Although I have had very little opportunity to visit a lot of state and local archives, I know that they have much to offer researchers. I recently worked on a case where checking the state archives website really paid off. The name I was looking for was pretty common so I didn't do a very thorough search of the Family History Library Catalog for family histories for this family. I figured I would have to weed through a ton of them and it would waste a lot of valuable time for the client. Besides that, so many of them are not documented that it really wouldn't prove anything.
The case I was working on was for a returning client and so I knew from my previous research that there was an item of interest at the Georgia State Archives that looked like it dealt with this family. I found this on an old catalog listing that had been microfilmed and was at the Family History Library. Before preparing a letter to request copies of the desired document, I decided to check their online catalog to see if there were any other items that I should request. While there I found a book that seemed to be written about the family I was researching. I jotted down the name of the author and the title and did a quick check of the Family History Library Catalog and lo and behold it was there.
This family history book was a well-documented family history about the family. It was written by a guy with a Ph.D. and he cited throughout the book the documents he used to prove the lineage. It took the family back three more generations. I know my client will be happy. It was also a great book to read for those struggling to prove lineages during the 1700s. Because he cited his sources and his conclusions and discussed his methodology, I really learned a lot.
It was a good research week!