www.michigan.gov/familyhistory

Patrons working at the Library of Michigan
  • Family History Research at the Library of Michigan

    The Library of Michigan is home to a great diversity of local history materials, including: city and county histories, newspaper clippings, vital records, cemetery transcripts, and plat maps that can be accessed during the Library's business hours. A librarian on staff would be happy to find the materials right for you.

    Our County Guides provide a list of selected resources from our collections covering each Michigan county.

    The Library of Michigan is also a FamilySearch Affiliate Library. Affiliate libraries have privileges to limited-access FamilySearch databases. This material may be accessed on-site at the Library of Michigan.

    Contact the Archives of Michigan for information about their collections and services.

Family History Virtual Series

  • Virtual Family History Series

    The Library of Michigan Special Collections staff are offering a series of virtual programs through Zoom for anyone interested in enhancing their Family History research skills. All attendees are required to sign-up for the virtual presentation(s) they wish to attend through our online registration form.

    Introduction to Family History Research - June 3, 2021 - 6:30PM-7:30PM
    Learn the basics of researching your family's history through the collections of the Library of Michigan. Join us as we review through vital records, the census and other useful documents. Discover online resources for accessing family history material as well as search strategies for navigating both print and digital records.

    Family History Virtual Study Hall Session - July 1, 2021 - 6:30PM-7:30PM
    Join us for an informal review session to discuss material covered in the previous virtual program as well as to ask questions about other family history topics. 

    Ancestry.com Library Edition - August 5, 2021 - 6:30PM-7:30PM
    Ancestry.com Library Edition is a comprehensive family history database with access to a wide range of historical documents, images, and public records. Learn the process of navigating Ancestry.com's vast collection of records and other strategies as you enhance your family history research skills.

    Family History Virtual Study Hall - September 2, 2021 - 6:30PM-7:30PM
    Join us for an informal review session to discuss material covered in the previous virtual program as well as to ask questions about other family history topics. 

    MyHeritage Library Edition - October 7, 2021 - 6:30PM-7:30PM
    MyHeritage Library Edition is a family history database available through the Michigan eLibrary with access to a wide range of historical documents, images, and public records. Discover the fundamentals for navigating MyHeritage and learn key strategies for finding specific records within its collections.

    Family History Virtual Study Hall - November 4, 2021 - 6:30PM-7:30PM
    Join us for an informal review session to discuss material covered in the previous virtual program as well as to ask questions about other family history topics. 

    Online Newspaper Databases - December 2, 2021 - 6:30PM-7:30PM
    The Library of Michigan has one of the most comprehensive collections of Michigan newspapers. See examples of unique periodicals published in our state and learn strategies for navigating the various online collections of digitized Michigan news publications. 

    Family History Virtual Study Hall - January 6, 2022 - 6:30PM-7:30PM
    Join us for an informal review session to discuss material covered in the previous virtual program as well as to ask questions about other family history topics. 


    Formal sessions will be simulcast on the Library of Michigan's Facebook Page (Study Halls will not). All presentations are led by Community Engagement Librarian Adam Oster and Reference Librarian Matt Pacer. Please direct questions to Librarian@Michigan.gov and 517-335-1477.

  • Virtual Family History Series Recordings

    Recordings of Family History Virtual Series sessions:

Family History Resources

Family History Databases

  • Databases through the Library of Michigan

    The Library of Michigan offers a wide range of digital resources for family history researchers. Listed below are databases available for patrons with library cards from the Library of Michigan.

  • African American Biographical Database (Chadwyck-Healy)

    The largest Electronic Collection of Biographical Information on African Americans, spanning 1790-1950. Includes photographs and illustrations, and covers the famous to the everyday person. Information ranges from biographical profiles to full-text sketches.

  • Ancestry Library Edition

    Includes billions of records in census data, vital records, directories, photos, and more.

  • Ann Arbor News Historical and Current Collection (Newsbank)

    Dig deeper into the Ann Arbor News! Our new collection expands our access from 1923 to the current date.

  • Black Life in America (NewsBank)

    The experience and impact of African Americans as recorded by the news media, from 1704 through present day.

  • Black Thought and Culture (Alexander Street)

    Black Thought and Culture A landmark digital library of approximately 100,000 pages of non-fiction writings by major American black leaders and public figures covering 250 years of history. In addition standard works, it also includes previously inaccessible material, including letters, speeches, political leaflets, interviews, trial transcripts, and the like.

  • Detroit News Historical (1873-1999), MLive publications, and more (NewsBank)

    Access coverage of The Detroit News from 1873-1999 as well as other selected papers from around the state, including all MLive-owned publications from 2002-present.

  • Fold3 by Ancestry

    Access military records, including the stories, photos, and personal documents, of the men and women who served.

  • Grand Rapids Press Historical and Current Collection, 1893 - present (Newsbank)

    Digitized copies of The Grand Rapids Press, published out of Grand Rapids, Michigan. Browse or search full text from 1893 - present.

  • Heritage Hub (Newsbank)

    The premier collection of U.S. obituaries and death notices for in-depth biographical and genealogical research from 1824 - today. Includes deep coverage from all 50 states, hard-to-find content from the mid 1900's, and original obituary images.

  • Michigan Digital Sanborn Maps, 1867-1970

    Produced for over a century, Sanborn maps are large-scale plans of a city or town, drawn at a scale of 50 feet to an inch. They were created to assist fire insurance companies as they assessed the risk associated with insuring a particular property. The maps list street blocks and building numbers including numbers in use at the time the map was made and previous numbers.

  • Michigan History Magazine

    A popular history magazine with content useful to historians and genealogy researchers. Provided through the Michigan eLibrary.

  • MyHeritage Library Edition

    Family history/genealogy resource including more than 6 billion historical ​records from the United States, Europe, Latin America, and other regions. Provided through the Michigan eLibrary.

  • NewspaperArchive

    Newspapers dating from 1759 to 1977, including communities around the country.

  • Newspapers.com by Ancestry World Edition

    The largest online newspaper archive, covering 16,200+ newspapers from the 1700s–2000s, with millions of additional pages added every month

  • ProQuest Ethnic NewsWatch

    Full-text access to newspapers, magazines, and journals of the ethnic and minority press, providing researchers access to essential, often overlooked perspectives. The database now also contains Ethnic NewsWatch: A History, which provides historical coverage of Native American, African American, and Hispanic American periodicals from 1959-1989.

  • ProQuest Historical Newspapers: Detroit Free Press, 1831-1999

    168 years of news coverage from the Detroit Free Press.

  • ProQuest Historical Newspapers: Michigan Chronicle, 1936 - 2010

    Primary source material essential to the study of American history and African American culture, history, politics, and the arts. 

  • ProQuest Historical Newspapers: The Globe and Mail (Toronto)

    Digitized newspapers of Toronto, Canada that includes The Globe (1844-1936) and The Globe and Mail (1936-2017).