Skip to Main Content

Genealogy at William & Mary Libraries

An overview of genealogical resources available at W&M Libraries.

Visiting Special Collections Research Center

The Special Collections Research Center (SCRC) is located on the first floor of Swem Library and houses the university archives, rare books, manuscripts and other materials that require special care and storage. Their holdings include numerous primary source materials such as local church records, family papers, correspondence, diaries, ledgers, scrapbooks, legal documents, photographs, and more. The SCRC’s collections focus largely on Williamsburg and Virginia and will be most relevant to genealogists working on ancestors in those areas.

Researchers visiting the SCRC must register for access to view material in person and are welcome to register online before arriving.

You are encouraged to search their collections search tools, utilize their research tips, and check their hours before you plan your visit.

Research Approaches and Requesting Material

When searching SCRC search tools, keyword searching is useful. Most SCRC materials are cataloged at box-level, not item-level, and do not contain detailed inventories. So determining the relevance of a box might mean looking through lots of material before you find what you are looking for. Some ideas for searching include:

  • Family names
  • Collateral family names
  • Individual names
  • Location names
  • Topic (e.g. religion, event, ethnicity, etc.)
  • Object type (e.g. ledger, diary, map, etc.)

When you are ready to request materials, you can do so after registering for access. You will need to submit one request for each box (even if from the same collection) but you can request multiple folders from each box using just one form. Include Title of Collection, Collection ID (Mss or UA), Box Number, Folder Number, and Folder Title. Ask for assistance if you’re unsure of what to do.