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Genealogy Resources at Swem Library  

Last Updated: Aug 2, 2016 URL: Print Guide RSS UpdatesEmail Alerts

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Mary and Dennis Rebman Virginia Genealogy Resource Center

The College of William and Mary’s main library is named for librarian, Virginia historian, and amateur genealogist Earl Gregg Swem.  Supported by the generosity of the Rebman family of Atlanta, Swem Library was able to greatly expand its collection of print resources in family history and genealogy. 

This guide will help orient you to the resources, locations, and tools available in Swem Library for genealogical research.


Genealogy Research Checklist for Visiting Genealogists: A Basic Introduction to Swem Library’s Genealogy Resources


Visitor FAQs

Am I allowed to use the library?
Anyone is welcome to use, free of charge, the resources of Swem Library whenever the library is open.  We have many visitors who enjoy using the resources, including access to open stacks.

Can I get a library card?
Students and faculty at some neighboring academic libraries, William and Mary alumni, employees and members of certain local organizations, and patrons seeking to check out only government documents might quality for a free library card. Fee-based library cards are also available. For information, read the Visitor Library Privileges webpage or check with the Circulation Dept. (757-221-3072,

Can I expect research help when I visit Swem?
Swem Library has highly trained librarians to help you find answers to quick questions, search specialized databases, and get you started on your research. None, however, is a trained genealogist.

Will I be able to use your online research databases?
Yes. The College of William and Mary has access to many databases, such as and historical newspapers, that could help with your research. You will be able to use these on campus only. Because of licensing agreements, we cannot offer remote access to those outside the current William and Mary community.  If you do plan to use our research databases, we strongly recommend that you bring a flash/thumb drive with you to download information, since you will be unable to print.  

What about printing and photocopying?
Unfortunately, we are not able to allow printing for visitors from any computer workstation. However, in many cases, you will be able to email citations or documents to yourself. If you plan to do extensive research or think you will want to download information, please bring a flash/thumb drive with you.  Self-service photocopiers are available on each floor at ten cents per page. The Print Shop, located on the ground floor of the library, can also make copies for you.  We also have a scanner that is available to patrons to scan and email themselves documents free of charge.

Are there provisions for visitors with accessibility needs?
The library staff is committed to an environment that provides all persons full access to materials, services, programs, and activities, as library resources permit. Anyone who needs assistance locating and retrieving information or materials, including reading and interpreting the library catalog or using library equipment, can be sure library staff members are ready to help. See specifics on parking, entering and leaving the building, etc.

How do I get to Swem Library and where can I park?
For mapping purposes, Swem Library is located at 400 Landrum Drive, Williamsburg, VA 23185. Click here for directions.  During the week, visitor parking passes are $5.00 per day and are available from the Office of Parking and Transportation Services.  After receiving a pass, you may park in any open faculty/staff or student parking space that is not marked "reserved at all times."  On Friday after 5:00 and all day Saturday and Sunday, no pass is required.    

What are the hours of the library?
The hours for Swem Library and for the Special Collections Research Center change with the academic calendar. Before your visit, please check the Hours page.

Your Friendly Librarian

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Martha Higgins
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Subject Guide

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Jay Gaidmore
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Special Collections Research Center, Swem Library; 757-221-1775
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