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District of Columbia: Local History & Genealogy Resource Guide

External Websites and Databases

The following external websites contain primary source and educational materials helpful in researching this state.

African American History Resources

This project collects, digitizes, and makes accessible the freedom suits brought by enslaved families in the Circuit Court for the District of Columbia, Maryland state courts, and the U.S. Supreme Court. In making these documents accessible, the project invites you to explore the legal history of American slavery and the web of litigants, jurists, legal actors, and participants in the freedom suits. This project places these families in the foreground of our interpretive framework of slavery and national formation.

Church and Religious Records

Most religious records are maintained at the local level. It is important to reach out directly to your ancestors' house of worship. Keep in mind that original records from a particular religious institution may also have been transferred to the custody of an area library, historical society, or denominational archive for preservation and research.

The following list provides a selection of the types of records and repositories that you may find for the denominations represented in your family or local history:

To learn more about locating church and religious records:

Journals

The following journals provide access to issues and articles online. 

Maps and Geographical Resources

These historical map collections may be searched by state or county.

Military Records

Military records often reveal much more than military service. Search these records for personal details, family ties, and local history context.

Photographs

State and Local Repositories

Despite the vast amount of information available online, most genealogy and local history records have not been digitized. Be sure to find the repositories of records in the specific communities where your ancestors lived. Over the years, some records have been shifted to nearby academic libraries or to state archives. Reach out to these institutions directly to discover what collections they hold and how you can access them.