Ladson Genealogical Library Information

In the small southeastern Georgia town of Vidalia, is an incredible treasure of national importance: a library containing an extensive and valuable collection of genealogical materials - The Ladson Genealogical Library.

The collection comprises more than 30,000 books and pamphlets as well as manuscripts, periodicals, and microfilm, covering state and county histories, marriage and death records, census and church records, Confederate rosters, individual biographies, family histories, genealogical periodicals, and materials on heraldry.  The library is a branch of the Vidalia-Toombs County Library, partof the Ohoopee Regional Library System.


Mission     History      Holdings      Collection Development      Gifts & Donations      Policies      Catalog



General Information      Location & Hours      Directions     News     FAQs      Research Assistance









The mission of the Ladson Genealogical Library is to collect and ensure the preservation and accessibility of genealogical, biographical and historical information, and to inform and assist the public in the use of the available resources.



The collection originated in the 1940s with John E. "Jack" Ladson, Jr. and his desire to learn more about his family.  In 1979, Mr. Ladson's personal library and private collection finally outgrew his own home, and the materials were made available to the public through the establishment of The John E. Ladson, Jr. Historical and Genealogical Foundation. By agreement, the materials were provided and housed by the Foundation; staff of the Vidalia-Toombs County Library cataloged the collection and operated the library.

Upon the death of Jack Ladson in December 1999, the collection became the property of the Ohoopee Regional Library System. The library system continues to operate and expand the library and its collection with the support of the City Council of Vidalia and the Toombs County Commission.  



Significant manuscript collections contained in the library are the Leonardo Andrea Collection of South Carolina; Annie Laurie Hill's notes on the Halls, McKinney, Popes and Exums of Wilkes County, Georgia; the Pauline Young Collection; the files of Mrs. Eugene A. Stanley of Savannah and the collection of Mrs. Martha Ann de l'Etoile of Griffin, Georgia. Special collections include the Kitty Ware Wade Collection of historic photographs and early 20th century primary school records of Toombs and Montgomery Counties (GA).

Masonic Temple and Darby Bank Building, Vidalia, GA, 1947

Northeast Corner of Church & Meadows Streets

A postcard from the Kitty Ware Wade Collection of historic photographs


Collection Development  

The library collects materials, primarily books and microfilm, with a focus on genealogy, local history, the history and settlement of Georgia, the southeastern United States, and the Eastern Seaboard, although materials on other areas that are of interest may be acquired. 



 Gifts and Donations  

Operating a special library of the quality of the Ladson is an extremely expensive project.  Local taxpayers cannot maintain the entire burden. Monetary donations are needed and gratefully accepted. Please send  your tax deductible donation to the Ladson Genealogical Library, c/o Vidalia-Toombs County Library, 610 Jackson Street, Vidalia, GA 30474.

In-kind donations of books, microfilm, materials and equipment are accepted. All materials become the property of the Ohoopee  Regional Library System and will be used for the betterment of the system. The Ohoopee Regional Library System makes every attempt to use the materials in the donated location, but the library does not accept materials with restrictions or conditions on use or placement. 

Manuscripts, personal and family papers, and individual research are accepted if they are of special interest to the area and arrangements can be made for the housing, indexing, and maintenance of the materials.  Photocopied materials or books, unless clear proof the permission of the copyright holder has been granted, are not accepted.  Obtaining copyright permission is the responsibility of the donor.




All materials are non-circulating and may not leave the library. Photocopying service is available at a nominal fee. The library staff will furnish guidance and assistance in-house, but research service, in person or by mail or telephone, is not available.




Information concerning the library's holdings is available online on the PINES WebCAT, the Web-based Catalog of Georgia Library PINES. For more information concerning the collection and library policies please read the Ladson general information section below, and other information located on the website of the Ohoopee Regional Library System.



   General notes and information   


All materials are for reference and research use only.

There are no circulating items; materials are not available for Interlibrary Loan. The staff of the library provides assistance to patrons, in-house, in using the materials in the collection, but cannot do research. A copy machine is available and copies are $.25 per page. Researchers should be aware that certain items, because of fragility and/or rarity may not be photocopied.  These items may be noted in the catalog or may be identified at the time of use by library staff. 



The library is open Monday - Friday.

