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Archives & Special Collections: Genealogy research

The homepage for the Archives and Special Collections department of Musselman Library.

Notice to non-University users

Important message for our non-university researchers and visitors:

To honor COVID-19 precautions as outlined in the Bluffton University Protect The Dam guidelinesno campus visitors or guests are permitted in Musselman Library except for recruiting visits that are managed through the admissions office.  We regret this inconvenience to Bluffton alumni, area residents, and guests to campus, who may wish to use library resources in person. 

Questions about this policy may be directed to Carrie Phillips, interim library director (419-358-3275,  


The Mennonite Historical Collections include a number of resources to assist family history researchers with genealogy efforts. Genealogy materials are available for use by appointment.

Below is an overview of some of the genealogy research resources we offer.



The Mennonite Historical Collections include over 3,000 volumes of family histories and supporting texts. All are available by searching the library's catalog. One strategy is to search a surname using both keyword and subject searches. A member of the library staff can assist you in these searches. If you are planning a visit to the library for research, it may be helpful for you to search the catalog prior to your visit. The staff would be happy to pull and set aside for you any books which you find via a catalog search and would like to see in person.


Musselman Library subscribes to several genealogy research publications, including several for Mennonite family history research.

Click here to see genealogy research periodicals and serial publications in the library catalog (opens in a new window).

Local newspapers: The collection also includes the following:

Bluffton Standard: June 26, 1873 (stored with Bluffton News loose issues in flat file, see below)

Bluffton News; loose issues stored in folders in the Archives and Special Collections floor flat files (please ask at the Circulation/Info desk for assistance):

July 31, 1879

July 29, 1880

April 21, 1881

November 5, 1885

July 19, 1888

August 30, 1888

September 13, 1888

October 11, 1888

November 22, 1888

April 28, 1892

May 26, 1892

March 16, 1893

September 28, 1893

October 5, 1893

September 5, 1895

June 28, 1900

December 4, 1919

Bluffton News, microfilm:  May 28, 1896 - May 4, 1933.  Please ask at the Circulation/Info desk for for access to microfilm collections.

Bluffton News, paper: 1922-present.  Current year stored on library's main floor with other newspapers.  Older issues in boxes on the Archives and Special Collections floor (please ask at the Circulation/Info desk for assistance).

Pandora Times: January 10, 1902 - November 17, 1988 (microfilm)

Please ask for assistance with any microfilm at the Circulation/Info Desk. The Bluffton News paper backfiles are kept on the Archives and Special Collections floor; please make arrangements with Carrie (see contact information at the top of the page) to use this material, or ask for assistance at the Circualtion/Info Desk.

Other materials

The library's collections include selected census microfilm from 1790-1930. Some of this microfilm content may also be available online from the US Census Bureau. Our census microfilm is stored in a cabinet on the main floor of the library, and there is a digital microfilm scanning workstation available on that floor. Please ask for assistance at the Circulation/Info Desk if you would like to use this material.

Other institutions and organizations

These other institutions and organizations may be helpful for continuing your family history research. Their mention here does not imply endorsement by Musselman Library or Bluffton University. These institutions may have their own research policies, and you should contact each institution for more information on those policies.

Allen County Public Library: Genealogy Center (Fort Wayne, IN)

Center for Archival Collections, Bowling Green State University (Bowling Green, OH)

Ohio Genealogical Society Library (Mansfield, OH)

Librarian Info

Carrie Phillips's picture
Carrie Phillips
Musselman Library