RESEARCH MATERIALS AVAILABLE AT THE LIBRARY
****************************************************************

ANCESTRY LIBRARY EDITION
AMERICAN ANCESTORS, a gift of Judith Huber Halseth, Ed.D

NON-CIRCULATING COLLECTIONS

AREA AND FAMILY HISTORIES
Search the
library catalog and the catalog of the VBRGS  

SOUTHWEST MICHIGAN CEMETERIES
A collection of hundreds of books containing transcriptiions, obituraries, mass
cards, etc.

BESS BRITTON ONE-ROOM SCHOOLHOUSE COLLECTION

CITY AND TELEPHONE DIRECTORIES   

MICHIGAN PLAT BOOK COLLECTION

NEWSPAPERS
Bloomingdale Leader  (microfilm)     
Covert Times (microfilm)     
Courier Leader [Paw Paw] (microfilm)
Decatur Republican (digital and microfilm)
Marcellus News (microfilm)     
South Haven Daily Tribune (microfilm)     
Berrien County Record (Buchanan)  (microfilm)    

MICHIGAN SOLDIER OBITUARY INDEX, 1899 -1938

SOUTHWEST MICHIGAN OBITUARY COLLECTION

PERIODICALS

PHOTOGRAPH COLLECTION INDEX  

VITAL RECORDS
(Allegan, Berrien, Cass, Kalamazoo & Van Buren counties)

COURT RECORDS

YEARBOOK COLLECTION  

MICROFILM COLLECTION
OVER 1200 REELS OF VITAL RECORDS, CENSUS RECORDS,
NEWSPAPERS, PROBATE RECORDS, CHANCERY RECORDS, ETC.

These are only some of the collections that make the
VBDL an outstanding genealogical and historical
research destination.
TONI I. BENSON ROOM OF LOCAL HISTORY AND GENEALOGY
WEBSTER MEMORIAL LIBRARY
200 N. PHELPS ST.
DECATUR, MI
269.423.4771
MAP

www.vbdl.org
email - localhistory@vbdl.org

Pam Pender, Librarian
Amy Druskovich, Library Clerk

DEPARTMENT HOURS
Mon thru Fri. 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Sat. 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Closed Sundays and Holidays             
"Toni was a charter member of the
VBRGS. She served as president of
the society and on the board of
directors for many years. She was
the visionary and driving force behind
the many projects of the society and
a major contributor to the society's
success."
Joyce Beedie

TONI I. BENSON
1962-201
3

The Van Buren District Library and its staff,
patrons, and researchers far and wide who
recognize the local history’s department’s
value as a major center for genealogy and
local history, will greatly miss Librarian Toni
Benson.

Her contributions to the community were
obvious: she transformed the local history
department into a well-known resource, she
helped unlock doors and solved mysteries
for family history researchers, and she
created for so many people a love of
genealogy.  

Toni began her career at the library as the
bookmobile librarian in 1988, and then
was named the library’s first local history
librarian in 1995.  Besides her regular
hours as a paid employee, she also
donated countless hours as a volunteer
throughout the years.  Her talents
continually developed as a result of her
passion and love for preserving
documents, newspapers, manuscripts,
indexes and photographs, and then more
importantly, by making them accessible for
patrons.  She was prolific in terms of the
sheer volume of work she started and
finished.  Projects of all sizes were always
being devised, led, and completed under
her watch.  Particularly, she knew the
tremendous value of indexes, and so,
indexing projects abounded, and as a
result of her hard work in that area, today’s
researchers at the Webster Memorial
Library have many special “keys” into
previously locked resources.

Her lasting legacy here at the library is
evidenced in many ways: the local history
room, an outstanding collection of unique
and accessible resources, the dedicated
corps of trained volunteers from the Van
Buren Regional Genealogical Society and
the library, and researchers who have
come to value this place and who have
confidence in knowing they will receive
great service.  The local history department
will never be the same without her,
however, it is a great place because of her,
and for that we are thankful.

Written by Ryan Wieber, Director of the Van
Buren District Library, August 2013
PLANNING A VISIT
The research collection is  
located at the Webster
Memorial Library, 200 N.
Phelps St., Decatur, MI. It is
the best collection for
genealogy research in
southwest Michigan. The
collect is easy to access and
browsing is encouraged.
Parking at the library is
convenient and there are
places to eat within walking
distance.
MAP