Operating hours are Monday through Thursday, 10:00 a.m. - 1:00 p.m. and 2:00 p.m. - 5:00 p.m. and Friday, 10:00am to 1:00pm 



The library is closed in observance of the following holidays:

January 1 (New Year's Day), third Monday in January (Martin Luther King Day), last Monday in May (Memorial Day), July 4 (Independence Day), first Monday in September (Labor Day), fourth Thursday and Friday in November (Thanksgiving Day & day after), December 24th, 25th, 26th (Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, & day after). Holidays occurring on a Sunday will be observed the following Monday. There may be other special holidays and closings according to system policy, need or emergency. Out-of-town patrons are encouraged to call ahead to confirm the library will be open.



The Ohoopee Regional Library System is a member of Georgia Library PINES.

The catalog of the Ladson Genealogy Library may be accessed online through the PINES WebCAT. A link is available at the homepage of the Ohoopee Regional Library System, or the PINES WebCAT at You may search by setting the drop down menu to Ohoopee Regional Library System or specifically to the Ladson collection, OHOOP-LADSON.

To further assist you in your genealogical research, the Ohoopee Regional Library System recommends that you use the PINES catalog to search the holdings of the many other excellent genealogical and local history collections in Georgia public libraries. Of special interest is the Genealogical & Historical Room of the Macon-Bibb County Libraries (MGRL) and the Ellen Payne Odum Genealogy Library at the Moultrie-Colquitt County Library (MCCLS).  To view genealogical and local history collections that may be of interest to you in other PINES libraries, use ALL as the search location  and you will search the entire PINES database of over 285 libraries in Georgia.


Computers with Internet access are available for word processing and research use.

Through GALILEO (Georgia Library Learning Online), access is available to patrons in-house to various genealogical research subscription services including AncestryPlus.  Word processing is available, however, family tree software is not compatible with the library's computers. Georgia residents must have a current, in good standing, Georgia Library PINES card. Out of state residents may use a limited temporary courtesy card.



Requests for information by telephone, mail, facsimile or electronic mail will be honored to the extent that they only require verifying library holdings and/or the contents of particular works.

NOTE:  There is a $10.00 minimum copy and mail charge; microcopies will be charged an additional $1.00 per citation.  Payment must be in advance and the request must include a self-addressed, stamped envelope.


The request must contain an exact citation --  what work and pages within the work must be specified-- and involve no additional research.  


Requests for photocopies of  pages of materials in the library's collection, including the indexes of particular works, will be honored if the work and particular pages are specified.  There is a limit of 10 pages per request. The library cannot copy entire works, even with multiple requests. Compliance with copyright laws is the responsibility of the patron. Patrons intending to use materials within a published work that were obtained from a manuscript or special collection located in the Ladson Genealogical Library should obtain written permission from the library and the work should contain the notation: "Obtained with permission from the collection of the Ladson Genealogical Library, Ohoopee Regional Library System, Vidalia, GA."  Obtaining  permission from authors or collectors is the responsibility of the patron.


Requests for copies of information found on microfilm, including census records, obituaries, wedding & birth announcements, or news items published in local newspapers should include the full names of the parties and the dates of the event. Census records requests must have the exact reference: county and page number (for 1790 through 1870) or county, ED, sheet, and line (for 1880, 1900, 1910, and 1920). No more than three (3) requests will be honored at a time. 


The Ladson Genealogical Library staff offers research strategies and assists the researcher in locating materials that will aid in their research. We are unable to perform in-depth research for patrons, either in-house or by remote request. Requests that involve searches through a variety of sources, or do not specific sources and citations are considered in-depth research.


All briefcases, laptop cases, packages, bags, coats, purses, etc. must be left at the front desk in the reception area.


Patrons must register before entering the library. Identification, consisting of either a valid Georgia Library PINES card or a current photo identification, will be required. See general library information page for requirements to obtain a PINES card and/or acceptable identification.


Cell phones and beepers must be turned off or placed on no-sound while users are in the library; all calls must be taken outside the library. 


Smoking or the use of tobacco products, food, and drink are not permitted in the library.


The Ladson Genealogical Library is a research library and the facility is separate from the Main Library. There is no youth area and there are no provisions or materials available for the entertainment and use of young children. 



