How to Easily Request a U.S. Census Record from NARA
Updated: Mar 29
By Parviz Malakouti-Fitzgerald, Esq.
You can apply to get a certified copy of a U.S. census record (i.e. "census record") from the U.S. National Records Archive (“NARA”). from 1950 and before. Census records, especially the 1920 census, can be useful for European citizenship by descent applications.
That's because the 1920 census had a category for "nativity" and "mother tongue" which can serve as evidence for some countries' citizenship by descent applications.
The first step is to go to The National Records Archive website. Create an account and sign in.
→ Then click “Order Reproductions.”
→ Then click “Census Pages."
→ Then click “NATF 82: Census Records (NATF 82)
→ Then click on the drop down menu next to "Select a Delivery Format" and select "Certified Paper Copy (Additional $15) then click "Add to Cart."
Then → Fill out the biographical information requested.
Then finally, at the next screen, you pay and complete the order.
Once you’ve placed your order, you’ll get a confirmation email from OrderOnlinePM@nara.gov with your 1) order number, 2) order total, 3) submission date and 4) delivery method.
Below is a picture of a certified copy of a U.S. census record with a red bow on top. With any luck, you'll receive in the mail a few weeks after ordering.