Louisiana Archives, Libraries, and Societies

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This entry was originally written by Beth A. Stahr, CGRS and Sharon Sholars Brown for Red Book: American State, County, and Town Sources.

This article is part of
Louisiana sil.png
the Louisiana Family History Research series.
History of Louisiana
Louisiana Vital Records
Census Records for Louisiana
Background Sources for Louisiana
Louisiana Maps
Louisiana Land Records
Louisiana Probate Records
Louisiana Court Records
Louisiana Tax Records
Louisiana Cemetery Records
Louisiana Church Records
Louisiana Military Records
Louisiana Periodicals, Newspapers, and Manuscript Collections
Louisiana Archives, Libraries, and Societies
Louisiana Immigration
Ethnic Groups of Louisiana
Louisiana Parish Resources
Map of Louisiana

State of Louisiana Division of Archives Records Management, and History

3851 Essen Lane
P.O. Box 94125
Baton Rouge, LA 70804

The Archives Research Library provides public access to books on the history of Louisiana as well as Louisiana vital records, NARA microfilms of the federal census for Louisiana and passenger manifests for the Port of New Orleans, Confederate Pension Applications for Louisiana, military service records, assessment records, and records from the State Land Office and colonial documents.

State Library of Louisiana

Louisiana Section
701 N. Fourth St.
Baton Rouge, LA 70802

The Louisiana Section of the Louisiana State Library includes a complete historical collection of Louisiana State Documents, historical photographs, genealogical and historical books, telephone books and city directories, major Louisiana newspapers on microfilm and maps.

Louisiana State University

Hill Memorial Library
Baton Rouge, LA 70803-3300

Hill Memorial Library houses the Special Collections and University Archives of Louisiana State University. The Louisiana and Lower Mississippi Valley Collections include books, periodicals, maps, prints, pamphlets, Louisiana state documents, and microfilm of Louisiana newspapers.

Tulane University

Special Collections of Howard-Tilton Memorial Library
Jones Hall
New Orleans, LA 70118

Tulane University Libraries' Special Collections Departments include the University Archives, the Hogan Jazz Archive, and the Rare Books collection. Of special interest to genealogists are the Louisiana Collection, the Southeastern Architectural Archive, which documents the architectural and urban history of New Orleans from 1830 to the present, and Manuscripts Department, with notable collections on the Civil War, Jewish Studies, women, medicine, politics, Carnival, waterways, and literature.

Williams Research Center of the Historic New Orleans Collection

410 Chartres St.
New Orleans, LA 70130

The Williams Research Center provides access to scholarly collections focusing on New Orleans, Louisiana, and the Gulf South.

New Orleans Public Library

City Archives and Louisiana Division Special Collections
Main Library
219 Loyola Ave.
New Orleans, LA 70112

The Louisiana Division houses the New Orleans City Archives (1769-present), the records of the Orleans Parish civil courts (1804'1926) and criminal courts (1830'1931), and manuscripts collections, including the Louisiana Photograph Collection, the Carnival Collection, the Map Collection, the Menu Collection, the Rare Vertical File, and the Rare Book Collection.

Louisiana State Museum

The Historical Center, Old U.S. Mint
400 Esplanade Ave.
New Orleans, LA 70116

The Historical Center houses maps and documents of early French and Spanish colonial records. Researchers must make appointments to use these resources.

The New Orleans Notarial Archives Research Center

1340 Poydras St., Ste. 360
New Orleans, LA 70112

Because Louisiana law is based on Napoleonic (Civil) Law, the notary held a prominent role Louisiana society, preparing property transactions, loans, wills, marriage contracts, partnerships, building contracts, adoptions, probates, and so on. By law, notaries were required to maintain an archive of the records they created and provide for their maintenance after their death. In 1867, the Louisiana Legislature created a central repository, the Office of the Custodian of Notarial Records for the Parish of Orleans. The records of New Orleans notaries include property transactions from the French period (1731'58), Spanish period (1768'1803), and American period. Because families often used the same notary through multiple generations, the notarial records can be a rich source for those researching in New Orleans.

Louisiana Genealogical and Historical Society

P.O. Box 3454
Baton Rouge, LA 70821

As the state genealogical society, in addition to publishing The Louisiana Genealogical Register, it holds an all-day seminar every April. It has no permanent headquarters. In addition to the major repositories listed above, researchers should take note of the collections available at the following academic libraries:

University of New Orleans Lakefront Campus

Louisiana & Special Collections Department
Earl K. Long Library
New Orleans, LA 70148

University of Louisiana at Lafayette

Center for Louisiana Studies
P.O. Box 40831
Lafayette, LA 70504

Northwestern State University

The Cammie G. Henry Research Center
Watson Memorial Library
913 College Ave.
Natchitoches, LA 71497

Louisiana Tech University

Prescott Memorial Library
Special Collections, Manuscripts, and Archives
Ruston, LA 71272-0046

Nicholls State University

Ellender Memorial Library
Archives and Special Collections
P.O. Box 2028
Thibodaux, LA 70310

Southeastern Louisiana University

Linus A. Sims Memorial Library
Center for Southeast Louisiana Studies
SLU 10730
Hammond, LA 70402

Those researching in New Orleans should be aware of the extensive archival collections available not listed above. The Greater New Orleans Archivists have provided this online listing of archival repositories http://nutrias.org/gnoa/norepos.htm.