Genealogy Resources

Genealogy Resources

In Special Collections

During the three-year modernization of the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Library, the majority of Washingtoniana genealogy and cemetery materials will be available at the Washingtoniana interim location. For more information, visit the Special Collections Interim Access & Services page


City Directories
  • 1822, 1827, 1830, 1834, 1843, 1846, 1850, 1853, 1855, 1858, 1860
  • 1861-1943 annually
  • 1948, 1954, 1956, 1960, 1962, 1964, 1965, 1967, 1969, 1970, 1973
City Directories include:
  • Alphabetical list of people and businesses
  • Classified list of businesses
  • Street directory (starting in 1914)
  • Phone number directory (starting in 1969)
  • The directory of individuals includes name, spouse's name (1928 forward), occupation, work address, home address and race (up to 1870). The directory was done by canvass and individuals could request to be excluded.
Telephone Books
  • 1907-1975 microfilm
  • 1976-2005 microfiche
  • Reverse directories 1914-1973, in City Directories
  • Haines Criss-Cross Directories, 1974-present 


Published Indexes to Marriage Records
  • Maryland Marriages  1634-1777
  • Marriages and Deaths from the Maryland Gazette, 1727-1839
  • Marriage and Death Notices from Alexandria, VA Newspapers, 1784-1852
  • Marriages and Deaths from the National Intelligencer, 1800-1820 (also on microfilm) 
  • Blacks in the Marriage Records of the District of Columbia, 1811-1870
  • Marriage Licenses of Washington, D.C., 1811-1830
  • District of Columbia Marriage Licenses, 1811-1858
  • Daily National Intelligencer Marriage and Death Notices, 1851-1854
  • Georgetown Courier Marriage and Death Notices, 1865-1876
  • District of Columbia Marriage Records, 1870-1877
  • District of Columbia Marriage Records Index, 1877-1885 
  • District of Columbia Marriage Records Index, 1885-1892
  • Marriage Bureau Listings, D.C. Superior Court (microfiche)
  • Listings by groom and bride names, 1921-1990 (microfiche)


Published Indexes to Wills and Death Records
[m - shelved in marriage section]
  • Marriages and Deaths from the Maryland Gazette, m 1727-1839
  • William King's Mortality Books, 1795-1832
  • Alexandria, VA Wills, Administrations, and Guardian Bonds, 1800-1870
  • Marriages and Deaths the National Intelligencer, 1800-1850 (also on microfilm)
  • Index to District of Columbia Estates, 1801-1929
  • District of Columbia Probate Records: Will Books and Estate Files,1801-1852
  • Index to District of Columbia Wills, 1801-1920
  • District of Columbia Selected Final Pension Payment Vouchers, 1818-1864
  • Daily National Intelligencer Marriage and Death Notices, m 1851-1854
  • Daily National Intelligencer Index to Deaths, 1855-1870
  • District of Columbia Mortality Schedules (Census),  1860, 1870, 1880
  • The Georgetown Courier: Marriage and Death Notices, Georgetown,  m 1865-1876
  • District of Columbia Death Records, 1874-1879
  • Index to District of Columbia Wills, 1921-1950
  • Register of Burials of the Joseph F. Birch Funeral Home 
Obituaries - National
America's Obituaries and Death Notices. Search by state over 22 million current records of obituaries and death notices from hundreds of U.S. newspapers. It also includes over 75 million records from the Social Security Death Index (1937-present).  This unique resource provides valuable information on the deceased’s occupation, avocation, education, military service, church affiliation and more.

Obituaries - Local
[Found in newspapers, 1800-present. Washingtoniana holdings of major local papers as follows.]
Washington Evening Star -- Indexing:
  • Search full text from 1852-1981 from any Internet connection with your library card
  • Annual index on microfilm, 1852-1973. Search under “Deaths, Local”
  • Clipping files, 1950-1980 (national in scope)
National Intelligencer -- Indexing:
  • National Intelligencer Newspaper Abstracts, 1800-1869
  • Marriages and Deaths the National Intelligencer, 1800-1850 (also on microfilm)
  • Daily National Intelligencer Marriage and Death Notices, 1851-1854
  • Daily National Intelligencer Index to Deaths, 1855-1870
National Era, 1847-1860

Washington Bee -- Indexing:
Washington Daily News, 1921-1972

Washington Herald -- Indexing:
Washington Post -- Indexing:1877-present
  • Search full-text from 1877-present from any Internet connection with your library card
  • NewsBank database, 1977-present (indexes obituaries not death notices)
  • Print Index, 1973-2007, 1877-present
Washington Times [evening] -- Indexing: Library of Congress [], 1895-1910, 1895-1939

Washington Times [morning] -- Indexing: Library of Congress [], 1894-1902 1894-1902

