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Genealogical Resources October 10, 2016

Posted by Rob Gray in Uncategorized.


Courtesy of the Kalamazoo Valley Genealogical Society

KALAMAZOO PUBLIC LIBRARY (Main Branch), 334 S. Rose St., Kalamazoo, Phone #553-7808 Website: www.kpl.org Wonderful collection of basic genealogical resources; also census records, Kalamazoo County vital records, and online, an index to the Kalamazoo Gazette (not complete). Check their website under GENEALOGY for their available resources. Free access to AncestryPlus (essentially ancestry.com but is the library version).

PORTAGE PUBLIC LIBRARY, 300 Library Ln., Portage, Phone #329-4544 Website: pdl.lib.mi.us Special holdings of the Heritage Room include “how-to” books, Civil War histories, books on Native American research and many unique documents relevant to the Portage and Kalamazoo area. Free access to AncestryPlus.

KALAMAZOO FAMILY HISTORY CENTER (LDS), 1112 N. Drake Rd., Kalamazoo, Phone #342-1906 SUGGESTION: Call ahead to make sure they are open. A branch library of the Family History Center in Salt Lake City, the largest genealogical library in the world. You can order microfilm from the main library for a small fee. Anyone can use this library. (You can also access their records through their website of www.familysearch.org.)

ZHANG LEGACY CENTER, WMU ARCHIVES AND REGIONAL HISTORY COLLECTION, 1650 Oakland Dr., Kalamazoo, Phone #387-8490 or 387-8497 Website: www.wmich.edu/collections/archives Hours of operation coincide with their semester scheduling. Suggestion: Call before going. There is handicap accessibility. The Archive contains genealogical and historical items which pertain to most states and many foreign countries. It is a state repository for official records of 12 counties in southwest Michigan. Records from county, township, city and village governmental agencies are on deposit here. Also, census records, maps/atlases, “how-to” texts, city directories, photographs, family histories and church and cemetery records. Free access to AncestryPlus, genealogy.com and the on-line databases of the New England Historic and Genealogical Society.

VAN BUREN DISTRICT LIBRARY (WEBSTER MEMORIAL LIBRARY), 200 N. Phelps St., Decatur, Phone #269-423-4771 Website: www.vbdl.org Extensive vital records for Allegan, Berrien, Cass, Kalamazoo and Van Buren counties, SW Michigan Military Registry, Bess Britton One-Room Schoolhouse Collection, large photograph file and card file of newspaper records, census, newspaper collections, Van Buren Co. Pioneer Certificate Applications, large collection of basic genealogical texts from almost every state.

KALAMAZOO COUNTY CLERK AND REGISTER OF DEEDS, 201 W. Kalamazoo Ave., Kalamazoo, Phone #383-8840 Located in the County Building, across from McDonald’s, near the train station. Kalamazoo County vital records and military discharges. Call ahead to make sure a genealogy volunteer will be there.

KALAMAZOO PROBATE COURT, 150 E. Crosstown Pkwy., Kalamazoo, Phone #383-8666 Wills, estates, adoptions, commitments to State Hospital, all indexed, dating from 1830s.

KALAMAZOO COUNTY CIRCUIT COURT, 227 W. Michigan Ave., Kalamazoo, Phone #383-8838 Naturalizations, divorces, civil and criminal actions. Naturalizations available at WMU Archives on microfilm.


LIBRARY OF MICHIGAN, 702 W. Kalamazoo St., Lansing, Phone #(517) 373-1300. Hours: 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., Monday thru Friday and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturdays (except certain holidays) The library has an excellent collection pertaining to the State of Michigan. On their website (under GENEALOGY) are many guides and forms which might be helpful to do your research. They have a very large collection on microfilm of newspapers not limited to Michigan. The website www.michigan.gov/libraryofmichigan.

STATE OF MICHIGAN ARCHIVES, 702 W. Kalamazoo St., Lansing, Phone #(517) 373-3559. Research Hours: 1-5 p.m., Monday thru Friday and 10-4 on Saturdays. The archives has materials related to Michigan and to other states. (You will need to make sure you have your Michigan driver’s license on your first visit. You will have your picture taken and will be issued a card to be used for future visits.) The library and the archives are housed in the same building. The website is www.michigan.gov/archivesofmi.

ALLEN COUNTY PUBLIC LIBRARY, Fort Wayne, Indiana–second largest genealogical library in the world. It is about a 2 1/2 hour drive and well worth it. Records for every state, all census and immigration records. The website www.acpl.lib.in.us. Direct access to their genealogy website is http://genealogycenter.org. (This website has many databases you can access at home.)

GRAND RAPIDS PUBLIC LIBRARY–the second largest collection of local and family history materials in Michigan. Not limited to Michigan sources, great basic materials for every state. The website is: http://grpl.org. Search for GENEALOGY and through there are many many links to websites to further your research.

Smaller Libraries–DO NOT FORGET the smaller local libraries, which may hold photographs, diaries, scrapbooks, cemetery records and who know what other treasures!

 Here are other links noted during the meeting:








Genealogy Software:


PC Magazine

Most software has a FREE version that will cover the important functions. Save your money until and if you outgrow the free version.


Brothers Keeper


Roots Magic



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