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Hunter Library
Research Guides
Western Carolina University


This guide lists and describes resources that can be used for genealogical research. Use the tabs to navigate.

Official Records in National and State Archives

Libraries and Other Resources

Visiting archives and genealogy societies

You may find that you have to take a road trip to an archive, regional library, or local genealogy society.  Don't just drop in and give them your family name, do some homework beforehand. The more information you have in hand, the better they can help you. Here's what you need have handy:

  1. The hours of the place you are visiting!  For instance, few local historical or genealogy societies are open late in the evening.  This information will be on the institution's website, but it pays to call ahead. Let the person know you are a student working on a project that is time sensitive.  
  2. An idea of what you are looking for (e.g., the local newspapers or land records).  Check with the institution to see if they have the date ranges that you need. For example, many public libraries do not keep historical archives of the local paper because they can't afford to have them put on microfilm.
  3. As many names, dates, and places you can gather beforehand. For example, if you are looking for an obituary, you need to know when the person died.  Most local newspapers are not indexed.
  4. Cash, preferably in quarters for copying, printing, etc.