Digital Historical Resources

Ranger looking at large old book in archives facility
NPS
Welcome to the Keweenaw NHP historical resources page. Here you will find numerous free-to-access websites that contain a variety of primary and secondary historical sources useful for learning more about Michigan's Keweenaw Peninsula and beyond. Using these resources together to cross-reference can make them more meaningful. For example, a census record address or landscape feature mentioned in a newspaper may often be looked up on an historical map. These websites are built and maintained by entities outside the Park Service; copyright statuses will vary.

The following resources have been divided into the following categories Ethnicity and Immigration, Genealogical, Maps, Newspapers, and Historical Photos. Brief descriptions of the Keweenaw-related contents of each site are included.
 

Ethnicity and Immigration

Ellis Island Passenger Database
Search passenger lists for those who arrived in the United States via Ellis Island, many of whom were headed directly to the Keweenaw Peninsula.

Interior Ellis Island
This web site intends to explore these themes of immigration, ethnicity and culture as they continue to define the lives of people in Michigan’s Keweenaw Peninsula.

The Finnish American Historical Archive
Along with archival materials, the collection includes genealogical resources, information about Finnish culture, artifacts, and North America’s largest collection of Finnish American artwork. Finding Aids and object collections are now searchable online.

Keweenaw National Historical Park Collections
Museum collections at Keweenaw National Historical Park help tell the story of Michigan's Copper Country and represent a broad range of historic activities on the Keweenaw Peninsula. Materials in the park's collections include objects of all sorts, ranging from fraternal organization regalia to miners' lunch pails and geological specimens. Archival materials in the park's collections include photographs, mining company and other business records, personal and family papers, and records from fraternal, religious, and other organizations.

Genealogical

1916 Houghton County Polk Directory
This scanned directory from 1916 contains a wealth of information about the people who lived in Houghton County. This information ranges from residency address to occupation and more. Other years of this directory are available at the Michigan Technological University Archives.

Archives of Michigan
The Michiganology website is a digital platform for those interested in the history of Michigan. This free-to-use site hosts over one million records related to the history of Michigan and its people. Particularly useful for the genealogist are Michigan State Census records (for available locations and dates, including Houghton and Keweenaw counties) and Death Certificates beginning in 1897. Naturalization records for Northern Michigan districts are currently being indexed and transcribed by volunteers.

Bureau of Land Management – General Land Office Records
Names and properties of those who purchased, homesteaded, or were granted lands by the federal government can be found through flexible searches here.

National Archives and Records Administration – Census Records Online & Other Resources
The National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) has digitized and transcribed copies of many census and other records available online. Some records require a free account with FamilySearch or subscription to Ancestry; federal census records through 1910 are free to view without a login.+

State Libraries and E-Libraries
Your state library system often offers access to genealogy and other digital databases, even if your local library does not. Library cards are usually available to all state residents. For residents of Michigan, these resources can be found at the Library of Michigan and Michigan’s Electronic Library.

General Use

National Parks Service Mobile App
Let a park ranger be your guide! The National Park Service App is the brand-new official app for all 420+ national parks. Find interactive maps, tours of park places, on-the-ground accessibility information, and more.

The Library of Congress: HABS/HAER/HALS
The Historic American Buildings Survey (HABS) and the Historic American Engineering Record (HAER) collections are among the largest and most heavily used in the Prints and Photographs Division of the Library of Congress. Since 2000, documentation from the Historic American Landscapes Survey (HALS) has been added to the holdings. The collections document achievements in architecture, engineering, and landscape design in the United States and its territories through a comprehensive range of building types, engineering technologies, and landscapes.

UPLINK Upper Peninsula Digital Network
Keweenaw Heritage Sites and other Upper Peninsula historical organizations have come together to provide a digital repository of information on Upper Peninsula History. Resources include newspapers, ledgers, photos, oral and video histories, and more.

Historical Photographs

Archives of Michigan
The Michiganology website is a digital platform for those interested in the history of Michigan. This free to use site hosts over one million records related to the history of Michigan and its people. Its Main Street photography collection includes many Copper Country communities.

Copper Country Reflections
Copper Country Reflections is a digital repository that hosts a wide range of historical sources associated with the Copper Country. Topics covered by these sources range from local to mining history.

Digital Public Library of America
This digital archive hosts millions of historical sources organized by date, location, and topic. These include Hathitrust and many State and University collections. In 2021, a search for the uniquely Copper Country term “Ontonagon” netted 2,471 results.

The Library of Congress: Prints and Photographs
This digital archive hosts more than one million images from the Library of Congress Collections. Collections of particular interest include the HABS/HAER reports, Detroit Publishing Company, and Farm Security Administration.

Michigan Tech Archives - Keweenaw Digital Archives
This digital archive has over 13,000 images from the Michigan Technological University Archives of mines, mills, towns, people, and everything related to the Copper Country.

 

Maps

Archives of Michigan
The Michiganology website is a digital platform for those interested in the history of Michigan. This free-to-use site hosts over one million records related to the history of Michigan and its people. Original Upper Peninsula survey maps and numerous copper mining company maps are held in this collection.

David Rumsey Historical Maps Collection
This digital archive hosts a wide range of maps from exploration to present, including artistic and photographic birds-eye views of cities and towns. Most of the uploaded maps are in high resolution.

Digital Public Library of America
This digital archive hosts millions of historical sources organized by date, location, and topic. Mine company reports, historical books, photos, directories, and maps may be found. In 2021, a search for the uniquely Copper Country term “Ontonagon” netted 2,471 results.

 
Screenshot from the Keweenaw Time Traveler website which shows a colored Sanborn fire insurance map
Keweenaw Time Traveler

Keweenaw Time Traveler
Here you will find historical data from archival collections from across the region — including the Michigan Tech Archives, the National Park Service, and the historical societies of Keweenaw, Houghton, and Ontonagon counties — brought together and connected over space and time using high-resolution scans of hundreds of historic maps. This space-time linked digital archive covers the Copper Country from about 1880–1970 and will keep growing into the future.

 
Colored map of Calumet in 1881
Map of Calumet from 1881 - Library of Congress

The Library of Congress: Maps
The Library of Congress collection offers a wide range of historical maps including many Sanborn Fire Insurance maps. The collection dates from the 1500s to present.

Michigan Plat Maps
The SOM General Land Office website offers historic plat maps for all of Michigan's counties. These are some of the earliest plat maps of Michigan from the survey which took place in the mid-1800s.

 
Historic map of Copper Harbor from NOAA
Historic map of Copper Harbor - NOAA

NOAA Historical Maps and Charts
The National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration hosts a wide range of nautical resources, including historical charts. Some of these resources date back to the 1800s.

USGS Historical Topographical Maps
Find topographical maps noting elevations, roads, public lands, structures, and more. Some Houghton County areas are shown as early as 1915.

 

Newspapers

Digital Michigan Newspapers
The Clarke Historical Library at Central Michigan University provides access to their digital newspaper collection, which includes titles from Calumet and L’Anse. Searchable by term through Optical Character Recognition. (OCR)

The Library of Congress: Historic Newspapers
This digital archive titled Chronicling America hosts 1,860 historic newspapers which are scanned, indexed, and partially transcribed. Dates for these sources range from 1836 to 1922. Information found within the pages of these newspapers range from obituaries, social news, and club news, to sports, business, mining, accidents, advertising, and more! Searchable by term through Optical Character Recognition (OCR).

Last updated: January 24, 2023

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Calumet , MI 49913

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