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Local History & Genealogy

Physical Collections

To view these items, please speak with a librarian at the second-floor reference desk.

Local History Publications

Includes titles related to the Ferry-Morse Seed Farm, local cemeteries and churches, the Clinton-Kalamazoo Canal, Downtown Rochester, Leader Dogs for the Blind, and the Van Hoosen Farm.

See our Historical Publications


Historical maps and surveys covering the late 1800s and the mid to late 1900s.

See our maps & surveys


Magazines and journals related to Michigan history, genealogy, and local interest.

See our Magazines, Newspapers & Journals

Newspapers on Microfilm

Check out our Microfilm machine and find articles about all previous local events.

  • Rochester ERA (selected issues, 1873-1949)
  • Rochester Clarion (selected issues, 1931-1971)
  • Rochester Eccentric (1972-2007)
  • Detroit News (1982-2006)

Obituaries and Vertical File

Selected obituaries and clippings from local newspapers.

Digital Collections

Digital Collection: Oakland County Historical Resources

Oakland County Historical Resources (OCHR) contains over 100,000 images and audio files from member sites, including RHPL’s historical photograph collection, the Ray Russell postcard collection, the Bob Lytle collection, and the 1979 oral history project, as well as recent images of downtown Rochester sites and events, such as the Ewe Revue and the Big Bright Light Show.

Visit our collection at OCHR

Local Yearbooks

Culled from area schools with an emphasis on Rochester High, Rochester Adams, and Stoney Creek High School. See our digital yearbooks below, or ask about some of our physical only yearbooks at the Adult reference desk.

See our Physical Yearbooks



Find and explore historic and cultural sites around the US, including buildings and homes in and around Rochester, Rochester Hills, and Oakland Township.

Find more on CLIO

Sanborn Maps

Created by fire insurance companies to document existing structures, Sanborn maps are a great tool for researchers exploring communities and buildings from the past. This digital collection is hosted by the Library of Congress and includes maps covering Rochester from the late 1800s to the early 1900s.

Find more on Sanborn Maps

Historical Plat Maps

From the collections in Oakland County Historical Resources, maps of Avon Township, Rochester, and Oakland Township

Historical Topographic Maps

Featuring an interactive tool called topoView, searchable maps showcasing physical changes to the land of a particular location from 1880-2010, from the National Geologic Map Database and maintained by the U.S. Geological Survey

See more USGS maps

Other Organizations

Rochester-Avon Historical Society

See also Remembering Rochester, a searchable blog created by the Rochester-Avon Historical society featuring stories and images from the Rochester area’s past.

Rochester Hills Museum at Van Hoosen Farm

Explore the museum’s collections, newspaper archive, and local history articles on topics within the community.

Oakland Township Historical Society

Information on Cranberry Lake Farm, the Barn Survey Project, and much more.

Rochester Hills Historic Districts Commission

City of Rochester Historical Commission

Oakland Township Historic District Commission