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Genealogy & Local History

Central Library Genealogy & Local History Room

Conrad T. Logan, President of the Rockingham Public Library Board from 1928 to 1948, was instrumental in starting the genealogy and local history collection. Today, the collection contains over 5,000 books, atlases and pamphlets documenting the families and history of Rockingham County and the Shenandoah Valley.  It is an excellent place to begin research into your Valley roots. Click to view a searchable PDF index of Harrisonburg and Rockingham County materials available in the MRL Genealogy and Local History Room.

In addition to print sources, the library maintains the following records on microfilm:

  • Daily News-Record from July 1913
  • Rockingham Register and miscellaneous local newspapers from October 1822
  • Census record for Rockingham and surrounding counties from 1790

Photographs depicting early days in Harrisonburg are housed in the collection. Early scenes of Harrisonburg, Boys Band, Telephone Company and the Massanutten Regional Library (formerly Rockingham Public Library) are some of the subjects included in our extensive photograph collection. Please see our Photograph Use Policy and contact our reference librarians at 540.434.4475 ext. 123 or by using our Contact Form for more information.

MRL Local History Indexes

The Massanutten Regional Library seeks to preserve the past as well as the present. For more information on items located in our local history pamphlet file, map file and photograph collection use the links below to access searchable indexes, or contact our reference librarians at 540.434.4475 ext. 123 or by using our Contact Form.

Searchable PDF index of the MRL Local History Pamphlet File.

Searchable PDF index of the MRL Map File.

Searchable Excel Index of the MRL Photograph Collection.

Searchable PDF index of the Virginia Cavalcade. Bound volumes located in Genealogy at the Central Library.

MRL Local History Projects

You can help preserve local history by participating in one of our special projects: The Veterans History Project, Vanishing Farms Project, or the Valley Changes Series.

Veterans History Project

In conjunction with the Library of Congress American Folklife Center, MRL is collecting interviews of local veterans and their military experiences. From WWI to the Persian Gulf, we want to hear how it really was! Documents, maps, pictures, medals and all related materials are also collected, copied and complied in books. Civilian Defense, Department of Defense, and Alternate Service Workers are also encouraged to share their stories. Visit the Library of Congress website to learn more about this project.

Vanishing Farms Project

Our area has a rich agricultural history and we’re determined to capture it before it’s gone. Through the Vanishing Farms Project we collect oral histories, photographs, deeds or land grants and other information from local farming families.

Valley Change Series

Are you about eighty years young? Did you grow up in the Valley? If so, we want to hear and record your story! Tell us about the good and the bad ol’ days and how the Valley has changed.

For more information or to participate in one of these projects, contact our reference librarians at 540.434.4475 ext. 123 or use our Contact Form.

Genealogy Websites

HeritageQuestLogo Research family history using census data, Revolutionary War records, family history books, and more.  Library card required for access.

ancestryFULLcolor (subscription required) Records of early Americans, including marriage records

Access select sets of Virginia-related genealogy records on the Ancestry website free of charge through the Find It Virginia database.

Central VA Genealogical Assoc.: Located in Charlottesville; good Virginia sources

cyndislist A list of online genealogy sites–nearly 10,000 categorized lists


ellisislandfoundation Immigration records

gengateway Complete website searches of over 50,000 records

gentodayFree services and information for researchers, with a goal to add 10,000 new names per week

nat_arch_logo 1940s Census: The official 1940s census website

nat_genThis organization can get you started in the right direction

rootswebFULLcolorInformation on tracing your family tree, including websites, tools, databases and search engines

Local Courthouses

Augusta County Clerk of the Circuit Court
P.O. Box 689
Staunton, VA 24401
540.885.8931 ext. 264

Rockingham County Clerk of the Circuit Court
The Court House
Harrisonburg, VA 22801

Local University Libraries

Historical Societies

Additional Local History Resources

Need some one-on-one help? We walk with you through the local genealogy and history resources that are available at Massanutten Regional Library including a walkthrough of our Genealogy room. We also provide training on how to use our microfilm readers and the online databases HeritageQuest and Newsbank (which provide access to the Daily News-Record and the Page News & Courier). Book a Librarian today!