Why you might roll your eyes:
You have painful memories of standing in a long line at the Archives with swarms of ninth-graders to see the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution.
Why you’ll love it:
There’s another reason to visit the Archives—it offers a wealth of resources for anyone tracing a family tree, as does the Daughters of the American Revolution library. While both institutions put some materials online, many of the documents aren’t digitized, so you won’t find them even on websites such as Ancestry.com.
Go to the Archives in person and you’ll find Civil War pension applications, military correspondence, and more; at DAR, you can hold manuscripts and books available only in print. Both are beautiful buildings, open free to the public, with staffs who can help decipher documents such as US Census records. The Archives also hosts lectures and workshops for people interested in genealogy.
National Archives, 700 Pennsylvania Ave., NW, 202-357-5000; DAR, 1776 D St., NW, 202-628-1776.