Researching Your Home History

Manchester Area Historical Society

"Researching Your Manchester Home's History"

Ray Berg and Tamara Denby
February 8, 2018

this talk provides local and regional resources available for researching the history of your Manchester-area home.  The resources listed below cover both homes within the Village limits, and rural properties in Sharon, Manchester, Freedom and Bridgewater Townships.

1.  Manchester Area Historical Society, Kingsley-Jenter House, 302 E. Main

The MAHS has several resources available, both at the Kingsley-Jenter House and at the John Schneider Blacksmith Shop at 324 E. Main.  The Society is currently undergoing a major update of its acquisitions and records database, and much of the materials will be moved to the Kingsley-Jenter House archives once renovations are completed there.  The Society will install a computer with search capabilities in 2018.

  • Township and village plat maps (1856, 1864, 1874, 1895, 1915, etc.) - electronic and some paper.
  • 1870 Taylor & Bird Map of Village
  • 1872 Birds-Eye View Map of Village
  • Manchester Historic District Reports (Main Street/Village Green and Ann Arbor Hill)
  • 2017 Sesquicentennial Historic Home Tour Book
  • Portrait and Biographical Album - Index
  • 1881 Washtenaw County History - online and searchable - Google Books
  • Representative Men of Michigan
  • Karen Jenter Family Files
  • Family history files
  • 1967 Marie Schneider's "Manchester's First One Hundred Years"
  • Oak Grove Cemetery records - electronic database completed 2017
  • Electronic surname clips of Alan Dyer's printed index to the Manchester Enterprise.

2.  Manchester District Library - Claire Reck Local History Room, 2nd Floor and Village Offices

The MDL Local History Room has computers with free access to several genealogy and local history resources, and several files and cabinets with resources.  Paper records are currently being indexed.

  • Manchester Enterprise - online issues (Manchester Mirror website and MSU website - "The Making of Modern Michigan"), Microfilms -
  • Alan Dyer printed index to Manchester Enterprise (1867-1917)
  • Bureau of Land Management - General Land Office database to land patents -
  • Boyd's Land Patent Maps - book
  • Sanborn Fire Insurance Maps - app 1875-1940, Manchester Village only near downtown - building footprint, limited information on number of stories, materials of construction - Library of Congress website also has maps
  • Jane Palmer's "History of Manchester, Michigan" with index
  • Annetta English's "History of Manchester Township" with index
  • Marie Schneider's "Manchester's First One Hundred Years" with index
  • Miscellaneous history files in file cabinet - family names, businesses, places, events
  • MAHS Historical Calendar index
  • "Old Manchester Village" book by Hazel Proctor, Reck/Schmid/Sutton/Lovejoy papers and letters
  • 1872 Birds Eye View map, 1967 Abrams Aerial Survey
  • Manchester and Pleasant Lake school yearbooks
  • Hard copy books of plat maps (1856-1915) block/lot numbers in village
  • Manchester Village directories and telephone books, MHS Alumni directories
  • Computer access to,,, Mapwashtenaw, etc.  (Examples: tract books, land entry case files, probate records, aerial photos)

3.  Genealogical Society of Washtenaw County (Saline) www,

  • Ann Arbor Newspaper Indices for pre-1867 research - Louis William Doll.  Can locate information on prominent Manchester residents from 1832-1867, prior to publication of the Manchester Enterprise, including news reports on land settlements and home building in Manchester area.  Determine if person of interest had a declared political preference, and search the relevant political Ann Arbor newspaper, for best results.  Set of 5-6 books in library.  Microfilms of Ann Arbor newspapers available at Ann Arbor Library.

4.  Washtenaw County  Click on appropriate tab on homepage

  • Deed Records, Grantor-Grantee Indices at Main Street Office.  Search computers available in lobby.
  • Online searching of Grantor-grantee data and copies of deeds.
    http:s// - requires login registration, can search "Historical Indices" and current indices.  Images of grantor-grantee indices available fro free, liegible copies of recent deeds require a small fee.  Old deeds are only available at Register of Deeds Office.
  • Map Washtenaw Historic Aerial Photos
    1940 forward, use in seeing home locations over the years, and use in locating "ghost images" -  visual evidence of a prior house location

5.  University of Michigan Bentley Library

Search MRILYN online catalogue for "Manchester".  Examples include:

  • Sam Sturgis Photo Collection
  • Various old church records
  • Fargo and Fargo General Store Ledgers
  • Albert English papers
  • William J. Fargo photograph series

6.  DTE Aerial Photo Collection

Online aerial photos back to 1940, Freedom and Bridgewater only