Almont District Library

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James P. Smith Genealogical & Local History Room

Genealogy and Almont History

The James P. Smith Genealogical and Local History Room is a resource available by appointment or walk-ins whenever the library is open. The collection in the Genealogical and Local History Room is used to provide information and promote the heritage of Almont and its surrounding areas' local history. The Genealogical and Local History Rooms' purpose is identifying, acquiring, archiving, and preserving materials which provide information and documentation of Almont history and surrounding communities, past and present. These materials serve to support the research interests and information needs of Almont residents and their neighbors, scholars, students, genealogists, and any other person of society wishing to learn more about the community and its history.

The Genealogical and Local History Room is located in the basement of the library building. The collection is estimated to contain 2,000 books, including genealogy reference materials and resources, and a periodical collection. There are thousands of yet to  be cataloged original photographs that date back to the 1800's. Currently, there are close to one hundred local area and family history scrapbooks. A collection of microfilm of the local newspaper dating back to 1886 is kept in the room as well. The collection also holds local directories, plat maps of the local area and county dating back to the 1800's, local authors' works, journals, letters, rare documents form the early 1800's, local artifacts, videos, cemetery records, cemetery maps, civil war records, local family history, history of important figures in the area, yearbooks, and census records.

In addition to the local history materials, the Genealogical and Local History Room also holds Michigan history items, Michigan Census Records, Untied States' Census Records, rare books, family history surname catalogs on microfiche, and passenger arrival lists and documents.

There is also a microfilm reader and printer available from a grant of the Four County Foundation.

The library has the Almont Herald newspaper on microfilm dating from 1886 to 1977. The Tri-City Times is copied from 1978 to more recent years.

On May 22, 1994, the library renamed the Genealogy Room the James P. Smith Genealogical and Local History Room in honor of Mr. Smith, who died in 1996 after fifty-three years an an Almont District Library Board trustee. A member of the Almont High School graduating class of 1930, James P. Smith gave a great deal to his hometown. Besides his many civic involvements, he was also committed to the support of the Henry Stephens Memorial Library/Almont District Library. He was first appointed to fill a Library Board vacancy in December 1943 and elected President of the Board in May 1944. Since that time, he guided the Library through fifty-two years of service to the people of Almont and surrounding communities, particularly in the fields of genealogy and historical research, until his death in 1996. Clearly the Henry Stephens Memorial Library/Almont District Library would be a far different place without the personal commitment of Mr. James P. Smith. The Genealogical and Local History Room serves the local residents, as well as the surrounding areas' residents.