The Brighton Room

The Brighton Room has a vast assortment of resources available to help your genealogy research. Some of these are listed below.

Research At The Brighton Room

Check the library catalog or use the list of resources provided for a how-to book on researching your family history. Many of these books can be checked out.  Also check the bibliographies in genealogy books for additional resources which may help in your research. There is a strong possibility that books not owned by Brighton District Library may be borrowed from other libraries.  The staff at the Information Desk can help.

Use a pedigree chart and family group sheet forms to record known information about each branch of your family.  These charts are available in the Brighton Room and may be photocopied as needed.

Census records are an invaluable resource for genealogists.  They can give valuable information about your ancestors and surnames in your genealogy research.  The first U.S. Census was in 1790 and there has been one every ten years since then.  Census records can provide the names of family members, years of birth, location of birth, profession, and much more. Brighton District Library subscribes to and MyHeritage both of which have census records online.  In addition to online census records, Brighton District Library also owns print and microfilm versions of census records for Livingston County, Michigan.

The Brighton Room has microfilm available of Livingston County Birth records (1867 – 1929), Delayed Birth Registration (1800s – 1975), Death records (1867 – 1927) and the Livingston County Death Index (1867 – 1948).

The Brighton Room does not have any official birth, death or marriage certificates.  These are located in state health departments and city, town or county clerk offices where the event occurred. The International Vital Records Handbook by Tom Kemp has addresses and telephone numbers of offices where these records may be found. Alternately, the website may be used to order copies of these records.

Brighton District Library has copies of obituaries which were published in the Brighton Argus, the local newspaper, since 1880.  The obituaries can be searched using the online Obituary Index to help locate a specific individual.  Additionally, the library owns microfilm copies of the Brighton Argus and the Livingston Daily Press & Argus and a digital microfilm reader capable of producing a pdf file of any article. If you are trying to locate the obituary of a person who died outside of the Brighton area, you should contact the public library where the death occurred to determine if an obituary is available. Most public libraries will send a copy, if available, for a small fee.  Library addresses may be found either online or by using the American Library Directory which is located at the information desk.

To request an obituary, contact Genealogy and Local History Librarian Jordan Sprunger at 810-229-6571 x227 or email

Brighton District Library has copies of marriage notices which were published in the Brighton Argus and the Livingston Daily Press & Argus. View the search index here.

Brighton District Library has an extensive collection of cemetery records for Livingston County. Although transcriptions do not exist for all the cemeteries in Livingston County, the Cemetery Index should be used to help locate graves of your Livingston County ancestors.

The library has hundreds of indexed photographs of Brighton people, places and events.

Brighton District Library has a collection of scrapbooks which have been indexed. Some of the topics included in the Scrapbook collection are Church & Club Activities, School Activities, Sports & Recreation, Business, Homes & Buildings and Civic Events.

Brighton District Library has access to two genealogy databases.  These databases can be accessed from any computer in the library.  Ancestry Plus is a comprehensive source of information for conducting genealogical and local history research.  It includes digitized images of the U.S. Federal Census from 1790 forward, the American Genealogical Biographical Index, Passenger and Immigration Lists Index, and much more.

MyHeritage Library Edition includes birth, death and marriage records; the complete U.S. and U.K. censuses; immigration, military and tombstone records; and nearly 5 billion family tree profiles. New exclusive content is added daily,

Reseach Help and Services

Genealogy and Local History Questions

Brighton District Library accepts Genealogy and Local History inquiries by mail, e-mail, and telephone.  Please keep telephone inquiries brief.  Please contact us via mail or e-mail for more detailed questions.  All inquiries are answered in the order in which they are received.  The speed with which they are answered depends on the number of requests pending and the nature of the request. We regret that we are unable to conduct extensive research on your behalf.  Brighton District Library can assist you in locating an independent researcher for large or in-depth research queries. We look forward to hearing from you!

Brighton District Library Mailing Address

Brighton District Library
100 Library Drive
Brighton, MI  48116

Attn. Jordan Sprunger

Genealogy and Local Family History Reference Questions
Phone: (810) 229-6571 ext. 217 (brief questions)
E-mail: (detailed questions)

Local Government Documents

Agencies and branches at all levels of government publish a wide variety of reports, surveys, fact sheets, and other documents relating to their operation.  Through the years, Brighton District Library has collected a fair number of these documents which are stored in archival boxes in the Brighton Room.  Many of them are not included in the online catalog and some of those in the online catalog are not listed here.

This guide is an introduction to the scope, use and location of these materials.  On the charts below, the first column details the title or topic of the document, the second column lists the document’s date and the third column provides the box location where the document may be found.

The library has documents pertaining to:

  • City of Brighton
  • Brighton Township
  • Greater Brighton Area
  • Genoa Township
  • Green Oak Township
  • Hamburg Township
  • Howell
  • Lakes and Waterways
  • Livingston County
  • Southeast Michigan

The Local Government Document collection is non-circulating.  The library staff will be happy to assist in locating the document you need.


