Archives

The Archives of the Archdiocese of Washington is the official repository of Archdiocesan records, history and memorabilia associated with the historic heritage of the Archdiocese of Washington. Please read the information below carefully, particularly if you are seeking sacramental, ordination or school records, or are conducting genealogy research.

What Time Period Does the Archives Cover?
While the Archives includes some older materials, most of its records begin in 1939, when the District of Columbia was separated from the Archdiocese of Baltimore to establish the Archdiocese of Washington. In 1948, five Maryland counties – Calvert, Charles, Montgomery, Prince George’s and St. Mary’s – joined the District as part of the Archdiocese of Washington.

Parish History and Memorabilia
Parishes located in the Archdiocese of Washington are asked to send commemorative books, histories, building plans, etc. to the Archives so they may become part of the permanent collection of the Archdiocese of Washington.

Certification of Ordination
Priests and deacons who were ordained in and for the Archdiocese of Washington, as well as religious order priests and deacons ordained within the Archdiocese of Washington and who need certification of their ordination, should request the information by letter. Send to: Archivist, Archdiocese of Washington, PO Box 29260, Washington, DC 20017-0260.

Burial Records
Funeral records may note the site of burial. Otherwise, all burial records are kept at the individual cemetery office. Please check with the Catholic Cemeteries of the Archdiocese of Washington.

Sacramental and Funeral Records
Sacramental records, such as baptism and marriage records, are NOT kept in the Archives. These records are maintained in the parish where the sacrament was administered. Please note that sacramental record books are not open for review; however, individuals may request a certified copy of a sacramental record. Please mail or fax a completed Sacramental Request Form to the parish where the sacrament occurred. If you are planning to marry, please request a copy of your baptismal record as early as possible.

Records of sacraments administered on United States military bases, even those located within the Archdiocese of Washington, are maintained by the Archdiocese for the Military Services, USA.

School Records
Please contact the school for your records. If you attended a Catholic school located in the Archdiocese of Washington that has closed or merged with another school, please check this list for the location of the records.

Genealogy Research
With the exception of sacramental records kept at the parishes, the Archdiocese of Washington does not have census, birth and death or other similar records on individuals. We encourage those searching their family history to contact the following sources:

District of Columbia Dept. of Health, Vital Records Division

Maryland Hall of Records

Maryland Dept. of Health and Mental Hygiene Vital Statistics Administration

United States Archives 

United States Bureau of the Census

United States Library of Congress 

Other Catholic History Resources in This Region

Associated Archives at St. Mary’s Seminary and University 

Catholic Historical Society of Washington: preserves the religious and cultural history of the Archdiocese of Washington; has meetings and publications: 202-667-5876

Catholic University of America Libraries

Georgetown University Libraries

If you are a researcher and would like to request an appointment, or have further questions please contact Stephanie A.T. Jacobe, Ph.D., Director of Archives, at 301-853-5316.