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National Libraries

Boston

New England Historic Genealogical Society 
99-101 Newbury St.
Boston MA 02116
617-536-5740
user fee

This is the oldest genealogical library in the country. Its print and manuscript collections are legendary. Patrons have access to many online subscription and society-produced databases (available online to members only). The focus is New England (vital records to at least 1900 and probates for most of the six states), New York, Quebec, and the Maritimes. They feature a large city directory collection, the most extensive Quebec collection in one location, and a manuscripts collection that occupies one entire floor. The online catalog has all the print collection and a large majority of the manuscript collection. This is a loan center for FHL microfilm.

 

Chicago

Newberry Library
60 West Walton St.
Chicago IL 60610
312-943-9090
This well-known research center has material for all over the country, Canada, and the British Isles, but the strongest collection is on the New England states (beyond their local collection). They have many guides online and their catalog.

 

Dallas

Dallas Public Library
1515 Young St.
Dallas TX 75201
214-670-1433
Though their website says little, this is a major genealogical research center with a large book collection and its strength is in it microform holdings. Use their catalog online.

 

Denver

Western History & Genealogy
10 West 14th Ave Pkwy
Denver CO 80204
720-865-1821
The Genealogy Collection is the official depository of materials from the Colorado Genealogical Society, the Colorado Council of Genealogical Societies, Colorado Chapter of Palatines to America, and other societies. It is the largest genealogical library in the Rocky region. There are many resources online and their catalog.

 

Fort Wayne

Allen County Public Library
900 Library Plaza
Fort Wayne IN 46802
260-421-1200
This is one of the finest public collections for genealogical research with the single largest holdings to county histories of the United States. The library has access to all the major genealogical databases and is a loan center for FHL microfilm. There are many guides on the main Genealogy Center page. They have an online catalog.

 

Houston

Clayton Library Center for Genealogical Research
Houston Public Library
5300 Caroline St.
Houston TX 77004
832-393-2600
This library branch has a large collection of resources for the genealogist. The second floor is the family history collection and microtext. Their online catalog can be searched from every web page.

 

Los Angeles

History and Genealogy Dept.
Los Angeles Public Library
630 West 5th St.
Los Angeles CA 90071
213-228-7400
The library has a large reference collection for genealogy (re-established after the devastating fire in 1986 that destroyed this notable collection). The website allows online catalog searching from every page. There is a dedicated "Genealogy & Local History Index" online.

 

Madison

Wisconsin Historical Society
816 State St.
Madison WI 53706
608-264-6535
The Society maintains a very large open-stack book collection along with access to all the major online genealogical databases for in-library use. They have created the Wisconsin Genealogical Index that references their collections and vital records pre-1907. Links to guides, indexes, and their online catalog are all found on the genealogy page link to the left. Be sure to check out the archives for unique manuscript material during your visit.

 

New York

Milstein Division, Local History & Genealogy
Schwarzman Building 
New York Public Library
Fifth Avenue at 42nd Street
New York, NY 10018
212-930-0828
This major research collection added the book collection of the nearly defunct New York Genealogical and Biographical Society in 2009 (i.e. open-stack collection moved to a closed-stack collection). The library has large microfilm and manuscript collections. Their online catalog is available from every web page. In 2009, it was stated that 65% of the collection was in closed stacks requiring a patron to request them.

 

Salt Lake City

Family History Library
35 North West Temple St.
Salt Lake City UT 
866-406-1830
This is the largest genealogical research library in the world. The book collection tends to be the newest volumes and the "standard" reference books over 50 years old will likely be on microfilm only. The strength of the collection is the over 2.4 million microfilms of original records from around the world and found through their catalog. Most of the microfilms can be loaned to one of over 4500 Family History Centers for a low rental fee to cover shipping. The FHL is scanning and indexing their holdings. These records are available for free online at their Pilot site (this takes a few moments to load). Click the "Browse our record collections" to bring up a map of their holdings by region and where you can search just one database.

 

Washington, D.C.

National Society Daughters of the American Revolution
1776 D St.
Washington DC 20006
202-628-1776
user fee
This great collection is recommended over the larger Library of Congress site because the NSDAR is an open-stack collection. The DAR Genealogical Research System is their gateway to their online databases unique to this library. They include databases to search Revolutionary War soldiers (vast, but only those documented through memberships), descendants of these soldiers, and indexes to their Genealogical Records Committee typescripts of original material, Revolutionary pension extract cards, and the useful analytical cards to surnames found in histories and other sources. Their catalog lists their book holdings.

 

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