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Local History/Special Collections has many resources to help the genealogist research his or her family's history. The collection focuses mainly on material relating to Alexandria and Virginia in general, but other genealogy resources are available as well.



Genealogy Library Subject Guide

General resources consist of guides for the genealogist, including books that explain the types of records involved in genealogical research and where they can be found.


African American Resources

Books, manuscript material and other resources specifically for tracing your African American ancestor.


Vital Indexes

Several volumes of information that include birth, marriage and death records are available.  Another valuable resource is the obituary index to the Alexandria Gazette, the local newspaper. The Virginia Chronicle has the Alexandria Gazetter from 1834-1923 online.  Vital statistics can also be found on Ancestry Library Edition


Religious Records

Genealogists will find useful data in collections of tombstone inscriptions and cemetery records. Information about members of individual congregations, compiled from church records, is also available. The library's collection also includes published histories of churches and synagogues.


Military Records
The collection is strong in Civil War resources, especially those pertaining to the Confederacy. Useful works include histories of each Virginia regiment. Also available are several volumes with information taken from service records and pension records for other American wars. Service records can also be found on Fold 3.


Educational Records

The collection includes records from some local private schools, in some instances including lists of students who attended them. Also of use is the collection of selected twentieth-century yearbooks from three public high schoolsMemoirs from various local students are also available.


Census Records

Microfilm copies of the Federal census (population schedules, 1790-1930) are available for all the counties and cities in Virginia and for the District of Columbia (of which Alexandria was a part from 1791-1846). Census records (1790-1940) can also be found on Ancestry Library Edition and Heritage Quest



Local History/Special Collections Branch subscribes to more than 100+ journals, newsletters, and magazines about genealogy and local history.

The collection also includes microfilm of the Alexandria Gazette from 1784-August 2008.  The Alexandria Gazette (2002-present) can also be found online.   Other useful periodicals include the Virginia Historical Index, the Confederate Veteran, and the Southern Historical Society Papers.


Classes and Programs

Genealogy classes and programs about local and state history are scheduled throughout the year. See the online event calendar for more information.





Oath of Allegiance in Virginia, 1862-1865
The Oath of Allegiance, also called a Loyalty Oath, was a document  signed by persons during and after the Civil War to pledge loyalty and allegiance to the Union. This list contains approximately 1,200 persons, many of whom were residents of Alexandria, who signed the Oath of Allegiance. 


African American Voter Registration in Alexandria, 1902-1954
This list contains close to 2,100 entries taken from microfilmed voter registration roll books in the Local History/Special Collections Branch. The original roll books are located in the City of Alexandria Archives and Record Center.


Civil War Era Burials - Alexandria National Cemetery
This index, prepared from the Roll of Honor. Names of Soldiers, Victims of The Rebellion, Buried in the National Cemetery at Alexandria, Virginia. Washington: Government Printing Office, 1866.


"News of Interest to Colored Readers," 1927-1928
A ten-month column from the Alexandria Gazette written by African American Estelle Lane about events in her community.


Notes on locating a Confederate ancestor
Guide to locating your ancestor.


Obituary Index to the Alexandria Gazette, 1916-1946
Picks up where Obituary Notices from the Alexandria Gazette, 1784-1915. Rev. ed., published by Willow Bend Books ended.


1850 Census Index - Alexandria & Alexandria County, VA
Index to just over 13,000 individuals enumerated in 1850.


1890 Veterans Census - Northern Virginia 
Enumeration of Federal (and some Confederate) veterans or their widows, including a number of United States Colored Troops.


Index to Naturalization Petitions, Alexandria, 1909-1929
Soldiers from Camp Humphries (Ft. Belvoir) and residents from Stafford up through Loudoun Counties and all points east.


"The Senior Class;" Index to Alexandria High School Yearbooks
Index to senior class photos from Alexandria High School (The "Alecko" 1919-1935, missing 1921) and George Washington High School (The "Compass" 1935-1951).


Volunteers for Freedom: Black Civil War Soldiers in Alexandria National Cemetery
This list was created after a careful review of Volunteers for Freedom: Black Civil War Soldiers in Alexandria National Cemetery by Edward A. Miller, Jr., located in Local History/Special Collections. Miller's sources included -- but were not limited to -- pension files, military service records, and hospital records. His research was published in Historic Alexandria Quarterly.


World War I Draft Registrations - Northern Virginia
This index includes registrants for the City of Alexandria, Alexandria (now Arlington) County, and Fairfax County. Our source is microfilm from the National Archives and Records Administration RG163 M1509, roll numbers: VA3; VA4; and VA20.

Last updated: August 2021