The Library of Congress holds vast and unique resources for genealogy and family history research. Not all such materials are online, of course. But getting started with digital collections and other online resources can help better prepare you for an in-person research visit. Working with online materials sharpens your skills and helps focus your research questions so that, when you are able to come do research here, you will get the most out of your visit. This guide offers several ways to begin your research from your home computer. It is divided into three sections: Digital Primary Resources provides direct access to digitized collection materials; External Resources assembles links to websites with more online research materials; and Books provides a bibliography of print materials that you can access through your local library, or other organizations.
The Library of Congress has one of the world's premier collections of U.S. and foreign genealogical and local historical publications, numbering more than 50,000 compiled family histories and over 100,000 U.S. local histories. The Library's genealogy collection began as early as 1815 with the purchase of Thomas Jefferson's library.