Background Sources for the District of Columbia

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This entry was originally written by Johni Cerny in Red Book: American State, County, and Town Sources.

This article is part of
The District of Columbia Family History Research series.
History of the District of Columbia
District of Columbia Vital Records
Census Records for the District of Columbia
Background Sources for the District of Columbia
District of Columbia Maps
District of Columbia Land Records
District of Columbia Probate Records
District of Columbia Court Records
District of Columbia Tax Records
District of Columbia Cemetery Records
District of Columbia Church Records
District of Columbia Military Records
District of Columbia Periodicals, Newspapers, and Manuscript Collections
District of Columbia Archives, Libraries, and Societies
District of Columbia Immigration
African Americans of the District of Columbia
District of Columbia County Resources


The following publications provide excellent background on social and cultural history and include comprehensive bibliographies.

  • Bryan, Wilhelmus Borgart. A History of the National Capital. 2 vols. New York: Macmillan Co., 1914–16.
  • Green, Constance McLaughlin. Washington, Capital City, 1800–1950. 2 vols. Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press, 1962.

The following are excellent references to District of Columbia research and records:

  • A Guide to Genealogical Research in the Nation’s Capitol. 7th ed. N.p.: Annandale Stake, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 1989.
  • Angevine, Erma Miller. “Genealogical Research on Families of the District of Columbia,” National Genealogical Society Quarterly 78 (March 1990): 15-32.
  • Cook, Eleanor M. V. Guide to the Records of Your District of Columbia Ancestors. Silver Spring, Md.: Family Line Publications, 1987.
  • Pippenger, Wesley E. District of Columbia Ancestors: A Guide to Records of the District of Columbia. Westminster, Md.: Family Line Publications, 1997.
  • Provine, Dorothy S. Preliminary Inventory of the Records of the Government of the District of Columbia. Record Group 351. Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Service, 1976.
  • Schaefer, Christina K. The Center: A Guide to Genealogical Research in the National Capitol Area. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Co., Inc., 1996.
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