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Genealogy Tip of the Week: Come Prepared

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Genealogy Tip of the Week

This week, I want to share a tip with you that not only applies at North Carolina Government and Heritage Library (GHL) and the State Archives of North Carolina, but any other research facility.

Preparing for your research trip is important and there are many ways to prepare:

  • Photo ID, such as a drivers license or state issued ID if you do not drive. At GHL, it’s not necessary to show ID to research in the room, but you must have ID to get in the building. Also, the State Archives of North Carolina requires a photo ID to do research in their collection.
  • Bring plenty of pencils with you – although pens are allowed at GHL, many archives, including the State Archives of North Carolina, do not. Be sure to have at least 1 good pencil with you that is comfortable to write with. Both GHL and the State Archives of North Carolina provide small 2″ pencils if needed, but they are not comfortable for writing more than a few words. It’s also important to remember not to use pencils as a place marker as doing that tends to leave marks in the books or documents you are perusing.
  • No food or drink in the research room and put cell phones on vibrate or turn them off. If using the cell phone is necessary, step out into the hall/foyer so other researchers are not bothered.
  • Backpacks, purses, and briefcases are not allowed in either the genealogy search room or the State Archives of North Carolina. We do provide lockers for patrons to put their bag in.
  • Portable/flatbed scanners are not allowed into some research facilities and they are not allowed here at GHL, but in many cases, you can take pictures.
  • Be sure to check the GHL website and State Archives of North Carolina website for hours, to see if there are any closings, and also to view the holiday calendar for the days we are closed. Some holidays such as Christmas and Thanksgiving, we may be closed on Saturday as well, depending on the day of the holiday, so you may want to call and find out. Websites can also direct you to parking information.
  • If the research facility you are visiting has a sign in sheet, please do sign it. Those sheets may be used for statistics, which is the case at GHL.

It’s also important to have a research plan or goal. If you’ve never been to the facility, a goal may be better since the material is new to you. Having a plan or goal allows genealogy staff at GHL help you better. If we know what you are looking for, we can direct you to the best resources. If you only have a general idea, that’s ok too.

If you are unsure if you can bring something into the research facility, do not hesitate to call. We look forward to assisting you at theĀ  GHL.

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