Washington Times-Herald, 1939-1954
See also: Abstracts of the newspapers of Georgetown and the Federal City, 1789-1799
Published Indexes to Church and Cemetery Records
  • Alexandria Tombstone Inscriptions 
  • Civil War Cemeteries of the D.C. Metropolitan Area 
  • Records of the Columbian Harmony Cemetery, 1831-1959
  • The Transcribed Ledger of the Eastern Methodist Cemetery (also called Old Ebenezer),1823-1893
  • The Church Register of the 15th Street Presbyterian Church (First Colored Presbyterian Church), 1841-1926
  • Minutes of the Session of the 15th Street Presbyterian Church, 1890-1923 
  • Historic Graves of Maryland and the District of Columbia  
  • Holmead's Cemetery (Western Burial Ground) 
  • Register of the Burials of the Joseph F. Birch Funeral Home, 1847-1938
  • Oak Hill Cemetery, Georgetown 
  • Old Methodist Burial Ground 
  • Records of Payne's Cemetery, 1907-1952
  • Presbyterian Cemetery Records (Georgetown), 1856-1897
  • Rock Creek Cemetery, Old Interment Records, 1822-1906
  • Rosemont Cemetery (formerly Moore's Cemetery) 
  • Burials in St. Mary’s Catholic Cemetery, Alexandria, Va., 1798-1983
  • Selected Small Cemeteries of Washington, D.C.
  • Register of Members of Union Bethel Church, 1839-1852
  • Woodlawn Cemetery, Brief History and Inscriptions 


  • U.S. Census searchable through DCPL website with a library card
  • Searchable 1790-1820, 1860-1920 (decennial); browseable 1790-1930 (except 1890)
D.C. Federal Census, 1800-1880, 1900-1930 (microfilm)
  • Part of 1790 census is in Montgomery or Prince George’s counties.
  • 1890 census burned; only mortality schedules available.
Published Indexes to Census Records
  • Name indexes: 1800-1870, 1910 (print)
  • Census soundex indexes: 1880, 1900, and 1920 (microfilm)
  • District of Columbia 1850 and 1860 slave schedules
  • Georgetown, District of Columbia 1850 federal population census (schedule I)and 1853 directory of residents of Georgetown
  • Index to the 1820 census of Maryland and Washington, D.C.
  • District of Columbia mortality schedules, 1860, 1870, 1880 - Data about individuals who died during the census year
  • 1890 District of Columbia census index: special schedule of the eleventh census (1890) enumerating Union veterans and of Union veterans of the Civil War (this index includes every name listed on the census record)
Enumeration district maps: 1880, 1900, 1910, 1920

Other Records

Published Indexes to other records, including slavery & immigration:
  • Alexandria County, VA Free Negro Registers, 1797-1861
  • Colonial Maryland Naturalizations 
  • Compensated Emancipation in the District of Columbia 
  • District of Columbia Department of Corrections Runaway Slave Book U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia Fugitive Slave Cases, 1848-1863, 1862-1863
  • District of Columbia Free Negro Registers, 1821-1861
  • District of Columbia Guardianship Index, 1802-1928
  • District of Columbia Indentures of Apprenticeship, 1801-1893
  • District of Columbia Original Land Owners, 1791-1800
  • Proceedings of the Orphans' Court, Washington County, 1815-1816, 1818
  • Blacks in Selected Newspapers, Censuses and Other Sources: An Index to Names and Subjects. Primary sources from the 19th to the early 20th centuries (Black Studies Center).

Biographical Sources

  • American Biographical Directories: District of Columbia. 1908. 920.0753 S614
  • Blue Book of Washington, D.C. 917.53 V658
  • History of the City of Washington, Its Men and Institutions. 1903. 975.3 Q319h
  • Maryland and District of Columbia Volunteers in the Mexican War. 973.624 W452. “Old Residences and Family History in the City Hall Neighborhood.” Records of the Columbia Historical Society, v. 6 (1903), p. 104. 975.306 C 726 V.6
  • Prominent Personages of the Nation's Capital. 1924. 920.0753 W319
  • Social List of Washington [Green Book]. 1932-2012. 917.53 S677
  • Washington Social Register. 1902-1976 (some missing issues). 917.53 S678
  • Washington Elite List. 1880-1910 (microfilm).
  • Washington Past and Present. 1930-1932. 975.3 P964w
  • Who's Who in Washington. 1923-1938/9 (sporadically issued). 920.0753 W628
Vertical Files
Vertical files collected from Washington-based and other publications on individuals, institutions (such as schools and churches), neighborhoods, and other DC-related information that may be helpful for genealogists. 1905-present, with the strongest period from 1940-present. Please see the vertical file index online.

Directory of Local Resources

1776 D St. N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20006
1300 Naylor Ct. N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20001
Birth Records (1874-1919)
Death Records (1874-1931)
Marriage Records (1811-1990)
Wills (1801-1999)
500 Indiana Ave. N.W.
Washington, D.C.
Marriage Records (1990-present)
500 Indiana Ave. NW
Washington, D.C. 20001
Wills (1879-present)
825 North Capitol St. N.E. 1st Floor
Washington, D.C. 20002
Birth and Death Records (1874-present)
Persons entitled to purchase a vital record include:
  • The registrant
  • An immediate nuclear family member
  • A legal guardian
  • A legal representative
Birth and death records become public after 100 years have elapsed from the date of birth and 50 years have elapsed from the date of death.
10000 Stoneybrook Dr.
Kensington, MD 20895
Local History and Genealogy 
Jefferson Building
Published Genealogies, Genealogical Indexes
700 Pennsylvania Ave. N.W.
Washington, D.C.
Census Records, Military Service and Pension Records, Passenger Arrival Records, Naturalization Records, Freedmen's Bureau records, Slavery Records, Probate Estate case files (1801-1878)
3108 Columbia Pike, Suite 300
Arlington, Va. 22204
1201 17th St. NW
Washington, D.C. 20036
Archives of D.C. Public Schools

Prince George's County Genealogical Society
12219 Tulip Grove Drive
Bowie, Md.

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