Frequently Asked Questions
What is the National Archives?
The National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) is the nation's record keeper. Of all documents and materials created in the course of business conducted by the United States federal government, only 1%-3% are so important for legal or historical reasons that they are kept by us forever.
Those valuable records are preserved and are available to you, whether you want to see if they contain clues about your family's history, need to prove a veteran's military service, or are researching an historical topic that interests you.
The National Archives at Atlanta holds records from federal agencies within 8 Southeastern states: Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Tennessee. Our largest group of records comes from the U.S. District Courts, Tennessee Valley Authority, Atomic Energy Commission, NASA, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Why aren't all the records online?
NARA tries to make as many records as possible available via our Online Public Access (OPA) catalog. This is a daunting task, even with records that were created in electronic format. The volume of records in NARA's possession that pre-date electronic formats is so vast, that costs and resource availabilities will most likely preclude the conversion of all of them to electronic formats. However, as resources permit, NARA will continue to select records to be digitized and made available electronically.
We do have access to several online resources such as Ancestry.com and Fold3 which is available in our Research Room.
Will I be able to see records from other National Archives facilities?
Except for what is available through our online resources and some microfilm series, all of our records are unique to the Southeast region and can't be found in other regional archives.
Can you tell me about or appraise my historic document?
The National Archives does not appraise or look at privately owned documents or artifacts. To find an appraiser in your area, you may wish to contact the ABAA (Antiquarian Booksellers Association of America).
Do I need to make an appointment and what can I bring?
No, you do not need to make an appointment to visit our facility. If you are researching an in-depth historical topic, you are more than welcome to call ahead and speak with an archivist on staff to ensure we have the type of records you are interested in viewing.
Please visit the What's Allowed page on the National Archives website to see what you can and can't bring into our textual research room.
Where are you located and when are you open?
We are located in Morrow, Georgia, approximately ten miles south of Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport. We are located right next door to the Georgia Archives and near the campus of Clayton State University.
We are open Monday through Friday and the third Saturday of the month, 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Closed Sundays and federal holidays.