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Tracing Roots In Allegan County

Posted at 4:55 PM, Aug 27, 2013
and last updated 2013-08-27 17:50:02-04

DORR, Mich. — Ever wondered where you came from, or thought about tracing your genealogical roots back in time? There’s one place in the small village of Dorr in Allegan County that provides some excellent resources for going back in time. It’s called Then and Now.

While it predominately benefits Allegan County residents, others from around West Michigan have also found it to be a great starting place for finding marriage, birth dates, and cemetery records…all things most people examine when trying to find their past.

The old building that houses Then and Now Genealogical Library was once the town hall and was built back in 1949. It’s located in downtown Dorr and they have records, newspapers, and county information dating way back to the early 1800s all carefully and meticulously filed and labeled.

Curator Linda Stoepker says people have actually come from all over the United States to look things up. “They’re looking for a clue, a name, a piece of the past that can link them to an earlier time.”

Part of the problem in trying to find information in a more rural area like Allegan County (versus Detroit/Chicago), is that townships couldn’t exist until after the county was platted in 1834. That means there was no rhyme or reason where or how people lived in the area prior to the existence of townships…so tracing roots back prior to 1834 becomes even more difficult.

It was quite impressive to see old newspapers from the 1800s…The Saturday Globe, the Allegan Gazette, and what was popular at the time, including advertisements and how much things cost. It was indeed a trip back in time. Then and Now Genealogical Library is truly a must see for history buffs, especially if you’re from Allegan County.

We also found articles, photos, and information from Fort Custer and from the Civil War Era. Click here to see their Facebook page. They don’t officially have a website, but you can find a bit more information here. There is no charge for admission but they certainly welcome donations. Currently, the township has provided the space and the building for the library.