The library of the Virginia Historical Society maintains an extensive collection of published books and journals, manuscripts, rare books and Confederate imprints, maps, broadsides, and sheet music related to the history and culture of Virginia.
What resources are available at the VHS for genealogical researchers? What is not available?
Many genealogists consult our extensive collection of published genealogical materials while conducting genealogical research at the VHS. Others are interested in our manuscript collections, which contain genealogical notes, family trees, and Bible records.
The VHS does NOT have many of the official records sought by genealogists.
How can I view items listed in the VHS online catalog?
Library materials may be examined in the reading room only. An appointment or prior notification is not needed. Researchers will need to complete a brief registration form. Also, some form of valid government-issued identification (license, passport, identification card) must be presented and photocopied for our records. The collections cannot be viewed without valid identification.
Please note: Library books and manuscripts are NOT available in a digital format.
What should I do if I am unable to find an item or subject in the catalog?
It is important to try several techniques and searches before assuming the item you are searching for is not part of the VHS collections. Trying a keyword search is often quite helpful. Please remember that the catalog is NOT a database of names and places, but rather an index and guide to the titles and numerous subjects included in our collection. Furthermore, VHS library staff are constantly adding new records to the online catalog, as well as converting our existing card catalog to a web-based index. If assistance is needed regarding searching, please contact the reference staff, or call the VHS library at 804.342.9677, Monday through Saturday from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. EST to speak directly with a reference librarian.
Frances Pollard, Vice President for Research Services