• Welcome!

    The Special Collections Division houses the genealogy and local history materials of the Akron-Summit County Public Library. Our goal is to collect, preserve, and provide access to the history of Summit County, and to continue to maintain one of the area’s most extensive genealogy collections.

  • Local History Database

    The database contains references to the Library's local history collections as well as the Summit County Historical Society's collections. Search the index to the collections.
  • Summit Memory

    Visit the online scrapbook of Summit County History at www.SummitMemory.org
  • Summit County World War II News Index

    This database indexes the names of Summit County servicemen and servicewomen who were named in the Akron Beacon Journal during World War II. Some non-military names are also included. This database currently includes records up through January 31, 1943. World War II Database
  • Summit County Myths Wiki

    Find out if that rumor, myth or legend about Akron or Summit County Ohio is true - visit the Summit County Myths Wiki.

Classes & Events

Please register for classes held at Main Library by contacting Special Collections at 330-643-9030 or speccollections@akronlibrary.org. Walk-ins may attend if the class is not full.

To register for classes held at branches, please call the branch. Phone numbers can be accessed by clicking on the branch name.

All classes are free of charge and open to the general public.

Please note that the start time for Main Library Saturday classes is now 10:30 am.

Class Schedule through November 2014

 Getting Started in Family History
Are you interested in discovering your family’s history or tracing your genealogy? The Special Collections Division is pleased to offer orientation sessions for new family historians. Each session will include an overview of the resources available at the Akron-Summit County Public Library, suggestions for getting started and tips for organizing your research.
Saturday, November 8, 2014, 10:30 am – 12:30 pm: Main Library, Meeting Room 1

Getting Started in African American Genealogy
Do you want to trace your African American family tree?  Not sure how or where to begin?  The Special Collections Division presents a two-hour class for genealogy beginners who have a specific interest in African American ancestral research. You’ll learn genealogy research methods, tips and tools for getting organized, common sources used by genealogists, resources specific to African Americans, and challenges in researching African American ancestors.
Saturday, November 22, 2014, 10:30 am – 12:30 pm: Main Library, Meeting Room 1

Using Ancestry in Your Genealogy Research
With more than 9,000 databases and 200 billion images, Ancestry is the premier online genealogy resource–and it’s available to you for free within any ASCPL location. This class will introduce you to the many features of Ancestry Library Edition and show you how to do efficient and effective searches. When possible, time for practice searching is also provided. Because electronic resources are used, basic computer skills are recommended.
Tuesday, October 7, 2014, 6:30 pm - 7:30 pm: Tallmadge Branch
Thursday, October 9, 2014, 6:00 pm – 7:30 pm: Fairlawn-Bath Branch

1910UnitedStatesFederalCensusFinding Your Family in the U.S. Census
United States census records are valuable resources when you are researching your genealogy. Join us to learn more about using these records in your family research and how to effectively search the census using the databases Ancestry Library Edition and Heritage Quest. As the emphasis will be on using electronic resources, basic computer skills are recommended. Click here to view the workbook.
Wednesday, November 12, 2014, 2:00 pm – 3:30 pm: Nordonia Hills Branch

Branching Out: U.S. Vital Records and Obituaries
In this class, participants will learn the types of information and sources encountered in genealogy research, and what to expect when working with United States vital (birth, marriage and death) records and obituaries. Basic search strategies for finding these records in both online and traditional sources will also be discussed. Because this class will use Internet resources, basic computer skills are recommended.
Wednesday, October 8, 2014, 2:00 pm – 3:30 pm: Nordonia Hills Branch

Identifying Your Family Photographs
A picture may be worth a thousand words, but unlocking the stories of unidentified photographs requires some sleuthing. Join us for this free class on the tips and techniques for identifying historic photographs. Learn to read clues, such as the type of photograph, clothing and hairstyles, and even whether or not subjects are smiling, to reveal the stories behind every photograph. The class will also take a look at how genealogy databases and local history resources can be used to identify your family photographs.
Saturday, October 25, 2014, 10:30 am – 12:30 pm: Main Library, Meeting Room 1

Finding Your Immigrant Ancestors
Most of us will find immigrant ancestors somewhere in our family tree. Their travels to the United States and along the path to U.S. citizenship are often documented, but finding these records is sometimes a challenge. Join staff from the Special Collections Division for a discussion of identifying immigrant ancestors and locating passenger lists and naturalization records. As we will be using electronic resources, basic computer skills are recommended.
Saturday, November 1, 2014, 10:30 am – 12:30 pm: Main Library, Computer Lab 2

Genealogy for Kids & Teens
This 60-minute session, geared for family historians under age 18, explains how to get started in genealogy. Each session will include an overview of the genealogical resources available at ASCPL; from books and magazines to the Internet and microfilm. Charts, forms and tips for getting started and staying organized are provided. Popular topics such as oral history, family cookbooks or journals, and scrapbooking are discussed. Click here to view the handout.                                               No Genealogy for Kids & Teens classes are currently scheduled.

“Discovering Your English and Irish Ancestors”   Saturday, October 4th, 9:30-4:30, Main Library Auditorium

Join us along with internationally known lecturer and professional genealogist, Paul Milner MilnerPaul-240x300[1]and learn more about those ancestors in your family tree that may have arrived from the British Isles long ago. Paul will be teaching us about English parish records, how to research maps and gazetteers of the United Kingdom, Irish families that came to America, and much more. For registration and information call the Special Collections Division at 330-643-9030, or email us at: speccollections@akronlibrary.org.


Late Night at the Library   Friday, September 5, 2014

late night logoOn Friday, September 5, the Main Library will close at its regular time of 6 pm but will reopen for genealogists from 6:30 to 10:30 pm.  Mingle with fellow researchers as you uncover the details of your ancestry.  Tours and a “mini” Getting Started session will be offered at 6:45.  Refreshments and door prizes will be provided and parking is free in the deck next door to the library, if you enter it after 6:00 pm.  For additional information contact the Special Collections Division by phone: 330.643.9030 or email: speccollections@akronlibrary.org.



Learning Opportunities from other Organizations

Meetings of the Summit County Chapter of the Ohio Genealogical Society feature speakers on a variety of genealogical topics. Meetings are free and open to the public. You do not have to be a member to attend. See their events calendar for upcoming topics.


Family Search offers a variety of free online classes.


Past Events

Discovering Your Immigrant Ancestors August 3, 2013

Discovering Your Civil War Ancestors August 11, 2012

Photography for the Family Historian March 31, 2012

Discovering Your Ancestors Online August 6, 2011

Do You Have a Revolutionary War Ancestor? March 12, 2011

Preparing for an Adoption Search Spring, 2006


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