The Center

A Guide to Genealogical Research in the National Capital Area


Author: Schaefer, Christina K.
Publication Date: 1996
Reprint Date: 1997
Pages: 160 pp.


It is not generally recognized, but Washington, D.C. is home to the largest body of accessible research materials in the world, larger even than the vast body of materials at the Family History Library in Salt Lake City. It is the central repository of the nation’s primary source records and the very center of genealogical activity.

The aim of this book is to identify those resources in the Washington, D.C. area that will aid family historians in tracing their ancestors (the National Archives, Library of Congress, the DAR Library, the National Genealogical Society, and many more). While it is based on the original idea of the popular guidebook, Lest We Forget (originally published in 1965), The Center is actually an all-new work which completely revises and updates its predecessor. Under each facility listed there is a survey of key record holdings, with a description of the records, a summary of their contents, an explanation of their organization, and directions for their use. There is also a list of published indexes and finding aids, key addresses for mail requests, publications, phone numbers and hours of business, and an itemization of those materials available through the Family History Library system.

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