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Works Progress Administration - Part 2

The WPA not only pulled the nations out of the Depression, but the records and indices they generated can pull family historians out of depression, too!


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In Part 1 of this article, we looked at the background of the Works Progress Administration and a brief summary of what they accomplished. Many of our families found employment there and contributed greatly to our nation. Their legacy for today's family historians earns their lasting gratitude.

Now, I'd like to give a more detailed look at the WPA holdings. Although there are other records and resources, let's focus on which states can be found under the following topics:

1. Federal records and archives surveyed

2. Vital statistics surveyed

3. Public records and archives surveyed

4. State records and archives surveyed

5. Municipal and town records/archives surveyed

6. County records and archives surveyed

7. Directories of churches and religious organizations

8. Church records and archives surveyed

9. Microfilmed records and archives surveyed

This information includes only the 48 continental United States and Washington, DC. Excluded are the possessions (Alaska, Hawaii, Virgin Islands, etc.). Please recall that the WPA was terminated during WW2 in 1942.

1. Federal Records and Archives (ship registers and enrollments)

California (Eureka)

Louisiana (New Orleans)

Maine (Machias)

Massachusetts (Barnstable, Boston, Charleston, New Bedford and Plymouth)

Oregon (Marshfield and Portland)

Pennsylvania (Philadelphia)

Rhode Island (Bristol-Warren and Providence)

2. Vital Statistics






















New Hampshire

New Jersey


North Carolina

North Dakota

New York


Rhode Island

South Dakota




West Virginia



3. Public Records and Archives

Mississippi (Adams County)

New Jersey (Gloucester County)

New York (Staten Island and Newtown)

Tennessee (Knox and Shelbt Counties)

4. State Records and Archives

California (Northern - Immigration and Housing)

Illinois (State Council of Defense)

Maryland (Allegany, Anne Arundel, Carroll, Garrett, Howard,

Montgomery, Washington, Wicomico Counties)

Michigan (State Police)

New Jersey (Naturalization Records)


Rhode Island (Legislation Concerning Vital Statistics)

Utah (Census of Weber County and State of Deseret)

5. Municipal and Town Records/Archives

Connecticut (Inventories of Fairfield, Hartford, and New Haven Counties)

Georgia (Inventories of Cook County)

Indiana (Municipal Government in Indiana)

Louisiana (Inventories of Municipal Archives for Franklinton and Thibodaux)

Massachusetts (Inventories of Berksire, Franklin, Hampden, Middlesex, Norfolk, Suffolk, and Worcester Counties)

Michigan (Inventories of Wayne County)

New Hampshire (Inventories of Belknap, Hillsboro, Merrimack, and Rockingham Counties)

New Jersey (Inventories of Essex, Hudson, Monmouth, and Morris Counties)

New York City (Inventories of Bronx and Richmond Boroughs)

Ohio (Inventories of Cuyahoga County)

Rhode Island (Inventories of Kent and Providence Counties)

Texas (Inventory of Brazoria County)

Utah (Inventory of Ogden County)

Vermont (Inventories of Addison, Chittenden, Franklin, Grand Isle,

Lamoille, Orleans, Rutland, Windham, and Windsor Counties)

Wisconsin (Inventories of Cudahy, Wauwatosa, and Greendale Counties)

6. County Records and Archives

Alabama (Clay, Colbert, Cinecuh, Cullman, Green, Hale, Lauderdale, Lowndes, Madison, Marengo, Sumpter, Talladega, Wilcox, and Winston Counties)

Arizona (Maricopa, Pima, Santa Cruz Counties)

Arkansas (Baxter, Benton, Carroll, Cleburne, Cleveland, Cross, Faulkner, Hot Springs, Izard, Jackson, Madison, Monroe, Montgomery, Polk, Saline, Scott, Searcy)

California (Alameda, Fresno, Kern, Los Angeles, Marin, Mono, Napa, San Benito, San Bernadino, San Diego, San Francisco, San Luis Obispo, San Mateo, Santa Barbara, Santa Clara, and Ventura Counties)

Colorado (Alamosa, Arapahoe, Bent, Conejos, Castilla, Fremont, Garfield, Hinsdale, Larimer, Logan, Morgan, Phillips, Prowers, San Miguel, Washington, and Yuma Counties)

