Interested in genealogy? Writing a paper on Frederick Douglass’ role as the first African American Recorder of Deeds in Washington, DC? Want to learn more about DC Emancipation Day? All this and much, much more is available at the District of Columbia Archives.
The District of Columbia Archives holds historical and permanently valuable records of the DC Government such as birth and death records, wills, land records and marriage records. Historic records on file include the original wills of Alexander Graham Bell, Francis Scott Key, James Madison, Dolly Madison, Woodrow Wilson, Oliver Wendell Holmes and Frederick Douglass, and the birth certificate for Duke Ellington.
Location: 1300 Naylor Court, NW – Naylor Court is a U-shaped alley in the block bounded by 9th, 10th, N and O Streets, NW, just two blocks north of the Walter A. Washington Convention Center. Metro: Mt. Vernon Sq./Convention Center on the Green Line
Office Hours: Monday- Friday, 8:15 am-4:45 pm
Research Hours: Tuesday and Thursday, 9 am - 12 pm for land records research only, and by appointment.
Phone: (202) 671-1105
Fax: (202) 727-6076
Please email [email protected] to make an appointment. In your email, describe the specific research you propose to undertake. Researchers must be scheduled ahead of time.
The genealogy records collection in the DC Archives includes:
- Birth certificates (1874-1892)**
- Death certificates (1874-1932)
- Marriage certificates (1870-1917)**
- Wills and probate records (1801-1999)
- Administration cases (1879-1958)
- Indentures of Apprenticeship records (1812-1893)
- Guardianships and Administrative Bonds records (1862-1939)
** Birth certificates beginning in 1893 and marriage certificates beginning in 1918 are not yet open to the public, pursuant to section 124(i) of the Vital Records Modernization Amendment Act of 2018, effective October 30, 2018 (D.C. Law 22-164; not yet codified).
Additional historical records at the DC Archives include:
- Reports of the Board of Commissioners (1874-1960)
- Articles of Incorporation* (1870-1957)
- Construction building permits and technical drawings* (1949-1995)
- Recorder of Deeds land transaction records (1797-1930)
- Engineering Commission (ED) records (1898-1955)
- Board of Health Minutes (1822-1878)
- Board of Architects Minutes (1925-1989)
- DC Jail committal records (1850-1934)
- Records of the Financial Responsibility and Management Assistance Authority (Control Board)
Items marked with an asterisk (*) must be requested at the Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs.
Links to additional historical repositories in the District of Columbia:
- Anacostia Museum
- Mary McLeod Bethune Museum
- African American Civil War Museum
- District of Columbia Public Libraries Special Collections
- Historical Society of Washington, DC
- George Washington University Special Collections, Washingtoniana
- Moorland-Spingarn Research Center at Howard University
- Lucy Burns Museum at the Workhouse Arts Center