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Interest: Genealogy & Local History

Remembering Medal of Honor Recipient Charles Kettles

Published: February 8, 2019

Lt. Col. (Ret.) Charles Kettles was an Army veteran from Ypsilanti who passed away on January 21, 2019 at the age of 89. Mr. Kettles was a helicopter pilot in the Army during the Vietnam War. In 1967, he led a series of daring rescue missions in his helicopter after American troops were ambushed in South Vietnam. He ultimately saved the lives of over 40 people. For these heroic acts, Mr. Kettles was awarded the Medal of Honor in 2016. In 2006, Mr. Kettles recorded an oral history interview with Bill Vollano as part of the Veterans History Project through …


MyHeritage: Library Edition

One of the largest genealogy databases of its kind, with over 6 billion historical records from the U.S. and around the world.

Ypsilanti Commercial Masthead
Ypsilanti Commercial Vital Records

Search vital records–births, deaths, and marriages–from The Ypsilanti Commercial newspaper, which was published from 1865-1900.

Start exploring your ancestry

Published: February 7, 2018

Researching your family tree can seem daunting…where do you even start? Here are some online resources to help you navigate the world of genealogy.   Ancestry: This is one of the most popular and well-known genealogical research sites. It features census, vital, military, and immigration records. requires a paid subscription. The library offers access to on library computers only (not accessible from home). Cyndi’s List: Here is a popular online genealogy index which features over 270,000 links, categorized and cross-referenced. This particular link takes you to it’s Beginners page so you can learn the ins and outs of genealogical …


An invaluable resource: the Ypsilanti Historical Society

Published: February 6, 2018

Ypsilanti, Michigan is a city full of history. If you are looking to learn about that history, the Ypsilanti Historical Society is a wonderful source of information. Located in an historic house at 220 North Huron Street, the Ypsilanti Historical Society is both a museum and an archive. The house itself is the museum, decorated like a house would be in Ypsilanti in 1860. Step back into time while touring the parlor, dining room, solarium, bedroom, and more in the two-story house. There is also an Ypsilanti Room, featuring a permanent exhibit on the city’s history, dating all the way …


Ypsilanti’s historic African American community

Published: February 6, 2018

Did you know that after the Civil War Ypsilanti had one of the largest African American populations in Michigan? Members of this well-organized community lived through the Jim Crow era, fought racism during World War II, and led the local Civil Rights movement. You can explore their stories through the A.P. Marshall African American Oral History Archive. A.P. Marshall was a local historian who sought to preserve the stories of Ypsilanti’s African American community and did so by recording numerous oral history interviews in the 1980s. The interviews are now available online, with each one featuring a biography of the …


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A brief history of the YDL-Michigan building (229 W Michigan Ave)


A large collection of census, vital, military, and immigration records for genealogy research. Access available on library computers only.

A.P. Marshall African American Oral History Project

A collection of interviews of Ypsilanti residents who lived through the Jim Crow era, fought racism during WWII, and led the local Civil Rights movement.