Local History and Genealogy

Stanley O. and Phyllis Clemens Miller
Genealogy and Local History Room

The Maud Preston Palenske Memorial Library is pleased to provide our local community with this rich resource.   Our local history room contains many items of interest about the history of St. Joseph, Michigan and the surrounding area.  We assist researchers, historians and genealogists.  

Our local history room is kept as a locked room in order to preserve these often rare items.   If you have interest in using these resources, please review our local history room policy.

If you have need of research assistance,  please review our research request policy,

and fill out your request here: Research Request Form.


Resources Available:

Online Resources:


            Historical Society of Michigan-Learn more about museums, organizations, archives, and associations

         that focus on Michigan.


            Riverview Cemetary- Burial Information


             Family Search       Bring to life your family’s history by exploring the lives of those that came before you.


            Michiganology-Let us help you find your story.


My Heritage - Library Edition provided through the Michigan Electronic Library.   You can access this from home. 


Berrien County Genealogical Society   Local help and resources.


The Making of Modern Michigan   View pictures of the historic Silver Beach Amusement Park on the Making of Modern Michigan collection online.


Digital Michigan Newspaper Portal  Compiled by Central Michigan University, this portal provides links with access to either digitized versions of newspapers or links to digitized newspapers made available from a variety of sources.   Some free, some pay.


Digital Michigan Newspapers  For more than 50 years, the Clarke Historical Library at CMU has been actively preserving Michigan’s historic newspapers through microfilm. Over the last decade, it has begun to convert the treasure trove of historical newspapers found on microfilm both here and around the state into digital formats that can be accessed on-line. Thousands of pages of local newspapers recording Michigan history as it happened are found here. ​


On Microfilm:


We have the following years of The Herald-Palladium and its predecessors on microfilm:
Partial: 1859-1894
All: 1895-2008  (for the most recent months, we have a paper copy of the newspaper)

Michigan census records, years 1830 - 1940

Sanborn Fire Insurance Maps, City of St. Joseph, Michigan ; 1884-1948
Reiser Funeral Home Records


Print Resources:

City Directories
We have 1896 City Directory for Benton Harbor, Niles, St. Joseph and list of all farmers in Berrien County

W.A. Norton’s Berrien County Directory, 1899

Benton Harbor/St. Joseph Polk City Directories: 1902, 1918-1921, 1925-1926, 1929-1930, 1934, 1936, 1938, 1940, 1945, 1947, 1950, 1952, 1954, 1956, 1958-1989, 1991-1998, 2000-current.

Niles/Buchanan Polk City Directory: 1977, 1979, 1988, 1989, 1991-1992, 1994-1999


Vertical Files

Clippings on St. Joseph / Benton Harbor area people, places, and historical events are housed in filing cabinets in the local history room .


Year Books 
Benton Harbor High: 1912, 1917-1920, 1923,
     1925-1927, 1937, 1938, 1958, 1959, 1967,
     1971, 1972;
Benton Harbor Jr. High: 1956, 1957, 1965, 1966

Lake Michigan Catholic: 1947, 1949, 1972, 1974, 
     1980, 1986-1988, 1991-1997

Milton Junior High: 1972-1974

St. Joseph Catholic High (the Josephian): 1946-49

St. Joseph Jr. High: 1968, 1969

St. Joseph High: 1910, 1914-1917, 1919-1929, 
     1931-1983, 1985, 1987-2007, 2009
Upton Middle School: 1972, 1984-1985


Plat Books
Berrien County Plat Books/Land Atlases: 
1860, 1873, 1887, 1903, 1929, 1955, 1963, 1970, 1973, 1987, 1990, 1991, 1996, 1998, 2000

Index to Plat Books: 1873, 1887

Other: Cass County - 1872, Van Buren – 1873


Cemetery Lists 

Berrien County Michigan cemetery records of all persons born before the
year 1867 / copied by the historical committee of Algonquin Chapter DAR.

                + GEN MICH 929.5 C39

Cemeteries of Berrien County, Michigan  GEN MICH 929.5 C39

Baroda Township.

Calvary Cemetery : Benton Township.

Coloma Cemetery : Coloma Township. 

Coloma Cemetery : Coloma Township up-date : Sexton records.

Highland/Brown School Road Cemetery : St. Joseph Township. 

Lake Township. 

Lincoln Charter Township

Hickory Buff Cemetery : Lincoln Township.

New Buffalo Township.

Oak Ridge Cemetery, Buchanan, Michigan.

Oronoko Township.

Pearl & Millburg cemeteries in Benton Township.

Riverview Cemetery : City of St. Joseph : St. Joseph Charter Township.

Sodus Township.

Spring Run Cemetery, Spring Run Cemetery Annex, Royalton Township Cemetery, Royalton Township.

Watervliet Cemetery, Fairview Memorial Cemetery,

St. Joseph's Catholic Cemetery : Watervliet Township.

Crystal Springs Cemetery in Berrien County, Michigan

Other Cemetery Lists

Cemetery records of Bertrand Township in Berrien County, Michigan
Cemetery records of B'nai Sholom & Temple Bethel-el in Benton Township

Cemetery records of Chikaming Township in Berrien County, Michigan

Cemetery records of Galien Township Cemetery, Galien, Michigan, Berrien

Cemetery records of Galien Township in Berrien County, Michigan

Cemetery records of Lake Township in Berrien County, Michigan  

Cemetery records of Lincoln Township in Berrien County, Michigan

Cemetery records of New Buffalo Township

Cemetery records of New Buffalo Township in Berrien County, Michigan

Cemetery records of Weesaw Township

City cemeteries of Saint Joseph : City Cemetery, Resurrection Cemetery
and the Mausoleum.

Crystal Springs cemetery list A-K (v. 1), L-Z (v. 2).

Michigan cemetery atlas, 1991 / companion volume to the Michigan cemetery source book.

Michigan cemetery compendium

Michigan cemetery source book : companion volume to the Michigan cemetery atlas.

Morton Hill Cemetery : Benton Harbor, MI.
Resurrection Cemetery (Catholic) records : St. Joseph, Michigan.

Saint Joseph Mausoleum : a community shrine / by Fred Logan.

St. Joseph City cemetery records : St. Joseph, Michigan.

Ship Records

Looking for the records of people who have come to the U.S. by ship? 

The Glazier and Filby series Germans to America covers Jan. 1840 - Oct. 1848 and Jan. 1850 - June 1897. 

We also carry:

German Immigrants

New World Immigrants

The Swiss (Volhynian) Mennonite Ship List, 1874

Bibliography of Ship Passenger Lists, 1538-1825

Ship Passenger Lists

Passengers to America


Trying to Find Berrien County Marriage, Death, and Birth Records?

Berrien County Records Department
2100 East Empire Avenue
Benton Harbor, MI 49022
(269) 983-7111 ext. 4640
Monday 8:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m.
Wednesday  8:30 a.m.– 4:30 p.m.
Friday  12:30 p.m.-4:30 p.m.

County Clerk’s Office
701 Main Street
St. Joseph, MI  49085
(269) 983-7111
Hours: Monday-Friday 8:30-5:00
Family Court: x 8410 (Divorce Records)
Probate Court: x8365 (Adoptions, Estates, Wills & Trusts)

Berrien County Genealogical Society
P.O. Box 8808
Benton Harbor, MI  49023-8808 or

LDS Family History Center
3653 Niles Rd.
St. Joseph, MI 49085
(269) 408-1557 (Call for an appointment.)