Frequently Asked Questions

The Louisiana State Archives research library is located in the Louisiana State Archives building at 3851 Essen Lane, between Interstate 10 and Interstate 12 in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.
Yes, we encourage the public to visit and use the materials. Researchers must present valid photo identification (i.e., driver's license or other acceptable identification) at the research library reference desk when using our archival holdings.
Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.; first Saturday of each month, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.; and closed Sundays
The archival holdings which are not housed in the research room are available Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m., and by appointment only on the Saturdays that we are open. Please contact the library staff before noon on the preceding Friday to schedule an appointment for Saturday viewing.
Since this is a research library with no materials appropriate for children, we recommend that children not be brought into the research library. If necessary, an adult must accompany children under the age of 14 and the accompanying adult will be held responsible for their child's conduct.
Contact the research library with your address, and we will mail you a packet of information about the state. You might also want to contact these other state agencies that provide information to students:
  • You may come in person to conduct research. This is a reference library and no materials may be checked out, but you are welcome to make photocopies, except when collection restrictions apply. See our Reproduction and Certification Fee Schedule for information further information.
  • You may refer to our Research Library Mail-In Research Request Fee Schedule for a list of what types of requests we will accept by postal mail and submit the appropriate form and fee.
  • All requests should include a return address since responses are made by U.S. mail. All research requests must be prepaid.
  • Upon request, we can provide you with a list of genealogists who will perform research for a fee.
Because we are a reference library and our materials do not circulate, we do not participate in the inter-library loan program.
Louisiana did not maintain statewide birth and death records until around 1918. A few parishes (counties) in Louisiana may have kept an index or register which would be housed at the individual local parish Clerk of Court office. The only governmental vital records program in existence prior to 1918 was in Orleans parish.

Researchers may obtain any of the following vital records by visiting the Louisiana State Archives research library or by requesting the records by mail, using the Vital Records Research Request Form:
  • Orleans parish birth records for births over 100 years old, beginning in 1819 (Index for 1790–1818, but no records)
  • Orleans parish marriage records for marriages over 50 years old, beginning in 1870 (Index for 1831–1869, but no records)
  • Orleans parish death records for deaths over 50 years old, beginning in 1819 (Index for 1804–1818, but no records)
  • Statewide death records for deaths over 50 years old, beginning in 1911
Although we do not have birth and death records statewide prior to 1911, we do have other resources, such as censuses, cemetery records and sacramental records that may be used by researchers to determine when a person was born or died.

All other parish marriage records are kept at the individual parish Clerk of Court offices where the marriage took place. The only exception is Orleans parish marriage records which are kept at the Department of Health & Hospitals, Office of Vital Records Registry (those records less than 50 years old). For a list of all other parish Clerk of Court offices, please visit

For all current birth records (less than 100 years old) and all current death records (less than 50 years old), please contact:

Department of Health & Hospitals
Office of Vital Records Registry
P.O. Box 60630, New Orleans LA 70160
504.568.5152 (recorded message)
or visit their website.
We have the Orleans Parish Marriage Records Index, Statewide Birth Records Index (including Orleans Parish) and the Statewide Death Records Index (including Orleans Parish) on our website with Advanced Search capabilities. For specific information on the dates covered, visit the Index page.
Please fill out the appropriate form and/or include as much of the following information as possible:
  • Full name of person being searched
  • Parish of residence at the time of death
  • Sex
  • Race
  • Approximate date of death
  • Volume and page of record, if known
The State Archives research library maintains copies of the complete census records for Louisiana from 1810 to 1930 with the exception of the records from 1890. Also available are microfilmed copies of the 1791 and 1804 census records of New Orleans and 1849–1864 New Orleans "registers of free persons of color" and census records for neighboring southern states. The State Archives also has the Louisiana Soundex for 1880, 1900, 1910, 1920 and 1930.
We have federal census records from 1850 to 1860 for Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Texas and Virginia. We also have the federal census records from 1850 for Tennessee and Maryland, and 1860 for Indiana.
You may contact the U.S. Census Bureau:
U.S. Census Bureau
P.O. Box 1545
Jeffersonville, IN 47131
812-218-3046 Phone
812-288-3371 Fax
Divorces before 1830 were granted at will by the Louisiana Legislature and may sometimes be found in the original acts and colonial records within our holdings. Later divorce records were filed in the local Clerk of Court offices within each parish where the divorce took place.
We do not have adoption records.
We do have various denominational published church records as well as original church and cemetery records available in our research room and our archival holdings. You may also wish to contact the Louisiana Cemetery Board regarding current cemeteries in Louisiana as well as laws regarding access.
We have the National Archives microfilm of the compiled service records of soldiers, both Confederate and Union, serving in Louisiana units.

We also have the Confederate pension applications filed by veterans and their widows living in Louisiana after the war. The Confederate Pension Applications Index Database is searchable by solder and widow of soldier's name.

Hints for finding Confederate pension applications:
  • The first pensions were not paid by the state until 1898.
  • Only the veteran or his widow could apply, not his children or parents.
  • Application was made in the state where the veteran or widow lived, not in the state from which he served. Only the former Confederate states and Oklahoma paid Confederate pensions.
  • Pensions were based on financial hardship. For veterans this was usually a disability affecting his ability to make a living. For a veteran's widow this was usually based on whether she remarried and her ability to make a living if she did not remarry.
When submitting a request for a service record or pension application, please provide the following when possible:
  • Soldier or widow's full name
  • Parish of residence
  • Military unit
We have a number of newspapers in our holdings (dating from as early as 1811 to 1980), yet many are single issues. Our newspapers are not indexed, but our holdings are searchable through our in-house database in the research library. We also have available in our research library the publication The Louisiana Newspaper Project Printout (1999) which lists various newspapers, current and extinct, as well as repository resources to locate microfilm and original publications around the state.
We have many map collections containing from 1 to over 10,000 maps, dating back to the early 1800s, yet most are from the 1900s. Maps in the collections may not be photocopied, but arrangements can be made for other means of reproduction. Contact the Archives library for more information.

For the current Official Highway Map of Louisiana as well as other current maps, contact the Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development

We do not appraise documents. Contact your local library to ask for an appraiser in your area.
The Louisiana Genealogical & Historical Society is a statewide genealogical organization. You can contact the LGHS at Louisiana Genealogical & Historical Society, P.O. Box 82060, Baton Rouge LA 70884-2060 or visit Many parishes also have genealogical or local historical societies. For more information, please visit
The FRIENDS of the Louisiana State Archives is the Louisiana State Archives non-profit support organization. You can support our mission by supporting this organization. To join, download a membership form, and then print it, complete it, and mail it to us.

Also, the State Archives has a Volunteer Program which is designed to expand and enhance public service to the community. Volunteers generally provide support services to paid staff and work on special projects.

For information regarding the Friends of the Louisiana State Archives organization or the Louisiana State Archives Volunteer Program, please contact:

Louisiana State Archives
Louisiana Secretary of State 
P.O. Box 94125
Baton Rouge, LA 70804-9125