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Special Collections

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. 

Planning a visit? Be sure to read MRL's Genealogy & Local History Room Guidelines

Need some one-on-one help? Book a Librarian today! 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 our online resources.

Online Resources

MRL is pleased to offer both Ancestry Library and HeritageQuest to our patrons. Please click below to get started.


Local Yearbooks – Thanks to the Library of Virginia’s Yearbook Digitization Project, many yearbooks in MRL’s local history collection are now accessible online. Please note that dates listed in parentheses below are the collection range. The online collection may not include every year within that range.

Massanutten Regional Library’s Digital Collection – Features images depicting local places of interest, MRL’s past, and historical events. Also included in the digital collection are donated photographs to MRL, such as Floyd Coffman’s four albums of World War I era photographs. MRL’s digital collection is a work in progress that currently features a small section of images. More collections will be added for viewing once they have been digitized.

Newspaper Archives – Provides access to Newsbank, Daily News-Record, Page News and Courier, and more.

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.

Physical Collections 

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.

Historical Societies

Bridgewater Historical Society
Genealogical Society of Page County, Virginia
Menno Simons Historical Library
Plains District Memorial Museum 
Rocktown History
Shenandoah Valley Black Heritage Project

Additional Local History Resources

African American Property Ownership in Antebellum Harrisonburg
Dictionary of Virginia Biography
Encyclopedia Virginia
Histories Along the Blue Ridge
Shenandoah Valley Black Heritage Project
Virginia Chronicle
Virginia Department of Historic Resources

MRL's Local History Projects

  • An oral history project aiming to secure Massanutten Regional Library's institutional memory, while also creating a history of MRL and its place in the community.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

Inform. Inspire. Connect.

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