 Location & Operating hours  

         Location address:                                           Mailing Address:           
         125 Church Street, Suite 104                          Ladson Genealogical Library
         Vidalia, Georgia 30474                                  c/o Vidalia-Toombs County Library
         Ph: (912) 537-8186                                        610 Jackson Street

                                                                             Vidalia, Georgia 30474          



Normal Operating Hours

are temporarily suspended due to staff shortages

Please call 912-537-9283 to arrange access to the Ladson Genealogical Library. We will do our best to schedule visits during normal operating hours
Monday -- Thursday 
10:00 a.m. -1:00 p.m.
2:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.



Visitors are encouraged to call ahead in order to confirm the library will be open.






Holidays Closed

Martin Luther King Day
Memorial Day
Independence Day
Labor Day
Thanksgiving Day
day after Thanksgiving
Christmas Eve
Christmas Day
day after Christmas


Other days as determined by emergency, need or system policy.


Holidays occurring on a Sunday will be observed the following Monday. The library will be closed on Saturday after holidays occurring on a Friday.





Travel & Directions 

Vidalia, Georgia, home of the famous Vidalia sweet onion,  is conveniently located 90 miles East of Macon and 90 miles West of Savannah; 13 miles south of I-16.


The library is located in historic downtown Vidalia.  Traveling West on Hwy 280 (First Street), turn left on Church Street; traveling East on Hwy 280 (First Street), turn left on Church Street. The building, 125 Church Street, is on the west side of the first block, and the library is the back suite, # 104.  Access to the library is available through the front entrance of the building, but Church Street parking is time-limited. The main entrance to the library is through the portico door on the back of the building, accessed by turning west on Meadows Street, the first intersection past the building, and going 1/2 block. The entrance is on the south side of the street.  There is convenient long term parking in the building lot at the corner of Meadows & Leader Street, and additional parking on the north side in Meadows Street park.  For a close-up street map of the area, click here.




 News & Events 


Effective, November 1, 2003, the library moved to its new quarters. The Board of Trustees of the Ohoopee Regional Library System extends thanks to former Governor Roy Barnes, Lt. Governor Mark Taylor, and the Georgia General Assembly; the Mayor and City Council of the City of Vidalia, the Toombs County Commission; the local GA legislative delegation including Senator Tommie Williams, Senator Jack Hill, Representative Greg Morris, Representative Terry Barnard, and also Representative Terry Coleman of Eastman. Special thanks are extended to the Ladson family for the donation of the building space and to the many organizations, businesses and individuals who donated time and funds toward the new furnishings and to assist in the move.  


 Frequently Asked Questions 


How do I get started doing my family history?

First talk to older family members and look in family Bibles, old letters or other records. Write down the dates and places of births, marriages, and deaths beginning with yourself and then your parents, grandparents, great grandparents and so on. Once you know some people  and can  put them at a certain time in a certain place you can then look for records in that area. See So You Want To Grow A Family Tree for more details.


Can you do my family history research for me?

The staff of the Ladson Genealogical Library will suggest beginning research methods and assist the researcher in locating materials in the library. The library staff is unable to perform in-depth research for patrons. We do offer suggested locations to view lists of independent researchers although this is not an endorsement by the Ladson Genealogical Library. See Research Assistance and Recommendations.

Examples of questions the library staff can answer:

►Whether we have a particular book, microfilm or specific family history in our collection.

►What materials are available in the library on a particular County, State or with a specific family name in the title or subject fields.

►General reference questions such as the address of a particular genealogical association, where other genealogical libraries in Georgia are located, or where to write for vital records.


Examples of questions the library staff cannot answer:

►Requests to search for a particular name or person in a book or on microfilm.

►Requests to look up a particular name or person in an online database.

►In-depth research on a family or area.


Can I find information about my ancestors on the Internet?

The Internet has thousands of sites containing genealogical information. However, be aware that most of the information you find on the Internet is on personal websites or posted by other genealogists who may not have been careful about checking records or facts. The Internet is a great way to find other genealogists with whom you can exchange information, but be sure to review and check the information you find online and follow reasonable safety guidelines for contacting others or giving them personal information. Remember that very few early records (before the 20th century) are scanned, indexed or available online, so be prepared to continue your search in libraries, archives, courthouses and other locations for primary material. For a list of selected online sites recommended by the library, see Research Assistance and Recommendations.


