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[NARA] National Archives Image Resources

The National Archives is perhaps an overlooked on-line resource for images of pictures or documents for most researchers. However, I have found some nice stuff there relating to projects I have been working on which has saved postage and copying fees. This morning, I found that there are many, many photos of homes in Western NC, SE VA, and Eastern TN which were impacted by floods or the TVA. In addition, there are many photos of coal mining, textile, furniture workers, CCC and TVA construction sites.
For Afro-American researchers, they have the images of the Death & Interment Records for USC troops who died at Nelson General Hospital at Camp Nelson, KY during the Civil War.

Here is a step-by-step guide to access this resource.

1) Go to NARA's Archival Research Catalog:

2) In the top left corner, you will see a yellow "Search" button, click this. This will take you to the Basic Search page.

3) At the Basic search page, ENSURE that under "FILTER YOUR SEARCH," you check the box beside "DESCRIPTIONS of ARCHIVAL MATERIALS LINKED TO DIGITAL COPIES."

4) Enter your search term.

5) Set the "Limit Results to" box to 2000.

I have not had much success with the "Advanced Search" so I don't use it often. You may have to play around with keywords to get in the neighborhood of what you are looking for.


1) If you find something relevant, or simply interesting, you can click on the first link beneath the image which will give a fuller description of the image as well as the record archive from which it comes. Clicking the link, "Larger Image" brings up a larger image but they do not have any captions.

2) If you want to reference an image without saving it to your PC, ALWAYS note the ARC Identifier !!! That is important as search queries and results locations are not saved. The ARC ID is a permanent identifier for the image.

3) The Search Results time-out fairly quickly if no activity is detected (I think about 10 minutes), so if that happens, you pretty well have to start over.

Let me know if you have any further questions and I will attempt to answer them. Rather than clogging up the list, just send the question to me privately and if I think it warrants a wider audience, I will compile the questions and answers.

Feel free to forward this to any who you feel may benefit. It has been so long since I have looked at my genealogy addresses, I have sort of forgotten who is who with which list, which may explain why some of you get multiple copies :>

And before anyone asks what I have been doing, I am working on the PFH, aka, the Project from Hades. That is the project in which I am endeavoring to identify every US soldier, by name, who died on the western frontier (defined by me as west of the Mississippi and east of Alcatraz Island) from all causes: disease, accident, suicide, murder and combat between the years 1849 and 1895. I hope to include some genealogical data in the finished form which seems (and is) light-years away.

With hope that everyone finds something at NARA that they did not know existed,


18 Dec 2002 :: 14 Nov 2008
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