Delaware (New Castle County)

Florida (Charlotte, Clay, Duval, Flagler, Hardee, Hendry, Leon, Okaloosa, Pinellas, Sarasota, and Wakulla Counties)

Georgia (Chatham, Clinch, Cook, Dougherty, Echols, Jefferson, Lee, Muscogee, and Richmond Counties)

Idaho (Bingham, Boundary, Clark, Kostenai, Lemhi, Minidoka, Nez Perce, Power, and Teton Counties)

Illinois (Adams, Brown, Carroll, Champaign, Clark, Cumberland, Dewitt, Douglas, Effingham, Fayette, Franklin, Jackson, Jo Daviess, Knox, Livingston, Logan, Macopin, Menard, Montgomery, Morgan, Moultrie, Ogle, Peoria, Piatt, Pike, Rock Island, Salina, Sangamon, Scott, Shelby, St. Clair, Stephenson, and Vermilion Counties.)

Indiana (Allen, Blackford, Boone, Clay, Delaware, Fulton, Greene, Howard, Jay, LaPorte, Marion, Marshall, Monroe, Morgan, Posey, St. Joseph, Shelby, Tippecanoe, Tipton, Vanderburgh, Warrick, and Wells Counties)

Iowa (Carroll, Cherokee, Dallas, Dubuque, Ada, Jasper, Montgomery, Polk, Sac, Taylor, and Woodbury Counties)

Kansas (Bourbon, Cherokee, Franklin, Gove, Graham, Gray, Greenwood, Johnson, Montgomery, Morris, Osage, Phillips, Seward, and Shawnee Counties)

Louisiana (Allen, Assumption, Beauregard, Bossier, Caleasien, Grant, Jefferson, Lafayette, Lafourche, Morehouse, Natchitoches, and Orleans Parishes)

Massachusetts (Essex County)

Michigan (Alger, Alpena, Baraga, Bay, Calhoun, Cheboygan, Genesee, Iosco, Iron, Jackson, Marquette, and Muskegon Counties)

Minnesota (Aiken, Anoka, Beltrami, Benton, Big Stone, Blue Earth, Cass, Chippewa, Dakota, Dodge, Douglas, Fairbault, Fillmore, Freeborn, Goodhue, Grant, Houston, Hubbard, Jackson, Kanabac, Lincoln, Marshall, Martin, Meeker, Mille Lacs, Morrison, Murray, Nicollet, Nobles, Olmsted, Otter Tail, Pipestone, Redwood, Renville, Rice, Rock, Scott, Sherburne, Stearns, Traverse, Wabasha, Washington, Wright, and Yellow Medicine Counties)

Mississippi (Amite, Forrest, Grenada, Humphreys, Lamar, Pearl River, Tippah, Tunica, and Walthall Counties)

Missouri (Cass, Cole, Dallas, Henry, Johnson, Linn, McDonald, Marion, Jasper, Pettis, Pike, Reynolds, Ripley, and Shelby Counties)

Montana (Beverhead, Carbon, Flathead, Gallatin, Lincoln, Madison, Mineral Lake, Missoula, Park, Ravalli, Sanders, Silver Bow, Stillwater, Sweet Grass, and Toole Counties)

Nebraska (Gosper, Greeley, Howard, Loup, Merrick, Seward, and Webster Counties)

Nevada (Douglas, Elko, Eureka, Mineral, Nye, Ormsby, and Washoe Counties)

New Hampshire (Belknap, Carroll, Cheshire, Coos, Grafton, and Merrimack Counties)

New Jersey (Bergen, Morris, Ocean, and Passaic Counties)

New Mexico ( Bernalillo, Colfax, Dona Ana, Eddy, Grant, Hidalgo, Luna, Mora, Otero, Sandoval, San Miguel, Sierra, Torrance, Union, and Valencia Counties)

New York City (Bronx, Kings and Richmond Borough and Counties)

New York State Albany, Broome, Cattaraugus, Chautauqua, Chemung, and Ulster Counties)

North Carolina (All counties - 3 volumes)

