Family History

Discover your family history, local or across the world.


American Ancestors
From the New England Historic Genealogical Society, the country’s oldest genealogical organization.

Ancestry Library Edition
Billions of genealogy records, including census, death, marriage and military records

Biography Reference Center
Coverage for several of the most popular and heavily-researched biographies and genres. Includes those contained within Biography Today and Biography.

Fold3 (Main Library only)
US military records, including stories, photos, and personal documents.

Access to billions of historical documents, millions of historical photos and other resources in thousands of databases that span the past five centuries.


The subscription databases are openly accessible to all patrons from any of our library locations. Home access to the subscription databases is limited to Grand Rapids Public Library cardholders only.

Books & Magazines

We have an extensive collection of genealogy books and magazines, covering not only Grand Rapids but also the entire United States. Search the collection here:

Web Resources

Grand Rapids and Kent County

  • WMGS databases
    Indexes to thousands of local records from the Western Michigan Genealogical Society: obituaries, marriages, funeral records, and more.


  • Seeking Michigan
    From the Library/Archives of Michigan, includes death certificates, state census records, Civil War service records, and more.


  • FamilySearch
    A large, free database with over one billion indexed records online.

Genealogy Guides