials created by the U.S. government that are deemed to have an ongoing value. NARA has material at locations in seventeen states. In addition to maintaining archived records, NARA offers educational programs and workshops for the public on how to make use of archived records. Although not strictly considered Archives, NARA also manages the Federal Records Centers, the National Personnel Records Center, the Federal Register, and the presidential libraries.
Each state maintains Archives that contain historical records of state government. State Archives essentially include documents connected with the political history and past administrations of state government. In addition to serving as a repository for permanent state government records, State Archives preserve materials that document a state's history. In many cases, a state library is responsible for maintaining the State Archives.
Many counties and local governments also maintain Archives. Similar to State Archives, these collections include records pertaining to the proceedings of county and local government, as well as materials that serve to preserve the heritage and history of the locality. In addition to government records, they may contain directories, photographs of prominent individuals and places, military records, maps, and collections from schools, civic organizations, labor unions, and businesses. County and Local Archives are frequently a component of a public library or they may be managed by a local historical society.
Other institutions that maintain Archives include museums, churches and other faith-based organizations, universities and colleges, businesses, and genealogical groups and societies.