National Archives Announces Changes in Copying Fees

August 23, 2007, Washington, DC. . . A final rule published in the Federal Register August 17, 2007, amends the fees for reproduction of archival materials in National Archives facilities nationwide.  In addition to Federal records, this includes donated historical materials, Presidential records, and records filed with the Office of the Federal Register.  This rule will become effective on Monday, October 1, 2007. 

The fees are being changed to reflect current costs of providing the reproductions.  The National Archives current fees were established in October 2000 based on a 1999 cost study.  As a result of a cost study conducted in 2006, fees for copying records must increase to recover costs. This is the first fee increase in seven years.

Click here to see the final rule. 

Click here to see the proposed rule.

As of October 1, 2007, fixed-fee reproductions of commonly-requested genealogical records using the National Archives order forms will be:

Record (Order form)–Fee

  • Passenger arrival lists (NATF Form 81)–$25.00
  • Federal Census requests (NATF Form 82)–$25.00
  • Eastern Cherokee applications to the Court  (NATF Form 83)–$25.00
    of Claims
  • Land entry records (NATF Form 84)–$40.00
  • Full pension file more than 75 years old, Civil War and after (NATF Form 85)–$75.00 up to 100 pages
  • Full pension file, pre-Civil War (NATF Form 85)–$50.00
  • Pension documents packet, selected records (NATF Form 85)–$25.00
  • Bounty land warrant application files (NATF Form 85)–$25.00
  • Military service files more than 75 years old (NATF Form 86)–$25.00

Self-service copies will be $0.25 per page in the Washington, DC, area, and $0.20 per page at regional archives and Presidential libraries.  NARA-made copies will be $0.75 per page.

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For press information, contact the National Archives Public Affairs staff at 202-357-5300.   07-128

11 thoughts on “National Archives Announces Changes in Copying Fees

  1. Many people are being priced out of these records that should be available to everyone. It is outrageous that only professional genealogists will be able to afford access to these records. There are a great number of family genealogists who have as much right to access these records as the professionals.

  2. After some years of trying to find out who is in my family, I now need to get the documents. But I’m 76 years old, live on Social Security and Military Widow’s Pension, and cannot possibly afford both living expenses and Archive fees. Do you have special discount rates for senior citizens? This research is good for me mentally, emotionally, and physically.

  3. Most of us that do research for other people are having to pay not only NARA’s outrageous prices but fees of $13-18 for birth or death certificates that prior to 9/11 cost a quarter a copy.
    Security measures my butt,anyone can sign a slip of paper for the same info without ID by paying the fee. I had to pay $67.00 to the state of New York for a death certificate because it was for genealogy. As far as professional genealogists being only those that can pay NARA’s fees, the fees are paid by the person wanting the info to the genealogist after return of info. The genealogist sets their own fee for time ad service rendered.
    Be that as it may, family genealogical research had increaed it’s popularity and demand, so therefore prices increase accordingly. The old supply and demand theory.

  4. I began researching my familly when the fees were nominal. With the previous increases for SS records up from about $7.00 to the high $20’s, I would have asked for information on only my immediate family and would not have inquired about others with the same last name who turned out to be related to me.

    These increases are a reflection of the increase in the number of requests, not of the cost of filling those requests. Do not put the cost of records out of reach of thse who want to learn about our predecessors and their history.

  5. I received a 193-page pack of my 2nd ggrfa’s Civil War record earlier this year. It actually wasn’t his 3-month service record, but only his widow’s appeal to received a widow’s pension after his death ended his own pension. While this cost me only $37, I have to agree with the National Archives that the costs are far greater than the current prices.

    While I could have done without the sworn affidavits of the recollections of some of his short-term war buddies from 40 years past: “I don’t remember much about him,” there were several pages that would be worth the new rates: Descriptions of why my 2nd ggrfa should or shouldn’t have gotten a pension in the first place, their son-in-law’s (my ggrfa) signature on a witness statement, a copy of my 2nd ggrpts marriage certificate, and a statement from the local Postmaster reporting my 2nd ggrmo’s date of death (which I’d never been able to locate), which terminated the pension record. It also included all the places they had lived and what their life was like. (Grim to the max.)

