Library Closed Monday, May 27, for Memorial Day

Please be aware the library will be closed Monday, May 27, for Memorial Day. Regular hours will resume Tuesday, May 28. Thank you!

Genealogy & Local History

Local History Books

  • Indexes – Numerous local history books, plat books, newsletters, church records, tombstone inscriptions, and some Manitowoc newspapers are indexed. They are a great place to begin a genealogical search.
  • Newspapers – Local newspapers dating back to the 1850s are available on microfilm.
  • Census Records – The Library has census records on microfilm for Manitowoc and some surrounding counties for the dates 1836 – 1930. The 1920 and 1930 census film covers the entire state of Wisconsin. A Soundex index is available for the 1920 census to facilitate a search.
  • Birth, Death, Marriage and Divorce Indexes – These indexes are available on microfiche. Each index lists Wisconsin residents in alphabetical order. Information includes the date of the event and the county in which it took place. The Library has the pre-1907 indexes for births, deaths, and marriages. The library also has indexes for the following: Deaths 1959-1997 (excluding 1968); Marriages 1973-1997; Divorces 1965-1984 (excluding 1966).
  • Manitowoc City/County Directories – Information can include a person’s place of employment, address, spouse and children, and sometimes date of death.
  • Plat Books -These books will locate land and land owners outside of city limits.
  • Church Records – The Library has records for the following churches: St. John-St. James Evangelical Lutheran (Reedsville), St. James Episcopal (Manitowoc), St. Michael’s Catholic (Whitelaw), St. John’s United Church of Christ (Manitowoc), and First German Evangelical Lutheran (Manitowoc). Records vary by parish.

Buildings Have a History

A guide to researching the history of your home or structure.

Homes and other structures - even ones built a few decades ago - may have an interesting past. Your engagement with that past can be helpful in not only understanding reasons for the existence of various architectural features, but can also lead you to a deeper and more meaningful connection with your living environment, place of work, or the community more broadly.

Genealogy Request

Looking for an article, perhaps need assistance locating an obituary, or even have a general inquiry?

Fill out the form by clicking the button below and choosing the information you're requesting and it'll get to the right people to help you further.

Permission to Publish Agreement

Interested in using or reproducing items from the Manitowoc Public Library Local History Photograph Collection?  Click on the button below to download the permission form.  Completed forms must be mailed or emailed via attachment. 

Library Resources for Researchers

Ancestry Library Edition logo
Discover and explore your family tree with the world's most popular consumer online genealogy resource. Ancestry brings you closer to your family past and present through billions of records in census data, vital records, directories, photos, and more. View Tutorial
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BadgerLink: Wisconsin's Online Library

BadgerLink: Wisconsin's Online Library logo
BadgerLink provides all Wisconsin residents with licensed content not available through regular search engines. Included in this collection are: newspapers, magazines, encyclopedias, genealogy research, test preparation and auto repair information.
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HeritageQuest Online

Heritage Quest logo
Rich in unique primary sources, local and family histories, this database provides genealogical and historical sources for more than 60 countries, with coverage dating back as early as the 1700s. View Tutorial
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Manitowoc Genealogy and Local History Database

Manitowoc Genealogy & Local History logo

This collection of local history and genealogical records includes birth and death notices, school records as well as city and county directories.

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Manitowoc Local History Collection


Explore the history of Manitowoc and the surrounding communities through a wide selection of historic photographs, images, historical texts, maps and plat books that date back to the mid 19th century.


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Online Resources for Researchers

  • Manitowoc County Genealogy – This web site is specifically for Manitowoc, Wisconsin, genealogical info. Be sure to scroll to the bottom to see what is available. Includes cemeteries, censuses, marriages, births, military and land records, family histories, town, church and school histories.
  • Cemetery Records of Manitowoc County
  •  Evergreen Cemetery Records – Evergreen Cemetery is located on 2221 Michigan Avenue in Manitowoc, Wisconsin. It is a city-owned and operated cemetery consisting of 79 acres with an additional 25 acres a few blocks west of its current site on Michigan Avenue.
  • Manitowoc Local History Collection – Explore the history of Manitowoc and the surrounding communities through a wide selection of images, historical texts, maps, and plat books that date back to the mid-19th century.
  • The Home Front: Manitowoc County in World War II This digital collection of photographic images, oral histories, published sources and documents, artifacts, and other resources helps to document and explain the history of Manitowoc County, Wisconsin during the period from 1939 to 1947—both the more universally shared home front experiences and activities as they played out in this specific county, and those more unique activities which especially defined the area during the War.
  •  Sanborn Maps of Manitowoc County – Sanborn Map Company was a publisher of detailed maps of U.S. cities and towns in the 19th and 20th centuries. Explore 20 Manitowoc County Sanborn maps of various years through the Library of Congress website.
  • Recollection Wisconsin – Recollection Wisconsin brings together digital cultural heritage resources from Wisconsin libraries, archives, museums and historical societies and shares them with the world in partnership with the Digital Public Library of America.
  • Wisconsin History Society – History of Wisconsin. Includes three million photographs, negatives, films, cartoons, lithographs, posters, and ephemeral materials from private, business, and governmental sources.
  • Manitowoc County Genealogical Society – The Manitowoc County Genealogical Society was formed in 1976 by seven family historians interested in helping each other in their research.  They also had a desire to increase the genealogical reference material available for Manitowoc County.  Over forty years have passed and we are still in the business of guiding others in their genealogical research, promoting educational experiences, and aiding in the preservation of  genealogical and historical records and media for use by future generations.
  • Manitowoc County Historical SocietyExplore Manitowoc County to discover a rich tapestry of history, unique experiences, and hidden treasures.
  • Manitowoc County, Wisconsin Genealogy Project – This website is a clearinghouse for genealogical and historical information related to Manitowoc County.
  • Castle Garden – Search passenger lists. Castle Garden was America’s first immigration center.
  • Cyndi’s List of Genealogy Sites on the Internet – Cyndi’s list is an index to genealogical websites. It is categorized into more than 150 categories, cross-referenced, and frequently updated.
  • Ellis Island – American Family Immigration History Center – Search passenger lists, ship manifests and other rosters for passengers arriving in New York in the late 1800’s and early 1900’s. Includes immigrants along with 1st and 2nd class passengers who were American citizens.
  • Family Search – This site, compiled by the Church of Latter Day Saints, contains the largest collection of genealogical data in the world.
  • Family History Forms – Midwest Genealogy Center’s Family History Forms.
  • Find A Grave – Find A Grave’s mission is to find, record and present final disposition information from around the world as a virtual cemetery experience.
  • Steven Morse One Step Pages – This site contains tools for finding immigration records, census records, vital records, and for dealing with calendars, maps, foreign alphabets, and numerous other applications. Some of these tools fetch data from other websites but do so in more versatile ways than the search tools provided on those websites.
  • Internet Archives – This site has digitized genealogy reference books.