Skip to main content

Family History

2022 LM For Public Family History Hero Image Reading Map
Library Of Michigan

Family History


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 Recordings

Recordings of the Library of Michigan's 2021 Family History Virtual Series sessions

2022 Programs

Interested in learning more? Visit Programs for the Public to view the 2022 schedule of virtual and in-person programs.

Family History Resources

Michigan genealogical societies and professional genealogists will provide genealogical research services for a fee.

Michigan Genealogy Research Network

View family pedigrees compiled for Michigan governors.

American Ancestors of Michigan Governors

FamilySearch is a nonprofit organization and website offering family history records, including several Michigan collections. Access is free, but users are required to create an account. The FamilySearch Research Wiki is an invaluable tool for researchers.

A listing of Michigan genealogical and historical societies, contact information, and links to their sites.

Michigan Genealogical Council: Local Societies

A freely available website founded by the Library of Michigan and the Archives of Michigan. Digital collections, including nearly 1 million Michigan death certificates (1897-1943) from the Library of Michigan's collection, state census records (1827- 1894), Civil War service records, and much more.


Family History/Newspaper Databases

The Library of Michigan subscribes to a number of online databases that are accessible for Library of Michigan library cardholders. To apply for a card, go to our online application form.

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. *No remote access. Must be at the Library of Michigan to use. 

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 Free Press Historical Newspaper, 1831-1999 (ProQuest)

168 years of news coverage

Detroit News Historical/Current MLive Publications (Newsbank)

Historical coverage of the Detroit News (1873 - 1999), as well as access to other selected papers from around the state, including all MLive-owned publications. Coverage of MLive publications ranges from 2002 - current. Learn more through database video tutorial.

Ethnic NewsWatch (ProQuest)

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.

Fold3 by Ancestry

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

The Globe and the Mail Historical Newspaper (ProQuest)

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

Grand Rapids Press Historical and Current Collection (Newsbank)

Enjoy greater access to the Grand Rapids Press!  Our new collection extends from 1893 to the current date.

HeritageHub (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 Chronicle Historical Newspaper, 1939-2010 (ProQuest)

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

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.


Newspapers dating from 1759 to 1977, including communities around the country. World Edition by Ancestry

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

Saginaw News Historical Archive, 1881-2018 (Newsbank)

Explore Saginaw history through local news, events and people with the Saginaw News. Collection covers from 1881-2018.

Sanborn Maps - Michigan, 1867-1970 (ProQuest)

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. An essential tool for brownfield remediation work, as well as genealogy and historical research.