Local History & Genealogy

Welcome to our Local History & Genealogy page. Here you will find multiple resources to further your research.

Important Resources

The library maintains several popular and traditional materials for in-library use only. Below is a list of some of the more popular items.

Muscatine Journal On Microfilm

The library maintains the entire Muscatine Journal on Microfilm from Dec. 11th, 1840 through Dec. 31st, 2009. As of January 1st, 2010, the Muscatine Journal will be archived as PDFs and stored on DVDs. Both the Journal on microfilm and in PDF format are stored in the Reference area. For assistance in using these resources please inquire at the Information Desk.



Ancestry.com has the largest collection of genealogical data available online to help you find your ancestors. Users of Ancestry.com can access over 2 billion names in more than 3,000 databases to help them extend their family trees. Ancestry.com offers many valuable databases. Ancestry.com is available within Musser Public Library on the Library computers.

Heritage Quest

With HeritageQuest online you can find ancestors and relatives in the complete set of US Federal Census records from 1790-1920. You can also find information on people and places described in over 25,000 family and local history books all online!

To access HeritageQuest please click here and have your library barcode number ready.

Newspaper Archive

NewspaperARCHIVE is the world’s best resource for historical and genealogical information. Our unique archive spans more than 400 years of family history, small-town events, world news and more. Explore your family tree and discover your history at NewspaperARCHIVE, the world’s largest online newspaper archive.

To access this resource in the library click here.

To access this resource from a remote location click here.

Sanborn Maps

Sanborn fire insurance maps are the most frequently consulted maps in both public and academic libraries. Sanborn Maps are valuable historical tools for anyone who wants to learn about the history, growth, and development of American cities, towns, and neighborhoods. This includes information such as the outline of each building, the size, shape and construction materials, heights, and function of structures, location of windows and doors. The maps also give street names, street and sidewalk widths, property boundaries, building use, and house and block numbers.

Digital Archives

History Of Buildings & Neighborhoods Of Muscatine

From 2002-2008, the Muscatine Historic Preservation Commission completed two major studies identifying and evaluating the historic buildings in Muscatine. The commission donated these surveys and nominations to the library in both print and digital form. They can be accessed here in their entirety.

Muscatine City Directories Digital Archives Of Musser Public Library

Through Newspaperarchive.com, Musser Public Library provides access to select volumes from Muscatine City Directories from 1856-1959. These directories are keyword searchable. Click here to access the archive.

Muscatine High School Yearbooks (The Auroran)

Musser Public Library is digitizing our collection of Muscatine High School (MHS Auroran) Yearbooks. As we add more to the collection they will be viewable here. Click on the cover to be redirected to a gallery with all the pages from each yearbook. They can be accessed here.

Nichols High School Digital Archives

Nichols High School in the Town of Nichols, Muscatine County, Iowa, was the heart and soul of the Nichols community. It was the one institution that united all who lived there. Then the Iowa State Department of Education decided that the 1961 Senior class would be the last to graduate from Nichols High School and the Nichols Independent School District would be merged with a larger adjacent school district.

The purpose of the Nichols High School Digital Archives is to assemble, digitize, organize and preserve the presently existing historical record of Nichols High School and its 495 alumni.

Photograph Collections

Musser Public Library is home to several local photographic collections. These include both historical negatives of the area as well as images by local-area professional photographers who have donated their negatives to the library.

Upper Mississippi Valley Digital Image Archive

The Upper Mississippi Valley Digital Image Archive is an online visual collection of historic images showcasing the Mississippi River region along the Iowa/Illinois border.

Explore the region as seen through the eyes of the late 19th and early 20th century people who lived here. Included in the archive are several thousand images from the Oscar Grossheim Collection, housed and maintained by Musser Public Library. To learn more about Oscar, visit his Wikipedia page.

The archive currently features photographs from the collections of Davenport Public Library, Augustana College, Buffalo Historical Society, Galesburg Public Library, Putnam Museum, Rock Island County Historical Society, Rock Island Public Library, and Musser Public Library in Muscatine.


