Getting Started with Research at the National Archives

Determine your Topic of Interest

If you already have a topic in mind, continue on to Step Two, to Gather Information about your Topic

Topic Ideas

If you are still deciding about a research topic, here are some places on our website where you can get some ideas. The topics listed represent only a small fraction of possible research topics but will help you to get started.

Just want to browse our web site?

If you don't need a research topic and just want to browse our website and see some interesting historical documents, here are some places to start:

Are you here for Genealogy?

  • Are you here looking for information about how to look for your family history/genealogy? If so, you should see our Genealogists/Family Historians web pages.

  • If you are here to obtain copies of military service and family history records, you can learn about ordering copies of records from the National Archives here.

Are you looking for records about a Veteran?

Are you here looking for records about a veteran related to you? If so, you should see our Veterans and Their Families web pages.

If you are a veteran, or the next-of-kin of a deceased veteran, and want to receive a copy of the veteran's military service record:

  • use eVetRecs to create your request, which you must print, sign, and mail to us, or
  • use the paper form, called an SF-180, that you can print, complete, and mail to us.
Research >

The U.S. National Archives and Records Administration
1-86-NARA-NARA or 1-866-272-6272