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Trace your family tree with help from the library!

Genealogy & Local History

Looking into your family history? The library is the perfect place to start. We have several online tools you can use immediately anywhere with an internet connection; they're free with your library card.

We also have many in-house, hard copy materials as well as an extensive microfilm collection. See the list of tools below for some good starting points.  

If you need a little more guidance, check out one of our classes. Every month we explore different topics that will help you with your research!

Featured Resource: Indiana Room OnlinePhotos of Gary's Golden Jubilee 1956, A pictorial history of Merrillville, a telephone directory, the buckley farm, shelby history news bicentennial edition

Now you can browse through our collection of historic books, pamphlets, reports, newsletters and other materials from Lake County's past without coming in to the Merrillville Branch! We've digitized some of our most asked-for resources for the public to view on-demand. Take a look!

Genealogy Tools

Genealogy at the Library

microfilm readers located in the Merrillville Branch genealogy roomThe Lake County Public Library Indiana Room and Genealogy Room (located at the Merrillville branch) include both local history and genealogy resources. The emphasis of the collection is on Lake County, but also includes nearby counties such as Porter and LaPorte.

Reference materials for states from which settlers migrated to Indiana and many general genealogy reference resources are also available.

Online Obituary Index

Post Tribune/Gary Post Tribune Obituary Index (1921-current); Lake County Register and Star (1857 - 1938)

A newspaper with headline reading ObituariesQuickly and easily search local obituaries when tracing your family history! Our obituary search engine lets you search by name, partial name, maiden name, date, city, and age. Once you've found the obituary, we'll be happy to pull a copy for your records! (Note: If you need an obituary that is missing, please use our Ask a Librarian form and we will look it up for you! ) Give it a try.

FamilySearch Digital Records Access

FamilySearch is the world's largest repository of free genealogical records and manages the Family History Library in Salt Lake City. Their digitzed microfilm records can be viewed instantly, without any special equipment beyond your web browser. Browse their catalog to see if the film you need has been digitized (or see other ways to access it).

LCPL is a FamilySearch affiliate library; searching FamilySearch from any LCPL location will give you access to 25% more records than searching from home on a basic account!

For more information on finding and reading microfilm online, see FamilySearch's digital access FAQ or try our handy FamilySearch tips. If you have any questions, just give us a call or use our Ask a Librarian form.

Special Collections

Located at Merrillville Branch's Genealogy Room (G), Indiana Room (I), or in Restricted Reference (RR).

  • Crown Point (Indiana) Courts Naturalizations Petitions 1854-1929 (RR)

  • Pamphlet File (newspaper clippings, old photographs, booklets, pamphlets, and brochures focusing on local history) (I)

  • Local City Directories and Histories: Books and Microfilm (G;I)

  • School Enumeration Indexes (I)