North Dakota (Golden Valley, Mercer, and Williams Counties)

Ohio (Adams, Allen, Ashland, Athens, Brown, Columbiana, Cuyahoga, Fayette, Franklin, Geauga, Hamilton, Hancock, Jackson, Knox, Lake, Lorain, Lucas, Madison, Montgomery, Pike, Ross, Scioto, Seneca, Stark, Summit, Trunbull, and Washington Counties)

Oklahoma (Atoka, Beckham, Cherokee, Cimarron, Haskell, Lincoln, McIntosh, Mayes, Muskogee, Pittsburg, and Pushmataha County)

Oregon (Benton, Clatsop, Coos, Hood River, Josephine, Klamath, Linn, Morrow, Multnomah, Tillamook, Umatilla, Wasco, and Washington Counties)

Pennsylvania (Adams, Beaver, Berks, Blair, Bradford, Delaware, Erie, Fayette, Forest, Greene, Lancaster, Lawrence, Luzerne, Warren, Washington, Wayne, and Westmoreland Counties)

South Carolina (Bennett, Buffalo, Clark, Faulk, Haakon, Jackson, Millette, Miner, and Washabaugh Counties)

Tennessee (Anderson, Bedford, Blount, Bradley, Cheatham, Crockett, Hamilton, Haywood, Loudon, Rutherford, Sullivan, Tipton, and Wilson Counties)

Texas (Bandera, Bastrop, Brown, Caldwell, Calhoun, Denton, DeWItt, Fayettte, Gillespie, Gregg, Guadalupe, Hays, Hood, Jackson, Marion, Milam, Mills, Orange, Robertson, Rockwall, Sabine, Somervell, Uvalde, and Wilson Counties)

Utah (Box Elder, Carbon, Daggett, Emery, Grand, Morgan, Sanpete, Tooele, Uintah, Utah, Wasatch, and Weber Counties)

Vermont (Lamoille County)

Virginia (Ameilia, Brunswick, Chesterfield, Dinwiddie, Isle of Wight, Middlesex, Powhatan, Prince George, and Southampton Counties)

Washington (Adams, Asotin, Benton, Chelan, Cowlitz, Garfield, Lewis, Lincoln, Pond Oreille, Skagit, Spokane, Stevens, and Yakima Counties)

West Virginia (Gilmer, Grant, Lincoln, Marion, Mineral, Monroe, Pendleton, Pocahontas, Putnam, Randolph, Ritchie, Roane, and Taylor Counties)

Wisconsin (Barron, Buffalo, Chippewa, Clark, Douglas, Dunn, Eau Claire, Grant, Jackson, LaCross, Marathon, Monroe, Oneida, Pepin, and Polk Counties)

Wyoming (Goshen, Laramie, Lincoln, Park, Platte, and Sweetwater Counties)

7. Directories of Churches and Religious Organizations

Arizona Iowa Oregon
Arkansas Louisiana Rhode Island
California Maine Tennessee
Delaware Michigan Utah
District of Columbia Minnesota Vermont
Florida Montana Wisconsin
Idaho New Jersey Wyoming
Illinois New Mexico  
Indiana Oklahoma  

8. Church Records and Archives

Alabama Massachusetts North Dakota
Arizona Michigan Ohio
Arkansas Minnesota Oklahoma
California  (Northern) Mississippi Pennsylvania
Colorado Missouri Rhode Island
Connecticut Montana Tennessee
Delaware Nevada Utah
District of Columbia Nebraska Vermont
Florida New Hampshire Washington
Georgia New Jersey West Virginia
Illinois New York City Wisconsin
Louisiana New York State Wyoming
Maryland North Carolina  