Over the years, the Genealogy and Local History collection of the Brighton Room has grown as the result of generous donations of rare and unique materials. Brighton District Library continues to welcome such gifts in order to enhance the research value of its collections. This can be best accomplished by ensuring that materials offered to the Library are a good match with the Library’s collecting interests. Donations of books and periodicals that have local history or genealogical content will be gladly received and will be evaluated by library personnel who will make a decision regarding retention.

Historical records of families, communities, businesses and organizations provide vital information to researchers. When materials are donated they become accessible to a variety of researchers. Additionally, the donated materials are cared for by professionals who organize, protect and preserve them for future generations.

Some examples of donations include: family genealogies or family histories; county or local histories; biographical sketches of residents; abstracts of vital records; and genealogical periodicals. Works on CD-ROM or microfilm will be accepted if not available in other formats.

Due to space limitations, not all donated items can be added to the Genealogy and Local History collection. Examples include: histories of states other than Michigan, works of fiction unless by a local author, and photocopied books still under copyright. If received, Brighton District Library will place such items in the general collection, give them to other libraries, exchange them for more desirable works, or sell them through periodic Friends of the Library book sales.

Donated items become the property of the Brighton District Library and may be used in whatever way is most useful to the Library. Brighton District Library reserves the right to withdraw donations from the Library collection if they become obsolete, damaged beyond repair, moldy/smelly or replaceable by newer editions. Brighton District Library will attempt to lengthen the useful life of withdrawn materials, whether by exchange, sale, or donation to other collections.

More Brighton Room Materials

Maps and Atlases

The Brighton Room has many maps and atlases documenting the urban and rural changes to Brighton and Livingston County throughout the years. With more than 35 sheet maps and 900 atlas map sheets illustrating the city and surrounding communities, this collection is a critical support to many researchers of the local environment. The Brighton Room also holds numerous topographic maps. The bulk of the topographic map collection is limited to Livingston County although other regions of Michigan are included.

The Map Collection is non-circulating.  The library staff will be happy to assist in locating the right map for you.

Vital Records

The Brighton Room does not have any official birth, death or marriage certificates.  These are located in state health departments and city, town or county clerk offices where the event occurred. Please check the Livingston County Record Repositories page to find where specific Livingston County records are kept.

Magazines and Newspapers

Holdings for the Brighton Argus (including the time it was named Livingston County Argus—Dispatch) and the Livingston County Daily Press & Argus:

Brighton Argus Microfilm Brighton Argus Missing Issues
April 6, 1880 through December 26, 1883January, 1884 through March 19, 1890
March 26, 1890 through March 16, 1892March 23, 1892 through November, 1895
December 5, 1895 through November 12, 1896November 19, 1896 through December, 1899
January, 1900 through September 6, 2000 
Livingston County Daily Press & Argus MicrofilmLivingston County Daily Press & Argus Missing Issues
September 7, 2000 through presentNone


The term “scrapbook” refers to an album into which clippings, photos, and other materials may be mounted.  Scrapbooks are frequently arranged around a common theme and offer unique glimpses into a subject, or into the interests of the compiler. Since each scrapbook is nearly always unique, they are a valuable contribution to our local history collection. The Brighton Room Scrapbook Collection currently consists of sixteen scrapbooks which are divided into three sets.

Set one consists of nine scrapbooks compiled in the 1980s and early 1990s.  This set is comprised of newspaper clippings, memorabilia, and printed ephemera which provide an important window into Brighton’s recent and not-so-recent past and cover a wide range of topics related to the politics, businesses, organizations, buildings, civic events, history and people of Brighton.

Set two is comprised of two scrapbooks donated to the Brighton District Library by Mrs. Eva Whalen.  Although at least three volumes of the “Whalen Scrapbooks” were produced, the library owns only Volume One and Volume Three.  Volume one is titled Old Newspaper Articles from Livingston County, Michigan: Collected by the Great grandmother of Dr. Gerald E. Whalen of Frankenmuth, Michigan.  Volume three is titled Old Newspaper Clippings collected by Mrs. Myron West and daughter Mrs. Carrie Darlington of Milford, Mich—and Dora Mae Mussoff.  These scrapbooks contain a large assortment of newspaper clippings, funeral cards, memorial notices, obituaries and articles dating from the early 1900s through the 1980s and pertain to events and people primarily in Livingston County, Michigan.

Set three, entitled The Grass Roots of Brighton Jaycees, is a set of five scrapbooks.  Dating from 1953 through 1957, they contain newspaper clippings, programs, invitations, correspondence, photos, newsletters, and other memorabilia detailing the beginnings of the Brighton Jaycees.

Several of these scrapbooks have already been indexed and indexing of the remaining scrapbooks is ongoing.