- All researchers at the Library
of Congress must obtain a Reader Identification card to gain access
to the Library's reading rooms and collections. Some form of current,
valid picture identification (e.g. driver's license, passport)
is required. More information is available on the Library's Reader Registration and Access to Library Reading Rooms page.
- All researchers are required to read and agree to the Library's Personal Items and Security Policy.
- Reference staff is available in
the Local History & Genealogy Reference Services in the Main Reading Room to assist readers. The staff helps readers
identify publications that relate to the subjects of their research,
chiefly by explaining how to use the indexes and catalogs in the
- The staff of the Library of Congress cannot undertake research
in family history or heraldry. In order to perform work of this
nature satisfactorily, it is necessary to identify a particular
branch of the family concerned, and, because of the time and effort
involved, searches for this kind of information usually require
the services of a professional genealogist or heraldic searcher.
Some assistance may be obtained from the Board
for Certification of Genealogists, Post Office Box 14291,
Washington DC 20044. Names of professional
genealogists can also be obtained from the advertisements of
their services carried in many genealogical periodicals. A convenient
list of these periodicals appears in Ulrich's International
Periodicals Directory, a standard reference work available
in many libraries.
- Readers who have never undertaken
genealogical research are urged to study the subject before coming
to the Library. Several introductory books are now available in
paperback and can be found in large bookstores; public libraries
usually have books on genealogical research methods. A basic knowledge
of procedures will allow readers to make better use of their time
and improve their chances of success.
- A complete transcript of the Family Name Index in the Local History & Genealogy Reference Collection in the Main Reading Room, as of December 1971, was published in two volumes in 1972
by the Magna Carta Book Company. Entitled Genealogies in
the Library of Congress, A Bibliography, and edited by
Marion J. Kaminkow, it lists over 20,000 genealogies, including
many in foreign languages. One-volume supplements, issued in 1977
and 1987 list works added to the Library's collections from January
1972 to June 1986. An additional supplement entitled Genealogies
Cataloged by the Library of Congress since 1986 was issued
by the Library in 1992. These works are available in many public
- United States
Local Histories in the Library of Congress, a Bibliography,
also edited by Marion J. Kaminkow and published by the Magna Carta
Book Company in 1975, lists in five volumes some 90,000 works,
arranged according to the Library's classification for U.S. local
history, which is primarily geographical (regional, subdivided
by state and further subdivided by period, county, and city).
Many of the works listed in the bibliography provide information
on early settlers, the establishment of local government, churches,
schools, industry and trade, and biographical sketches of community
leaders. This compendium also may be available in large libraries.
- Inquiries for information on ship
passenger lists and on census, land, naturalization, and military
service records should be directed to the National
Archives, Washington, D.C. 20408.
- The Library does not permit its books on genealogy, heraldry,
and U.S. local and state history to circulate on interlibrary
loan. However, material in microform for which the Library holds
the master negative is available for loan (or purchase). Since
the Library has microfilmed most of its books relating to United
States genealogy published from 1876-1900, a significant part
of the genealogical collection is available for loan. Consult
with a local reference librarian about the possibility of identifying
and borrowing microfilmed material. More information is available
on the Library's Interlibrary
Loan home page.
- The Library does not have copies of genealogies for sale. Dealers
in books, including out-of-print materials, may be able to assist
in securing copies of publications or consult an online database
with information on purchasing books, such as Bookfinder.
It also may be possible to purchase photocopies of out-of-print
items; for details about the Library's Photoduplication Service
- The Library’s Photoduplication Service routinely supplies photocopies
of items located in the Library’s collections if there are no
copyright restrictions. The Service, which is a cost-recovery
operation, assesses a non-refundable $12.00 advance payment for
each order to cover identifying and assembling material to be
copied. You must provide specific citations (title, author, number
of pages, and LC call number) for materials you wish copied. For
further information, consult the Duplication Services or send your request to the Library of Congress,
Duplication Services, Washington, D.C. 20540-4570 (phone 202-707-5640,
fax 202-707-1771, or email firstname.lastname@example.org
- The Library of Congress provides many services over the Internet.
These include the Library's
online catalog, information about the reading
rooms and collections, guides
to the collections, and links
to other Internet information resources. The Local History
and Genealogy Reading Room reference staff has compiled a list
of searching tips for locating genealogical resources in the
Library's online catalog.
- The Humanities and Social Sciences Division distributes free
upon request short bibliographies related to genealogical research.