Local History & Genealogy

Email Local History

Your History. Your Library.

Books and artifacts inside the Local History & Genealogy Department lay a foundation of who we are today in Toledo and Lucas County. Whether you’re a new arrival or lifelong resident, (re)discover what makes our region great.

  • Explore history as it happened with extensive newspaper archives, yearbooks and other artifacts
  • Join one of the country’s most popular hobbies and trace your genealogy
  • Read accounts of the labor movement, locally and nationally, as it pushed for worker rights

Email our Local History & Genealogy Department below or call 419.259.5200 to start learning and researching today!

Email Local History
Look up Obituaries

Obituaries

The Library indexes obituaries as a service to the community.

If you find the name of the individual that you are searching for, we can email a scan of the obituary to you.

Out-of-state residents are charged $3 per obituary scan.

Look up Obituaries
Explore Collections

Digital Collections and Exhibits

The Toledo Lucas County Public Library is pleased to partner with Ohio Memory to present our growing digital archive of collections and exhibits on topics including (but not limited to):

  • Architecture and buildings
  • Genealogical records
  • Historical documents and photos
  • Toledo historical records

Explore Collections
Submit photos

Community Photo Album

We're creating a photo collection to preserve the history of Toledo and Lucas County and we need your help!

We are looking for pictures depicting scenes from Toledo and Lucas County or of residents out in the wider world. We would love to include your vacation photos in the Smoky Mountains from the 80s, snapshots from your 4th of July picnic, Instagram selfies from Jeepfest, or your hundred year old historical photographs; absolutely anything so long as it is about Toledo/Lucas County or its residents.

Submit photos digitally using the link below, or download and complete our form if you wish to mail us your photographs (all mailed photographs will be returned).

View the Community Photo Album.

Submit photos
Learn More

Physical Collections

Our Local History Department houses a growing list of physical collections, including:

  • Special Collections for Lucas County
  • Genealogy Collections
  • Newspapers on Microfilm
  • Local Government Records on Microfilm
  • Manuscript Collection Inventories

Learn More

The Blade Rare Book Room

The Blade Rare Book Room:
A diverse collection of rare and valuable items. Highlights include:

  • Ancient Babylonian clay tablet (purchased by the Library in the 1900’s)
  • Early Armenian manuscript of the gospels of Luke and John
  • Thomas Jefferson letter dated 1800
  • First edition history of the Indian Tribes of North America by Thomas L. McKenny and Jones Hall
  • Complete set of Nancy Drew first editions written by Toledoan Mildred Benson

Request this room

Rogowski-Kaptur Labor History Room

The award-winning Rogowski-Kaptur Labor History Room is named for Congresswoman Marcy Kaptur's mother. It contains books, DVDs and memorabilia related to local, national and international labor issues and history. Some of the memorabilia located in the room includes:

  • Photos of the Electric Auto-lite strike
  • The stamps of several unions, including the Toledo, Ohio, area, AFL-CIO
  • A union card from the Toledo Typographical Union, No. 63
  • A Pre-Election dinner program from 1962, with an authenticated signature of Jimmy Hoffa

This room may be reserved by card holders. One hour maximum per day.

Request this room
Ask about Digitization Services

Digitization Services

We will digitize up to ten items* for you every three months at no charge!

Our state-of-the-art digitization equipment and expert staff are dedicated to identifying, digitizing, preserving and providing open access to unique and rare materials that document the history and cultural heritage of Toledo and Lucas County.

Interested in digitizing materials or have questions? Email us or call 419.259.5200 and set up an appointment today. Please note that the minimum turnaround time for digitization services is approximately two weeks.

Scanning: We will scan text, books, slides and negatives, glass plate negatives or other oversized items for you.

Editing: Looking for assistance cropping, rotating or editing your images or documents? We offer a variety of editing services starting at $30 per hour.

File Storage: Need somewhere to store your items? If materials fall within our collection scope, we will host them for free. Otherwise, we can provide materials on a CD, DVD or Flash Drive.

* Does not include 3D object or full book scanning

Ask about Digitization Services

Upcoming Events

The Potato Famine and the Coming of the Irish to America

Wednesday Feb. 26
at 7:00 p.m.

Location: Waterville

Ireland awoke to the beginning of the Great Hunger in 1845. Experience the heartbreaking stories of the Irish during the five long years of the Potato Famine.

Event Details for The Potato Famine and the Coming of the Irish to America

Wolcott House Historical Lecture Series

Thursday Feb. 27
at 10:00 a.m.

Location: Maumee

Join us at the Maumee Library for the Wolcott House Museum Guild's annual lecture series. Featuring local authors and topics relevant to local history.

Event Details for Wolcott House Historical Lecture Series

Genealogy for Beginners

Saturday Feb. 29
at 2:00 p.m.

Location: Oregon

Our Local History and Genealogy librarian will discuss beginning your family tree and using library resources to assist you on your journey to discovering your family’s history.

Event Details for Genealogy for Beginners

Metroparks Toledo Presents: Surviving the Great Black Swamp

Tuesday Mar. 3
at 4:00 p.m.

Location: Birmingham

Discover the ways settlers adapted the Great Black Swamp to create the communities we live in today. You will be amazed to find out what our ancestors went through to tame Northwest Ohio.

Event Details for Metroparks Toledo Presents: Surviving the Great Black Swamp

Wolcott House Historical Lecture Series

Thursday Mar. 5
at 10:00 a.m.

Location: Maumee

Join us at the Maumee Library for the Wolcott House Museum Guild's annual lecture series. Featuring local authors and topics relevant to local history.

Event Details for Wolcott House Historical Lecture Series

Silver Cafe for the 55+ Crowd

Friday Mar. 6
at 9:30 a.m.

Location: Holland

This free program open to adults aged 55+ features a new topic, speaker, discussion or activity each week.

Event Details for Silver Cafe for the 55+ Crowd