Genealogy Resources

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Our Genealogy & Local History Collection

Named for the late local historian, The Sybil Wood McRay Genealogy & Local History Collection includes access to online resources like the Ancestry Plus database and Heritage Quest Online. 

  • Microfilm of Georgia census records from 1820 to 1940 (excluding 1890) and accompanying paper indexes or microfilm soundexes
  • Some paper indexes for North Carolina, South Carolina, Alabama, Virginia, and Tennessee censuses
  • Microfilm of local Hall County newspapers starting in the late 1800s through the current day (sporadically)
  • A strong collection of Georgia records, cemeteries, and histories
  • A Civil War Collection
  • An African-American Collection
  • A Native-American Collection

Physical resources are listed in the PINES searchable Catalog.


Help Identify Historic Hall County Photographs

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Please enter a comment if you can identify a person, place, date or event for posterity!

We are so grateful to Ellie Wingate for putting our library’s unidentified vintage photographs on Facebook as part of her Girl Scout Silver Award project. See the first 30 historic local images now. Ellie will add several more each week. These old-time scenes of Gainesville are undocumented and we need your help to caption them.


Create a “Free Account” at (The Hall County Library does not manage your FamilySearch user account.)

Work from your home computer, or to access the Affiliated (expanded) Level of resources, do your research at any one of our library branches. offers four levels of information access:
  1. Free information patrons may access from home or anywhere
  2. The Affiliated Level now available when you are in one of our library branches
  3. Information available only within an LDS Church Library
  4. Information available only within the Utah LDS Headquarters

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Ordering from Hall County Library's Two Historical Photograph Collections:

Hall County Historical Photograph Collection hosted by the Digital Library or Georgia may be found at

Hall County Black History Society Photograph Collection hosted by the Digital Library or Georgia may be found at

Most of our photographs are historical, from 1940s -1960s plus a few from earlier years.

Historic Photograph ORDER FORM and Information












Additional Resources:


About the Sybil Wood McRay Genealogy Collection

at the Hall County Library
Gainesville Branch

The Gainesville Branch of the Chestatee Regional Library System was originally dedicated on Sunday, February 8, 1970.  Fast forward fifty years to September 17, 2020, and the Hall County Library System celebrates the rededication of the newly renovated Gainesville Branch.  Yes, the name has changed but the building is in the same location at 127 Main Street, Gainesville, GA. 

Sitting Up with the Dead

Fulfill your dream of being locked in the library on Friday the 13th.
Research family history to your heart’s content!

The newly remodeled Sybil Wood McRay Genealogy & Local History Collection will be open to the public from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., so you can arrive early and stay until midnight. At 4:00 p.m. the library doors will close. If you plan to arrive after 4:00 p.m., please contact staff for details on getting in, as the building will be locked. The second floor will remain open until midnight for genealogists.
The cost is $13.00 per person.

The Sybil Wood McRay Genealogy & Local History Collection offers full online access to the Ancestry Library Edition Database which includes the Federal Census for the United States; Heritage Quest Online, and the ever-expanding Georgia’s Historic Newspapers Collection available through the Digital Library of Georgia.

Our newest database addition is MyHeritage Library Edition which features more than 9 billion historical records from the United States, Europe, Latin America, and other regions, Census of England and Wales (1841-1901) with images​, and more than 816 million US public records. Please visit the online catalog at to plan your search strategy.  Copies can be made of resources.  Staff will be available to assist you during the event on August13th.

The Hall County Library System is a FamilySearch affiliate library.  A major benefit of being an affiliate library is access to additional digital records not available outside a family history center or an affiliate library. These digital records include image and name indexes. Currently, there are more than 400 million original records available in a digital format that affiliate libraries can access.  We also have microfilm of local Hall County newspapers starting in the late 1800s through the present and cemetery records.

This event is not for beginners or the faint of heart!

Space is limited! Call 770-532-3311, ext. 4011 for more information.
Hall County Library ∙ 127 Main Street, NW ∙ Gainesville, GA 30501-3699 

Genealogy Event Payment and Registration

Print the Registration Form

Register Online

Pay Online

Or pay at any Hall County Library branch.