Grossheim Photographic Index

The Oscar Grossheim Collection, which consists of over 50,000 glass plate negatives taken from approximately the late 1890′s to the early 1940′s and include stunning portraits of local citizens as well as critically important local scenes. Over 3,000 images from the Grossheim Collection have been digitally archived and uploaded to the Upper Mississippi Valley Digital Image Archive, where they can be viewed.

On the Grossheim Photographic Index page you will find a searchable database that lists all known entries in Oscar Grossheim’s logbooks. While we cannot guarantee that all entries will have a corresponding negative (some have been lost or damaged beyond repair over the past 100+ years), we will do our best to locate the requested item.

Birth, Marriage, & Death Index

The library provides an online, keyword searchable database that you can use to search for information regarding your research. The Index is not complete, but rather a work in progress. Click here to access the Index.

Muscatine County Probate Records

Since 1839, the County of Muscatine has collected and preserved area probate records. Due to storage and archival issues, the county archived on microfilm, all probate records from 1839-1968. This resulted in 91 total rolls. These 91 rolls are available for viewing at the County Clerk’s Office at the Muscatine County Court House. Copies of rolls 1-17 are available at Musser Public Library. All probate records after 1968 are in paper form and are available at the County Clerk’s Office at the Muscatine County Court House.

County Clerk’s Office
Muscatine County Courthouse
401 East Third Street, Second Floor
Muscatine, IA 52761
(563) 263-6511

Both the County Clerk’s Office and Musser Public Library have a card based index to rolls 1-91 that indicate the name of the individual on the particular record, the probate record number, and the microfilm roll on which that record is located. Furthermore, the Muscatine Genealogy Society has compiled two separate, detailed indexes of rolls 1-17. The first index is alpha-indexed by last name and the second index is in numerical order by roll number.

These indexes are available online at the Muscatine County IAGenWeb Site, in paper form at Musser Public Library, and as downloadable PDFs located below.

For assistance in locating and viewing probate records from rolls 1-17 at Musser Public Library, please contact the Reference Desk at 563-263-3065 or refmus@muscatineiowa.gov.

  • Probate Rolls 1-17 Numeric-Index (PDF)
  • Probate Rolls 1-17 Alpha-Index (PDF)



Iowa Genealogical Society

Located in Des Moines, Iowa, the Iowa Genealogical Society’s mission is to create and foster an interest in genealogy and to aid others in researching their family history.

The purpose of the Iowa Genealogical Society is to meet the educational needs of its members and the general public through the acquisition, preservation and dissemination of genealogical, historical and cultural information. Click here to access the site.

MAGIC (Muscatine Area Geographic Information Consortium)

MAGIC is a free resource provided to the citizens of Muscatine that facilitates research into all the properties in the local area. Areas of information include Deed Holder, Lot Area, Property History, Valuation, & Taxation along with other valuable items. Click here to access the service.

Muscatine County, IAGenWeb Site

The Muscatine County, IAGenWeb site contains a wealth of information to assist you in your family history research. From cemetery records to historical photographs, you’ll find a plethora of links and resources to get started on your search. Click on this link to access their site.

Muscatine Co. Iowa Genealogy Website

The Muscatine Co. Iowa Genealogy web page provides information and links to several genealogy resources as well as references to Louisa, Scott, Johnson and Cedar Counties. Click on this link to access the site.


Find A Grave

Find A Grave’s mission is to find, record and present final disposition information from around the world as a virtual cemetery experience. Find A Grave is a resource for anyone in finding the final disposition of family, friends, and “famous” individuals. Click here to access the site.

Midwest Genealogical Center

Located in Independence, Missouri, The Midwest Genealogy Center (MGC) is one of the nation’s preeminent resources for family history, providing access to almost three-quarter of a million on-site materials. There are over 17,000 genealogy and local history books available on interlibrary loan.

The Midwest Genealogy Center will provide limited research, look ups, answer your genealogy-related questions, and provide suggestions to break those brick walls. Click here to access this website.

The National Archives

The National Archives has a very large collection of useful genealogy records. While most of the records are not available on-line, the website provides extensive research tools such as microfilm indexes, an on-line catalog providing access to data, digitized records, selected series from Access to Archival Databases (AAD), over one million electronic records from the Electronic Records Archives (ERA), all of the web pages from Archives.gov, and all of the web pages from the Presidential Libraries. Click here to access the site.