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Genealogy Resources

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.

GPLS logo2Historical Gainesville City Directories

now freely available online!

ATLANTA — Georgia Public Library Service has digitized 5,500 pages of Gainesville city directories belonging to the Hall County Library System dating from 1882-1960. The 17 full-text searchable volumes are freely available in the Digital Library of Georgia.

Read more: Historical Gainesville city directories now freely available online (2)

Old GVL Photo300Help Identify Historic Hall County Photographs

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

LymanHall_hchp_0339Hall 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

hal1101936 Gainesville Tornado Video

Video Clips:


To view in the library use Flash Player with Intenet Explorer.

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. 

Read more: About the Sybil Wood McRay Collection