Reference and Research Services

The Georgia Historical Society is pleased to announce that the GHS Research Center in Savannah is now open. The Research Center hours of operation are Wednesday to Friday, 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. and the first and third Saturday of each month from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. We look forward to welcoming you to our new state-of-the-art facility.

If you wish to access archival material or rare books, research appointments are strongly recommended. To make an appointment, email the library at library@georgiahistory.com or telephone at 912.651.2128. Please note that we have very limited availability for archival appointments between May 9th and May 20th due to a visiting scholar program.

More information on the Research Center’s renovation is available at https://georgiahistory.com/renovation/.

Anyone with an interest in history, including scholars, students, genealogists, and the general public, is encouraged to research the Georgia Historical Society’s collections. The GHS Research Center is open to the public. Each researcher must present a valid government-issued photo ID upon each visit and complete a patron registration form once per calendar year.

  • Admission is free to members.
  • Non-members are assessed a $5 per day research fee, paid at the end of their visit.
  • No fees are assessed for patrons accessing public records only. Public records are defined as “documents, papers, letters, maps, books, tapes, photographs, computer based or generated information, or similar material prepared and maintained or received in the course of the operation of a public office or agency.” (Georgia Open Records Act Section 50-18-70 G)
  • Appointments for extensive research are encouraged for all patrons visiting the Research Center.
  • Appointments are required for groups of five or more and for those seeking in-depth, on-site service or instruction. (In-depth service or instruction is reserved for scholars or academics that require extensive reference staff assistance while researching for the intended purpose of publishing their work; fees may apply.)

Reference Assistance

GHS Research Center staff will conduct a reference interview and, if applicable, provide the researcher with relevant finding aids and/or database search results. It is up to the researcher to review the material and make selections. Restrictions on what can be retrieved may apply based on condition, donor restrictions, or other conservation issues. Researchers are assisted by the GHS reference staff for both reference inquiries and photocopy requests. Additionally, the Georgia Historical Society offers appointments for on-site group orientations to using Research Center resources.


Research Services

In addition to providing reference assistance to reading room patrons, the Georgia Historical Society also offers research services for patrons who are unable to visit the Research Center.

Please submit only one question at a time and wait for a response before submitting additional questions.

GHS reference librarians are able to provide a moderate amount of research as follows:

Ready Reference (Email and Telephone)

Ready reference questions are those that the Research Center staff can answer quickly using secondary sources easily at hand, including the Georgia Historical Society’s online catalog. These searches are free of charge, but are very limited in scope. Patrons may submit ready reference questions by telephone or email. If staff determines that a question is beyond the scope of the ready reference service, a formal written request is required and research fees apply.

Research Services Request

For a small fee, our reference staff are able to provide a moderate amount of research (up to an hour) for a prepaid fee. Research requests can be submitted via email or in writing using a Research Request form.

Fees:  Member / $20 per hour (Member No. required); Non-member / $40 per hour

  • All research requests are limited to one well-defined individual, topic, or question.
  • Genealogical research can be conducted under a research request once specific sources within the collection have been identified. You can identify relevant sources through our library catalog and our archival database. We also have helpful research guides that can provide further instruction. Once you identify the source you would like searched, please further specify the full name of the individual to be searched, the information in which you are interested, and relevant dates and locations.
  • A minimum of one hour will be charged for each request.
  • Research in excess of one hour will require pre-approval and will be billed in hourly increments. [Up to a limit of 4 hours].
  • Fees are non-refundable and search results are not guaranteed.
  • Pre-payment is required for research to commence.
  • Please allow up to four weeks for processing.
  • Rush service is available for a $25 flat fee. Please allow a two-week turnaround.
  • Up to 10 photocopies of materials will be included free of charge. Additional photocopies can be requested at cost to be determined by staff. Ask staff for current rates. Staff also reserve the right to deny photocopy requests based on condition of material and copyright concerns.
  • Photocopying is limited to 25 pages.

Genealogical Research

The Georgia Historical Society Research Center holds an extensive collection of material useful to genealogists and family researchers. Research Center resources include select vital, land, tax and military records, cemetery indices, and directories. Researchers will find a broad collection of resources for counties throughout Georgia and neighboring states, including histories, published abstracts, historical and genealogical journals, newspapers, and U.S. Censuses.

Search Research Center collections by country, city, or surname. See Additional Resources and Links for several helpful resource guides and other online resources that are useful for genealogists.