For assistance, contact the Information Desk at 269-673-4625 or fill out the form found here: Genealogy and Local History Research Request Form.
Allegan District Library Local History Collection has a wide variety of materials.
Please note: All of the materials in the Local History Department are non-circulating.
Major categories of the ADL collection:
Allegan County Videos:
Videos are on the City of Allegan and Allegan County produced by two local historians. Can be used in the library.
Atlases & Maps:
Maps focusing mainly on the City of Allegan, Allegan County and surrounding counties. Some of the maps are found in atlases and plat books, while others are individual maps.
Over 20 notebooks of records from Allegan County’s 85+ cemeteries are arranged by township, then A-Z by cemetery name; maps & driving directions are given for each; an on-going process.
Census Records – also Ancestry, Heritage Quest:
The complete Allegan County Federal Census Records for 1850, 1860, 1870, 1880, 1900, 1910, 1920, 1930 are available on microfilm. Other census records are available, some are indexed.
City/County; Telephone & Cross-Listings Directories:
Includes 4 city/county directories for Allegan, Douglas, Fennville, Holland, Hopkins, Otsego, Plainwell, Saugatuck, Wayland & 120 cities; some of this is only available on microfilm. Telephone directories on microfilm are available for City of Allegan & other cities. Three other telephone directories cover other parts of Allegan County along with Holland, MI.
County & Local Histories:
ADL has many histories of Allegan and surrounding counties under number #s M 977.4, M 977.41, M 917.74. (M stands for Michigan collection.)
ADL family history files contain individual pieces of information about person(s) or families from the Allegan area or city.
House & Building Histories:
Includes the books “Sketches of early homes, churches, schools and residents of Allegan, Michigan” number M/M R977.414 SKET and “Fire? Fire? Fire?” published by the Allegan County Historical Society number M628.9 GREE and M R 628.9 GREE.
Marriages, Births & Death/Obits Records:
Indexed deaths & marriages 1856-1888s from Allegan City newspapers; obits from 1978-2002; obit extracts 1916-22; necrologies (lists of people who have died) 1995-2005 – these are on microfilm; early marriages Allegan County.
Veterans and military service notebooks of Allegan Veterans, covering Civil War (including General Pritchard), Revolutionary and even the German P.O.W. Camp in Valley Township during World War II and other wars. Also have Grand Rapids MI Solider’s Home Obits 1899-1938 indexed. Some records are online lists. These records can be found under 973 VETE.
Miscellaneous and Other Histories
These histories and records include items like
- “Ghost Towns & Ghosts”, and “All Aboard for the Allegan County Fair”
- even records from Michigan Daughters of the American Revolution
- Michigan’s Centennial Farm Heritage
- pioneer recollections and
- indexes to Naturalization Records in the State Archives of Michigan
This is a varied collection of books and records.
- Microfilmed Allegan City newspapers, 1856-1999; indexed; we are missing 1867, 1870, 1871 and many other issues;
- Penasee Globe, 1997-2002 (NE Allegan County: Wayland, Moline, Hopkins, Martin, Salem): digitized on Genealogy computer
- Wayland High school – 1954 yearbook; Notebook with 1910 9th Grade Class yearbook
- 1913 Allegan High School Yearbook with photos
- 1945 Allegan High School Commencement program with class list
- Allegan High School Echos 1939-1984, 1986-198, 1989-2004, missing 1985, 1988
- Allegan Junior Hi-Lites 1961, 1964, 1967, 1969-1978, 1983, 1985, 1987-1989, 1992-1996, 1998, 2001-2004, missing 1962-1963, 1965-1966, 1968, 1979-1982, 1990-1991, 1997, 1999-2000, 2005-2011
New as of Spring 2015 The Allegan High School Yearbooks (Echo) from 1939 to 2013 have been digitized and are back at the library. We still are missing Echos prior to 1939 and for 1985 and 1988. We welcome donations of these yearbooks to add to our collection, or loan of these to scan into our files. (Digitization was done under a grant by the Oklahoma Correctional Institution, who paid shipping both ways and digitized the books for free, providing ADL with a free DVD copy of the yearbooks.)
Please note: check the local history & genealogy shelves for more. We add or index something new nearly every week.
Major Local History/Genealogy Sites we use at the Allegan District Library:
Ancestry Library Edition
Free in library use only; Ancestry.com is the pay site. Every US census indexed; databases; plus many Ancestry.com resources.
www.FamilySearch.org – free use anywhere you have internet access.
Heritage Quest – free from home – on our website, click Resources, drop down menu-Mel Databases, and the tab “Genealogy” (listed under MeL subject gateways located on the left hand side of the web page), then Heritage Quest:
- U.S. Census records – useful for sorting when you know the age or location of a person, and are searching through many common names; can sort by given name, year, state, age, county, sex, state, birthplace, location; sometimes HQ images are better than those on Ancestry; not all years are indexed (1790, 1800, 1810, 1820, (1830, 1840, 1850 not indexed), 1860, 1870, 1880, 1900, 1910, 1920, (1930 & 1940 only partially indexed as of October 2013) are indexed. Unlike Anextry, there are no suggested other sites, and no state census records.
- Books – nearly 30 thousand family & local histories, many complete & page images
- Persi Archive – 2-3 million genealogy & location history articles, 1800-2009; index only
- Freedman’s Bank – (1865-1874) bank records of African Americans, lot of family information
- U.S. Serial Set – memorials, pensions, petitions, private relief actions of U.S. Congress
On our website under Menu tab “Research/Mel databases” will open and then you can access genealogy databases under “Michigana” and the links listed on the left hand side of the web page.
Please note: If patrons wish to directly access Michigan Electronic Library website (MEL.org) apart from using our website for access, you will need to use your Michigan driver’s license number to do so.