District of Columbia Institutional Records

Institutional records are another class of collections that should be part of one’s genealogy research repertoire. Although most of your ancestors may not have spent time in an institution, I’ll bet that almost every family tree has several that have. So they are worth your effort to research.

Here are a few good primers for searching institutional records:

What kind of institutions and types of records can we discover?

  • Poorhouse
  • Poor Farm
  • Orphanage
  • Orphan Train
  • Mental Hospital
  • Workhouse
  • Almshouse
  • Institutional School
  • Sanitarium
  • Asylums
  • Correctional institutions

Acquiring records from each of these types of institutions may be difficult because of privacy concerns, but they are worth the effort.

Below you will find free online institutional records you can use to help you discover more about your relatives who have spent time in an institution.

Note: Some of the links listed take you to a FamilySearch Collection of digital images. Near the bottom of the page under Film/Digital Notes is the name of each sub-collection. If there is a camera icon at the right of the name (in the Format column) then the collections’ images are browsable. If there is a camera with a key icon, it is only available at a Family History Center or affiliated library. If there is a film reel icon, then it is only available in microfilm format, not digital. To take full advantage, please make sure that you are logged in to FamilySearch. The results may be different if you are signed in, rather than not.

(Updated August 2023)

District of Columbia Free Online Institutional Records

Good Luck and Happy Hunting!

For all Free District of Columbia Links, click on the category of interest:

BMD Records
Alumni Records
Cemetery Records
Church Records
Coroner Records
Criminal Records
Digital Archives
Divorce Records
Immigration Records
Institutional Records
Military Records
Mortuary Records
Probate and Wills
School Records
Tax Records
Voter Records

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