Local History & Genealogy

The Local History Research Room (LHRR) offers a quiet place to explore unique local topics and offers several local historical materials. The LHRR houses a variety of resources such as newspaper files, special collections, pamphlets/guides, and other books pertaining to the local area. All the materials in the LHRR are geared towards history buffs, students, scholars, genealogists, and journalists.

Please note, the LHRR is currently closed to walk-in/public traffic. The Reference Staff is glad to pull any files or materials for patrons anytime the library is open. If your research requires study in the LHRR, please contact the Reference Desk at refdesk@pwpl.info. 


Local History Collections

  • Bennett Collection
  • City Directories
  • Local Documents
  • Local history subject index
  • Local history people index
  • Local history historical highlights
  • Map Collection
  • Marquette Area Yearbooks
  • Marquette Maritime Collection
  • Marquette Monthly Collection
  • McClintock Darter-Dace Naval Collection
  • Michigan Nonfiction
  • Michigan Reference Collection
  • Microfilm Collection which includes The Mining Journal from 1868 to 2019
  • Plat Books
  • Polk City Directories
  • Shiras Collection
  • Weather Records
  • Wesley Perron Railroad Collection

*As of 8/9/22 the Marquette County Genealogy Society collection is no longer housed at the Peter White Public Library. For information on this collection, please contact MCGS https://lakesuperiorroots.org/ or by email: marquettecountymigeniesociety@gmail.com

Genealogy Resources

PWPL houses several forms of genealogy resources, including a circulating collection of genealogy books, the PWPL Genealogy reference collection, a microfilm collection, and a Local History Research Room. All materials are available to the general public for onsite use.

For obituary requests, please see our research services page.

Online Tools for Local History & Genealogy

Below are online tools provided to library patrons. Some online resources will require a library card barcode and PIN to receive access from home. 

Ancestry Library Edition: has approximately 4,000 databases including key collections such as U.S. Federal Census Images and indexes from 1790 to 1950; the Map Center containing more than 1,000 historical maps; Daughters of the American Revolution Lineage (over 150 volumes);  Social Security Death Index (updated monthly); military records from WWI, WWII, and the Civil War.

Please note, due to Ancestry Library Edition restrictions, access to this resource is only available at PWPL. It cannot be accessed from your home.

Cloverland Archives: Provides digital access to the Cloverland Magazine, a publication that was used to promote the UP for tourism, development, and agriculture from 1916-1923.

FamilySearch Affiliate Library: PWPL recently became a FamilySearch Affiliate Library. As an Affiliate Library, we have access to over 2 billion digitized records, including 400 million images that are currently not available to the public outside of a FamilySearch Affiliate Library or history center. This database is provided by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. Go to FamilySearch.org to create a free account.

Mining Journal Digital Collection: This collection consists of the Marquette Mining Journal from 1868 to 1966. The Mining Journal was a weekly paper until June 1884, when the new Mining Journal was launched. Weekly issues continued in addition to the daily papers until the end of 1885. This digitization initiative was started with the generous donations of Russ Magnaghi and Diane Kordich. Those interested in expanding this collection are encouraged to donate to PWPL Digitization. For more information or to donate to the project, contact PWPL Development Director, Heather Steltenpohl at heather@pwpl.info or by phone 906-226-4305. Donations can also be made here.

My Heritage - Library Edition: Family History/genealogy resource provided with the Michigan eLibrary (MEL) databases. This database contains more than 6 million historical records from the United States, Europe, Latin America, and other regions. It also contains:

  • The full USA Federal Census (1790-1940) with images
  • Census of England and Wales (1841-1901) with images​
  • More than 80 million historical photographs
  • Military records, immigration records, and passenger lists
  • Citizenship and naturalization records

Sanborn Maps:  Digital access to 1793 large-scale maps of 339 Michigan towns and cities, including Lansing, Detroit, Flint, Grand Rapids, Traverse City, and nine maps of the City of Marquette as it grew between 1884 and 1946.

Genealogy Websites


  • Ellis Island Foundation: This is a searchable database for passengers entering the United States through New York from 1820 - 1957.
  • Internet Archive: provides a collection of vital statistic records, parish records, census records, passenger lists, and other historical documents from state and regional sources. 
  • Library of Michigan Family History: The Library of Michigan offers a wide range of local history materials, such as city and county histories, newspaper clippings, vital records, cemetery transcripts, and plat maps. It also provides a link for further genealogical research. 
  • Michigan Memories: Provides access to collections from cultural institutions throughout the state of Michigan. These collections are created and maintained by archivists, librarians, and curators who are dedicated to the preservation of Michigan’s history and heritage.
  • Michiganology: Includes family histories, Civil War Service Records, and Library of Michigan death records from 1897-1920.
  • National Archives: Contains census records, military service records, immigration records, naturalization records, federal prison records, and additional resources, it also provides educational materials for genealogy research.

Research Questions?

For specific inquires on materials and collections, please contact the Reference Staff at (906) 226-4312 or (906) 226-4311 or by email at refdesk@pwpl.info


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