Local History and Genealogy

News, comments, resources, and more.

Abundant Resources – For Now

When it comes to local history and genealogical research, we have always been fortunate here in Kalamazoo. We have many wonderful collections to draw on between KPL’s local history collection, WMU Archives, the Kalamazoo Valley Museum, and the holdings of many other local organizations that collect and preserve historical materials and make them available to the public. We are also lucky to be located within a few hours drive of several excellent large historical/genealogical collections: the Allen County Public Library in Fort Wayne, the Newberry Library and the Great Lakes Regional Branch of the National Archives both in Chicago, the Burton Collection at the Detroit Public Library, and the Library of Michigan in Lansing.

Sadly, one of these institutions is being threatened with closure and the dismantling of its collection. The Library of Michigan may be a victim of cost-cutting measures recently outlined by the Governor’s Executive Order No. 2009-36. If this takes effect, much of the Library’s holdings may end up at Michigan State University and the non-Michigan genealogy materials will be eliminated or dispersed to other institutions. Over the years, I have heard that the genealogy collection at the Library of Michigan is one of the ten largest collections in the country and it would be a tragedy to see it dispersed. However, genealogists are not letting it go without a fight. On August 5th genealogists from around Michigan (and probably other states) are assembling in Lansing to support the Library of Michigan and to show “legislators and fellow citizens that [they] care about our state's past.” They plan to meet at 9:45 at the State Capitol and later march over to the Michigan Historical Center to form “Hands Around the Library.” The event is being planned by the Michigan Genealogical Council and they invite all interested individuals to join them.


Library of Michigan
Beth T

How to use the Kalamazoo Gazette Index

For over 35 years, staff members from the Local History Room have been indexing the Kalamazoo Gazette.  This has been a wonderful contribution for genealogists, researchers and others just looking for information.  To use this valuable resource:

  • Go to www.kpl.gov   
  • Click on “catalog”
  • At the top of the page find “Local Information” and click on that link
  • Click on “Local Newspaper”
  • Then type the name or subject that you are researching

REMEMBER…what you are given is a citation. You will need to come to the Library and look at the Gazette on microfilm which can be found in the Tech Center.

If you need to find an article or obituary from a recent issue of the Gazette, talk to the staff in the Local History Room who will be more than happy to assist you.


Local Information Database
Lynn H

Baseball, the American Pastime

How appropriate that two of the new books in the Local History Room deal with a sport very popular now, namely baseball and more specifically, Detroit Tigers baseball. A Place for Summer by Richard Bak (H 796.357640977434  B166.1) deals with Tiger Stadium and includes some great photographs. The Detroit Tigers by William M. Anderson (H 796.357640977434 A5523 2008) is the fourth edition of a comprehensive look at the Tigers. The author also includes statistics on players he feels have been the Tigers’ best outfielders, pitchers, infielders and catchers.


The Detroit Tigers
Lynn H