Family History Month

October is Family History Month, which is a great time to start researching. Many people would like to try genealogy but have no idea where to begin. Although there is a lot to know about family tree research, here are a few important pointers:

  • Know which records will provide you with the information you are researching
  • Understand what records are available for the place and time period you’re researching 
  • Know where to look for the information you seek

To get started on your genealogy journey, try the following books:

The Everything Guide to Online Genealogy

The Family Tree Guide to DNA Testing and Genetic Genealogy

Evidence Explained

Organize your Genealogy

The Source

The Handybook for Genealogists

The library also offers the following online resources:

Ancestry Library Edition (in-library use only) – Search billions of census, vital, military and immigration records and more.  

MyHeritage Library Edition – A great place to start your research for vital records. 

Sanborn Fire Insurance Maps – Historic fire insurance maps. 

In addition to the library's online resources, these databases and websites include a wealth of vital records.

Cyndi's List – An extensive list of all things genealogy.

FamilySearch – The genealogy site of the Church of Jesus Christ of the Latter-Day Saints offers records as well as research.  

Find a Grave – This site features millions of uploaded pictures of graves across the United States. 

National Archives – Offers resources, charts and forms, free databases, a variety of records, and tips and tools for researching.


Castle Garden Records – Records from 1830-1892.

Ellis Island Records – Records from 1892-1924.

Steve Morse One Step Webpages – Searches across a number of websites and databases. 

Maps & Land

Bureau of Land Management – Was your relative a homesteader? Find out here. 

Sanborn Fire Insurance Maps – Historic fire insurance maps. 


Canton Observer (1974- June 2019) – Brought to you by the Canton Public Library.

Chronicling America – Search America's historic newspaper pages from 1777-1963, or use the U.S. Newspaper Directory to find information about American newspapers published between 1690 and the present.

Digital Michigan Newspaper Portal – Includes a number of digitized historical newspapers throughout the state of Michigan.

Michigan Genealogy

Archives of Michigan – Located in the Michigan Library and Historical Center, the Archives preserves the records of Michigan government. 

Library of Michigan – The Library of Michigan is home to a great diversity of local historical materials including city and county histories, newspaper clippings, vital records, cemetery transcripts and plat maps. 

Michigan Department of Health and Human Services – Search historical death records. The Division of Vital Records and Health Statistics (DVRHS) provides internet access to information from archived death records through the Genealogical Death Indexing System (GENDIS). This system allows the user to search for records using key pieces of information such as the decedent's name, father's last name and year of death.

Michiganology – The online platform of the Archives of Michigan includes research guides and indexes, as well as access to more than three million state and local government records, private manuscripts, maps and photographs.