Search Local are posts covering the free digital collections available from libraries and archives in Michigan, Indiana, and Ohio. It is published twice monthly.
Named for President James Monroe, Monroe County, Michigan is located in the far southeastern corner of the state, bordering Ohio. The history of the area and its’ inhabitants is preserved at the Monroe County Library System Digital Collections.
The database is divided into fifteen categories, labeled at the site as anthologies. One of those anthologies, “Bedford Library Local History” contains twenty-five further groupings of historical material such as photos, videos, scrapbooks, and more, focused on Bedford Township and the surrounding area. There are more than 1,400 images available in the variety of picture collections featuring businesses, churches, families, schools, and much more.
Of particular interest to a Monroe County researcher, one of the other groupings in the Bedford anthology is the “Local History Collection Indexes.” Containing sixty-three indexes and covering several communities in the Monroe County area, record requests can be made through the Bedford Library:
- Bedford Area Cookbooks
- Methodist Church Records, 1865-1893
- Newcombe Family Scrapbooks Index
- Lambertville Cemetery Records of Transfer Papers of Lots, 1880-1901
- Lambertville Circuit and Methodist Episcopal Church Records 1841-1947
- LeClair Monument Records, 1982-1999
- South Whiteford & Silica Evangelical United Brethren Church Ledger Books, 1874-1975
- Samaria Methodist Episcopal Church, 1947-1968
- Farnham Funeral Home Records, 1921-2006
- Obituaries from Farnham Funeral Home, 1968-1989
- First Baptist Church Directory, 1969 & 1973
- Karcher (Cioroch) Funeral Home Records, 1969-1981
- Whiteford Circuit Record of Funerals, 1937-1945
- Whiteford Township Chattel Mortgages Index
Sylvania, OH (borders Bedford, MI)
- Reeb Funeral Home Records, 1983-1997
Another anthology at the Monroe County Library site, “Summerfield-Petersburg Branch Library” includes a Petersburg Area Schools Collection and the Petersburg Local History Collection, containing articles, historic documents, and photos specific to the town.
The “Trudy Urbani Local History Collection” anthology hosts seventeen collections amassed over forty years by a local Bedford Township researcher. Among the material is the “Samaria Heritage Trail Homes” collection of 171 images of homes located in Samaria, Michigan; six family photo albums with a total of 501 images; and 879 photos donated by members of the local community.
Monroe County was the site for the Battles of the River Raisin during the War of 1812.1 Given that, the Monroe County Library System Digital Collections hosts two anthologies specific to the War of 1812: the “Papers and Correspondence of the War of 1812” comprises seventy-five collections of original records relating to the War of 1812 and the “War of 1812” anthology contains ten primary source documents, books, and journals.
The Monroe County Library System Digital Collections can be easily browsed and searched. The search icon is located in the upper right corner of the home page. A keyword search box appears that should not be used since it searches materials from all the users of this content management system. Instead, click on the “advanced” hyperlink below the search box. When the Advanced Search interface opens, enter the keywords to search and make sure “Full Text” has a checkmark. Scroll down the search page to the final field, which should be “Module,” enter Monroe County Library System into the box, and click on the “Search” button.
Take the time to explore these amazing resources available at the Monroe County Library System Digital Collections!
1 History & Culture - River Raisin National Battlefield Park Michigan; National Park Service website (https://www.nps.gov/rira/learn/historyculture/index.htm: accessed 30 January 2023).