9. Microfilmed Records and Archives

A = Apprentice Records M = Marriages

B = Births S = Slave Registers

I = Immigration T = Tax Lists

L = Land or Deeds W = Wills or Probates

Indiana Allen County Rolls 61 - 64 BLMW

Clark County Rolls 17 - 19, 58 BIW

Dearborn County Rolls 54 - 57 BLM

Floyd County Rolls 13 - 16 BM

Franklin County Rolls 48 - 53 ALMW

Gibson County Rolls 34 - 37 BMW

Harrison County Rolls 7 - 12 BMW

Jefferson County Rolls 20 - 24 BLMTW

Jennings County Rolls 25 - 27 BLMW

Knox County Rolls 28 - 33, 65 BLMSW

Perry County Rolls 59 - 60 LM

Posey County Rolls 38 - 40 BLMW

Scott County Rolls 1 & 2 BLMW

Spencer County Rolls 46 - 47 MW

Warrick County Rolls 41 - 46 BLMW

Washington County Rolls 3 - 6 LMW

Louisiana State: 1911 - 1941 B

New Orleans 1847 - 1901 B

New Jersey Feb 1852 I

1666 - 1786 L

1851 - 1873 I (minors)

Again, this is not a complete list of WPA holdings, but I think the above should give you some areas that are ripe for research. As you can see, some states have a waterfall of information while others a mere trickle.

In conclusion, I've added some websites where you can find WPA information.

WPA-Related Sites


African American

And here is a State-by-State listing (sorry, not all states were found):

  • Alabama

WPA Life Histories, Alabama
WPA Life Histories from Alabama

  • Arizona

Arizona WPA Records, by Jeannie Rogers
Arizona WPA Interview Records

Arizona Territorial Census, 1864
(Ancestry subscriber database)

  • Colorado

WPA Photo Collection at the Colorado State Archives

  • Connecticut

WPA Life Histories, Connecticut
WPA Life Histories from Connecticut

  • Florida

WPA Life Histories, Florida
WPA Life Histories from Florida

  • Georgia

Work Progress Administration (WPA) projects in Georgia

  • Illinois

Illinois Historical Records Survey of the Works Projects Administration Record Group 954.00

  • Indiana

Indiana WPA Indices
(Tri-State Genealogical Society)

Cass County, Indiana WPA Birth Record Index for 1882-1920

  • Louisiana

New Orleans Public Library, WPA Photograph Collection, Louisiana Division

  • Maine

WPA Life Histories, Maine
WPA Life Histories from Maine

  • Massachusetts

WPA Life Histories, Massachusetts
WPA Life Histories from Massachusetts

  • Minnesota

Index to Rochester, MN newspapers (1859-1912)
(Olmsted County Historical Society)

  • Missouri

WPA Guide to the "Show Me" State
(Publication for sale)

  • Montana

Montana State University Libraries, Merrill G. Burlingame Special Collections WPA records, 1935-1942

WPA Print Collection, University of Montana/Missoula

  • Nebraska

WPA Life Histories, Nebraska
WPA Life Histories from Nebraska

  • New Hampshire

Works Project Administration: Historic American Buildings Survey of New Hampshire Papers, 1935-1941 (MC 33), Index of Names of People and Places

  • New Mexico

WPA Life Histories, New Mexico
WPA Life Histories from New Mexico

  • New York

WPA Life Histories, New York
WPA Life Histories from New York

  • North Carolina

WPA Life Histories, North Carolina
WPA Life Histories from North Carolina

  • Oregon

WPA Life Histories, Oregon
WPA Life Histories from Oregon

  • Rhode Island

WPA Life Histories, Rhode Island
WPA Life Histories from Rhode Island

  • South Carolina

WPA Life Histories, South Carolina
WPA Life Histories from South Carolina

  • Texas

WPA Life Histories, Texas
WPA Life Histories from Texas

  • Utah

Works Progress Administration Collection, J. Willard Marriott Library, University of Utah

Inventory of the WPA Collection at the Utah State Historical Society

  • Vermont

WPA Life Histories, Vermont
WPA Life Histories from Vermont

  • Virginia

Virginia WPA Life Histories

Petersburg Public Library Newspaper Index

  • Washington

WPA Life Histories, Washington
WPA Life Histories from Washington

  • Wisconsin

WPA Life Histories, Wisconsin
WPA Life Histories from Wisconsin

OK, there you have it! I hope you will enjoy researching the records of the WPA.

Happy Dae.

Source Information: GenWeekly, New Providence, NJ, USA: Genealogy Today LLC, 2005.

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Genealogy Today LLC.

*Effective May 2010, GenWeekly articles that are more than five years old no longer require a subscription for full access.

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