The Erbon and Marie Wise Genealogical Library, located on the first floor, is the public's primary link to the holdings of the Louisiana State Archives. It is within this library that patrons are provided access to the thirty thousand cubic feet of records stored in the State Archives, as well as books on general histories, census indexes, immigration schedules, church records, and family history. Whether a novice researcher or a veteran genealogist, one can usually find among the State Archives repository records that shed light upon their ancestral history. Some of the more popular records requested by patrons utilizing the Research Library are assessment records, various colonial documents, passenger manifests for the Port of New Orleans, military service records, Confederate Pension Applications and records from the State Land Office, among others. Some of these records are maintained on microfilm which can be viewed in the Research Library's Microfilm Section. Copies of documents on microfilm can be made at a minimal cost to the patron within the library.
Patrons who cannot visit our library may obtain some of our records via mail. Please refer to the fee schedule for a complete list of the records that are available by mail.
Records not on microfilm can also be viewed by patrons in the library. Access to these records is made possible through the library reference desk with proper identification.
Note: Campaign Finance Reports require at least 24 hours notice to pull reports for review. We are sorry for any inconvenience and thank you for your patience.
Public Vital Records
Also found in the Research Library is the state's archival vital records program. Here patrons can view selected marriage, death and birth records for Orleans Parish, as well as death records and some birth records for the remainder of the state. Death records cover the period up to 1962 and information on New Orleans births is for the period through 1912. Marriage records for Orleans Parish in the index are also over 50 years old. These records may contain information vital to ancestral research such as parents names, place of birth, cause of death, age and occupation of deceased persons, location of burial and official performing wedding.
Researchers may obtain any of the following vital records by visiting the Louisiana State Archives Research Library or may request the records by mail. The Archives maintains the following in our Online Public Vital Records Index:
- Orleans Parish birth records for 1819–1912 (births more than 100 years ago)* (Index for 1790–1818, but no records)
- Orleans Parish marriage records for 1870–1962 (marriages more than 50 years ago)** (Index for 1831–1869, but no records.)
- Orleans Parish death records for 1819–1962 (deaths more than 50 years ago)* (Index for 1804–1818)
- Statewide birth records for 1911–1912 (births more than 100 years ago)*
- Statewide death records for 1911–1962 (deaths more than 50 years ago)*
*The only birth records that are currently available at the Archives prior to 1912 are from Orleans Parish. The only death records currently available prior to 1912 are from Jefferson and Orleans parishes. Records from Orleans are filed separately from the combined statewide listing of all the other parishes in the state. Records prior to the dates listed above are probably nonexistent unless the parish where the birth or death occurred kept such a record. If the person being researched was Catholic, birth and death information would probably be shown in the records of the church or diocese where that person lived.
**All marriage records, other than Orleans Parish, are maintained by the clerk of court in the parish where the marriage license was purchased.
The Archives charges $5 for a certified copy which includes a three year search per surname. Fees must be retained for both successful and unsuccessful searches. Searches are processed by a given year; therefore, a name, place and date, or a span of three years, is required to research a request. Patrons can also obtain a non-certified copy for 50 cents if they conduct their own research at the Archives. A certified copy can be obtained by submitting a mail application.
For more recent records, contact the Department of Health and Hospital's Vital Records Registry at P.O. Box 60630, New Orleans, LA 70160; 504.593.5100; email dhh-vitalweb; or visit their website for more information.
The Louisiana Multimedia Archives
The Multimedia Archives is a computer-based archival system that allows for the storage and rapid recall of thousands of hours of film and video footage relevant to Louisiana culture.
The opening of the Multimedia Archives took place after years of acquiring and digitizing film and video sources from television stations, film collections and newsreels featuring content relevant to Louisiana from all over the United States. Using a powerful search engine, visitors to the Multimedia Archives will be able to research and instantly view film of former Louisiana governors, news events of the 20th century, oral histories compiled by the State Archives staff and more.
Acquisitions/Processing Section (Archival Collections)
Materials must be pulled before 3 p.m. on weekdays for use in the Research Library and cannot be viewed during the weekends.
In addition, due to the volume of campaign finance report requests received, the State Archives requires at least 24 hours notice to pull campaign finance reports for review. We are sorry for any inconvenience and thank you for your patience. Please refer to the How to Request Campaign Finance Report form and the Campaign Finance Supplemental form for more information.