Step back in time with the historical society.

June 4, 2021

Step back in time with the historical society.

HART — “We collect old things, even some new things, but only things associated with Oceana County and its people,” states a press release from the Oceana County Historical and Genealogical Society.

The historical society’s Chadwick-Munger Building, located at 114 Dryden Street across the street from the Oceana County Sheriff’s Office, is open to the public Wednesdays from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. 

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The oldest marriage certificate in the historical society files dates to 1867. The newest is 2000. The oldest marriage invitation is dated 1937. The oldest marriage license is from 1907. Marriage records used to include a photograph of the bride and the groom.

Loretta Harjes works on keeping the thousands of obituaries in order at the Oceana County Historical and Genealogical Society headquarters in Hart.

The oldest high school diploma on file is 1879.

The oldest college diploma is dated 1930.

The oldest grade-school promotion certificate (from one grade to another) is 1892.

The oldest baptism certificate dates from 1913 –  written in German. 

The historical society also has a collection of military records brought by settlers from their native counties. The English transcription is included alongside the digital image of the original record.

The who, what, when, where and why of these records, and so many more, is (or soon will be) included in the master index, available for public viewing from any computer 24/7. Check it out at, under the “Research” tab, then “Master Index.”   

There are currently 1,009,000+ entries in the online master index. In July, the past year’s work will be added, which will bump that number up to at least 1,074,000. 

John McNamara works in the photo room.

“Please remember us with donations of school graduation and reunion invitations, announcements, photographs, awards, programs; engagement and/or marriage records, photographs, programs; multi-generational photos, announcements; funeral home cards, programs; military documents, photos, uniforms, awards. ‘Tis history we keep, for the next generation.”

Oceana County Historical and Genealogical Society is a non-profit, donation and membership-funded entity. Call (231) 873-2600 for more information. 

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