Do you have any materials on my family?

The library can look in our catalog to see what materials we have with the subject or title on a particular family name, such as Williams, or Moxley.  We cannot research to determine if your family is included in those materials, although within our photocopying guidelines we will copy and send to you the index of a work with your family name.  We also can look in our catalog to determine what we materials we have on a particular state, or if we have census materials for a particular time period.  See "Can you do my family history research for me?"


Can I check out the book on my family or can I get it on Interlibrary loan?

All materials are for reference and research use only. There are no circulating items; materials are not available for Interlibrary Loan.


I found a book on my family, the Wilkinson's of Tattnall County, in your catalog.  Will you look for my ancestor William Henry Williams in that book?

Within our photocopying guidelines the library will copy and send to you portions of the index of that particular book.  After reviewing those pages, you may decide that your ancestor is listed, if so, you may request other pages.  See Requests for information.


I am looking for information on the McMillan family in Georgia during the American Revolution.  What do you have I can use?

We cannot do research for you. You may check our online catalog for materials with the surname McMillan in either the title or subject, for items with the subject heading American Revolution, or covering the time span 1775-1780, and request copies of specific indexes, or within our photocopying guidelines, we will print the pages from our catalog and mail them to you. You will need to select the materials you might need to check, and again, within our guidelines, ask for copies of the indexes.  See Requests for Information for details on rates and procedures.


I believe I have a Georgia ancestor who fought for the Confederacy in the Civil War.  Can you find his military record for me?

We cannot do research for you. The Ladson Genealogical Library has many resources with information, such as the Index to Georgia Civil War Confederate Pension Files by Virgil D. White, and the Ancestor Roster of the United Daughters of the Confederacy, Georgia Division, the multi-volume set of The War of the Rebellion: a compilation of the official records of the Union and Confederate Armies, as well as records from individual counties in Georgia. You may check our online catalog for materials with Civil War, Confederate, or the surname of your ancestor in either the title or subject and request copies of specific indexes, or within our photocopying guidelines, we will print the pages from our catalog and mail them to you. You will need to select the materials you might need to check, and again, within our guidelines, ask for copies of indexes.  See Requests for Information for details on rates and procedures.

I am looking for the marriage record and/or the obituary of Steven Snipes of Toombs County, Georgia.  Can you find them and send me copies?

If you can provide us with dates, and more information, we may be able to assist you.  See Requests for information and Photocopying guidelines.


Why do you charge for photocopying and mailing?  Why do you require payment before sending the material?

Staff time, equipment maintenance, upkeep, and materials are expensive and must be paid by funds provided from local tax support.  The expense of your personal research should not be born by others.  The library does not have the funds to pay for copying, mailing, and staff time without being reimbursed, and unfortunately, many people do not honor their financial obligations. 


Can I use the scanner on my laptop computer rather than your photocopier?

Yes, under certain conditions. If your scanner does not press on the page, and, if the materials are not too rare or fragile to be handled.  It will be the decision of library staff on a case by case basis.


I have all the research I have done on my family, and I am moving.  I will no longer have room to store it. Can I give it to you?

We are always happy to obtain new information and materials. However, our storage space is limited, as well as limited staff time available for indexing and cataloging.  See Gifts and Donations for our guidelines.



   Research Assistance, Recommendations & Local information   

Recommended Web Links

Cyndi's List of Genealogical Sites

Digital Library of Georgia

Family Search

Georgia Department of Archives and History

National Archives


Social Security Death Index

Society of Georgia Archivists

Toombs-Montgomery Chamber of Commerce and Development Authority

US GenWeb Project
Vidalia, Georgia

Vidalia Area Convention and Visitors Bureau

Where to Write for Vital Records



Just getting started on your family search? Check out some helpful suggestions with our tip sheet, So You Want To Grow A Family Tree.  Also available in ADOBE format :   


Those persons needing research services are encouraged to consult a genealogy professional. 

The library cannot recommend a specific person, and placement on this list is not a recommendation, but suggested locations for checking are:






Copyright 2003

Ohoopee Regional Library System