    My biggest concern would be whether the NA will simply copy the first 100 pages they pick up, or select some of the most important pages, such as a marriage certificate or a death notice.

  6. I started my genealogical search way back in 1969. When you did it by snail mail etc. I sent for the military records of my great grand father and the charge at that time was $3.00. A cost that most anyone could afford. Though it turned out that they only copied a few pages in it. You have to ask for the entire record. Later, in the 70’s I visited the National Archives and when you requested a record they brought you the actual paper file with all the contents. What a change now.

  7. I have tried several times to place an order at NARA and cannot connect to it. Eithor it is overloaded with people ordering records, or the site is blocked because to is so close to October 1st.

  8. When is the NARA going to move into this century!! I think that they should offer scanning of these documents and email them to you for a fraction of these costs. All that they would have to pay is the time it takes to do this!!! (No paper and postage costs!)

    I realize that if it were a really long 100 page file it might fill up most of your mailbox, BUT I think it could be compressed in some sort of way.


  9. I too am disappointed with the rate increases. However, for $75 I could not travel to DC at all. $.25/copy is not way out of line (our local library charges $.20). If you were there and copied 50 pages it would be $12.50 and if you account for a person’s time (they are staff/not volunteers) plus facilities upkeep, I see the cost really does go to about the $75 range. We forget that for all the things we think the government should provide, it actually means I want my neighbors and me to pay for it through taxes. Someone has to pay for it or it will go away completely.

    I too agree that this price very much limits my research to direct lines only, spread out over a long period of time. Researching co-lateral lines will be cost prohibitive.

    Scanning although a great long term solution, initally it takes a lot time and personnel resources too. Hopefully with the new price increases that might help pay for some of it. It would be nice if I knew my records request would be scanned based on my fees, at least then I would have the satisfaction of knowing I would help other descendants in the future.

  10. I think, having ordered only 3 FULL Civil War Pension files in the last few years that $75 for a full file (up to 100 pages) is a lot more reasonable than the previously proposed $125. The last two pension files I received in August were 29 and 69 pages respectively. And although like one other’s comment I read here, it mostly contained affidavits for a pension, mine being for an increase from the pensioner himself, the information was still interesting. The fact that there was documentation from 1899-1910 when he died regarding all his ailments was interesting to me.

    It seems that if you can’t immediately afford the $75 for the full pension file, get the other one and see what it contains. Or determine whether or not your relative died during the Civil War or AFTER, since if he died after the full file would have a lot more information, than if he died during the war.

    My great-great grandfather died during the war and his file was rather thin. His brother also died during the war, in Andersonville and his only contained about five pages, if that. The most recent files I got had documents where the affidavits turned out to be relatives which led me to more names. I suppose it all depends on who you are looking for and how important the names are, if they could knock down a brick wall, the $75 is worth it, especially if you learn something you’ve been trying to find for years.

    It is far easier for me to get pension files than it would be to get death certificates from my own state. When it had a way through e-mail to order them (for free) I still had to wait NINE MONTHS to get it and then they suddenly decided to STOP doing the e-mail requests, probably because they got so many requests AND complaints that it was taking 9 months to get them. The pension files take about 2 1/2 months from the time they get the request and start searching to when they send the invoice and you get the file. That’s a LOT better than 9 months using an e-mail request.

    Genealogists don’t seem to get enough credit and instead they get fee increases put on them because of the potential threat of identity theft. That isn’t something new, its just gotten better with the Internet. Genealogists, REAL genealogists shouldn’t have to suffer because of this. They are only trying to find out who THEY are not become someone else. I say don’t put the restrictions on us genealogists, put them on people getting NEW identifications. Run better checks on them, not on genealogists.

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