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Michigan State University

Genealogy and Local History Resources

Print Resources

1. Catalog

Finding Books in the MSU Libraries

To search for books in the MSU Libraries on a topic, you will need to use the library catalog. The catalog is a searchable listing of materials owned and located in the MSU Libraries, including: books, journals, government documents, microforms, videos/DVDs/CDs, etc.

When should I use the library catalog?

  • To find whether we own a specific book, including its location and call number
  • To browse for books on a topic
  • To find whether we subscribe to a specific magazine, journal, or newspaper

NOTE: You cannot use the library catalog to find individual articles within a magazine-you must use a periodical index for that.


2. General Genealogy

The library offers a number of general genealogy resources including:


3. County Histories

The Library has many county histories for Michian and some for other states and countries. Most can be found in Oversize Books and 3 East. Some examples are:


4. City Directories

The library has some city directories including for Lansing, East Lansing, and Michigan State University. 


5. Area History Books

Area History Books are books about specific areas. Some examples are:


6. Family History Books

The library has some books on family names including:


7. Maps and Atlases

The Map Library is located on 2 East.

  • Atlases and Plat Books

    There are county atlases that show rural land ownership and are popularly known as "plat books" or "plat atlases" though that usually isn't in the title. The best catalog search is [county name, county] and real property. You should limit the search to the Map Library in order to weed out records of things at the Library of Michigan. Example:

    Barry County and real property

    The Map Library has atlases for all counties of Michigan, usually one atlas every 3-5 years; with maybe 1-3 pre-1950 atlases for most counties. The atlases older than about 1930 are in Maps' Permanent Reserves and can be used with staff assistance.

  • Maps

    There are also a number of maps including:


8. Newspapers

Newspapers can be found electronically or on microfilm. Microfilm readers are found on 2 West.