Genealogy & Local History

Genealogy & Local History Tracing family history can be challenging yet rewarding. Today it is both easier and more difficult because of the overabundance of information. Listed below are both print and Internet resources to help get you started on your genealogical research.

Explore your family's history with our online genealogy databases and resources. All you need is your library card.

Dig deeper into your history by visiting the Ohio Room located at EPLS West River. The Ohio Room's collection is a result of the Daughters of the American Revolution having donated its extensive collection to the Library at the close of World War II. The Ohio Room now houses thousands of materials that may help you with your research, including books, county histories, atlases, cemetery records, genealogical publications, local yearbooks, obituary indexes, and more. Access the microfilm reader in the Ohio Room as well. Items in the Ohio Room collection may only be used inside the Ohio Room and cannot be checked out.


Database Resources

Ancestry Library Edition | Trace your genealogy using historical records., census records; military records; court, land and probate records; vital and church records; directories; petitions for naturalization; passenger lists and more. You must be in the library to access this database. 

Cleveland Necrology File & News Index | Contains citations for local news stories, feature articles and reviews from The Plain Dealer, Cleveland Magazine, Northern Ohio Live, and Ohio Magazine. Obituaries from the Plain Dealer and the Cleveland Press are included from 1976 to the present.

Fold3 | A premier collection of historical U.S. military records that brings to life the details of America's military veterans with stories, photos, and personal documents.

HeritageQuest | A comprehensive treasury of American genealogical sources—rich in unique primary sources, local and family histories, convenient research guides, interactive census maps, and more.

Newspaper Archives | Newspaper Archive is the world's best resource for historical and genealogical information. Spanning more than 400 years, discover the past with this resource.

Sanborn Fire Insurance Maps | Search detailed of maps of U.S. cities and towns in the 19th and 20th centuries.

Recommended Resources & Websites

AfriGeneas: African American Genealogy | Site devoted to African American genealogy and researching African Ancestry in the Americas.

Family Search | Offers genealogical records, education, and software. You must create an account with Family Search. 

Find a Grave | Search more than 190 million memorials and gravesite collections.

Lorain County Cemeteries | Includes photographs and information on cemeteries and tombstones in Lorain County.

Lorain County Historical Society | LCHS collects, preserves, and shares the history of Lorain County. 

Lorain Historical Society | LHS (formerly Black River Historical Society) preserves the history of the City of Lorain.

Ohio Memory | Explore digital content from cultural heritage institutions representing all 88 of Ohio's counties covering from prehistory to present day. Site is a collaboration of Ohio History Connection and the State Library of Ohio.

Ohio Obituary Index | Includes an index to more than 3 million obituaries, death & marriage notices, and other sources from the 1810's to the present day. Sponsored by the Rutherford B. Hayes Presidential Library and Museums. 

Rootsweb |  A free genealogy community that uses online forums, mailing lists, and other resources to help people research their family history.

The Statue of Liberty—Ellis Island Foundation, Inc | Discover information about Ellis Island and the Statue of Liberty, including a portal for access to 65 million records of passengers arriving to the Port of New York from 1820 to 1957.

Western Reserve Historical Society | Search the WRHS collection documenting the history of Northeast Ohio, including museum objects, published materials, manuscripts, genealogical and family history, and historical properties.