HWB Local History Department
The Local and Family History Department of Willard Library is located in the Helen Warner Branch Library at 36 Minges Creek Place (off Beckley Road, just south of I-94). Hours are Monday-Thursday, 10-8, Friday 10-6, Saturday 10-5, and Sunday 1-5, between Labor Day and Memorial Day.
This collection includes primary and secondary source materials that document the history of Battle Creek, with a secondary emphasis on Calhoun County and the State of Michigan. Limited information is also available for surrounding communities, and the mid-Atlantic, Eastern and North Central United States.
Items in this collection are not available for circulation or interlibrary loan, with the exception of manuals and guides. Some duplicate items are available in the non-fiction collection for circulation.
See additional local history and genealogy RESOURCES BELOW.
Online Local History and Genealogy Resources
Off-site use also
Genealogy & History Online Resources
Find the best genealogy and history resources linked in our collection. Resources include local, state, national, and international resources.
|Genealogy Links||History Links|
The Historical Images of Battle Creek collection includes over 17,000
photographs and is divided into three parts:
- Battle Creek Homes & Buildings, c. 1940: A catalog, by street, of all of the buildings within the 1940 boundaries of Battle Creek with images
- Photographs from Battle Creek from Battle Creek's History: A searchable selection of 5,500 photographs selected from the files of Willard Library from 19th and 20th century Battle Creek.
- Dorothy Martich Black History Photo Archive: represents many years of research by local historians Dorothy and Michael Martich documenting the history of the Battle Creek African American community.
Battle Creek Enquirer: Access Battle Creek Enquirer articles and obituaries from 2002-present online.
The Newspaper Index covers the local newspapers from 1967-present.
The Coller Collection Index is included in the Newspaper Index. Ross Coller worked for
47 years as a journalist in Battle Creek and spent much of his lifetime chronicling our area's past. After his death, his family donated his notes and work to the library.
an obituary. Dates of obituaries occurring between 1967-present can be found in the newspaper index. Prior to 1967, you must know the date of the obituary you are requesting, or
use our microfilm on-site to search for the item.
Authored by the city's ideal biographer, Berenice Bryant Lowe, in 1976,
Tales of Battle Creek "...provides a loving, spirited, and always accurate
chronicle of the who-what-when-where-why of Battle Creek's past" with over
16 pages of photographs of early Battle Creek.
This collection includes the digitized yearbooks for the five public high schools in Battle Creek based on the holdings of Willard Library, local high schools and high school alumni associations. Yearbooks are accessible online with a current Willard Library card or on-site to guests, and will not include the last ten years. Individual yearbooks can be searched. The collection currently includes: Battle Creek Central High School (1894-2000); Harper Creek High School (1962-2000); Lakeview High School (1925-2000); Pennfield High School (1979-2000); and Springfield High School (1956-1989).
Links to books about Battle Creek and Calhoun County history,
including W.K. Kellogg, Kellogg Company, Sojourner Truth,
Underground Railroad, C.W. Post and more.
Local Newspapers on microfilm from 1852-2002.
City and County Records
Probate records from 1835
Death records 1867 – 1925
Marriage records 1836 -1925
Deeds from 1833
Plat books from 1873
Sanborn fire insurance maps
WWI Draft Registration Cards
State and Federal Records
All available State Census of Michigan, fully indexed on microfilm
Federal Census records of Michigan, fully indexed on microfilm
Cemetery transcriptions for Southwest Michigan
Battle Creek City Directories (1869-present)
Publications about local events, buildings, and personalities such as the Underground Railroad, Sojourner Truth, the cereal industry, the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, W.K. Kellogg, John Harvey Kellogg, C.W. Post, and the Adventist Church.