Genealogy and Local History Research

Community ServicesLester Public Library is pleased to offer a variety of local history and genealogy resources as well as a skilled staff who are always willing to help get you started on your research.

While more and more resources are available online, there are still a number of sources you can only access by visiting the library.  We maintain a microfilm collection of the local Two Rivers newspaper back to its inception as the Manitowoc County Chronicle in May 1872, through its years as the Two Rivers Chronicle, Two Rivers Reporter and continuing on to the present day incarnation of the Manitowoc Herald Times Reporter.  We have cemetery records, family histories, current and historical plat maps and many books of Two Rivers and Manitowoc County history.  Click here for a partial listing of our resources.

The next time you’re in the neighborhood doing research on your family or a particular topic of local history, stop in for a visit.  There’s no better place to start your research!

Manitowoc County History Digital Resources

Manitowoc County Genealogy

This is one of the best places to start researching your Manitowoc County roots. Visit the site.

Neshotah: the story of Two Rivers, Wisconsin

Long out of print, this book by Evan Gagnon has become the unofficial history of Two Rivers, WI.  The entire book is now freely available in digital format. Visit the site.

The Home Front: Manitowoc County in World War II

A digital collection of photographic images, oral histories, published sources, artifacts, and other resources which help to document the history and role of Manitowoc County, Wisconsin during World War II.  It covers both the more universally shared home front experiences and activities as they played out in this specific county, and those more unique activities which especially defined the area during the War. Visit the site.

Benke Photo & Postcard Collection

A collection of images taken by local photographer Hermann C. Benke featuring scenes and buildings from Manitowoc and Two Rivers.  From these photos, Benke then created hand-tinted postcards. Most of the photos date from the turn of the century. Visit the site.

Digital Histories of Manitowoc County

Fully digitized editions of local history classics.

Manitowoc County Genealogical Society

Lester Public Library is now a subscriber to the library edition of  You can access the information from the library’s computers at any time.  Ask us how on your next visit!

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Newspaper Index

Created by Lester Public Library staff and volunteers, this database contains obituaries, wedding, birth and adoption announcements and articles about Two Rivers.

This is now part of the regular Manitowoc-Calumet Library System catalog. To search, select Title as the field, then  type the person’s LAST name in the search box . To limit results, you can use the advanced search page and add one of the Subject terms (marriages, births or obituaries) in the Subject box.

Search the Catalog.

Historic Two Rivers Photos

Lester Public Library inherited a collection of photographs from a local photographer named Herbert Wentorf. His images focused on local landmarks, industries and institutions, and people going about daily life in Two Rivers. For reasons of preservation and protection, this outstanding collection spent many years housed in a locked cabinet at the library.

In 2011, the library applied for and received a grant to digitize the collection, making it accessible not just to local residents and visitors, but to anyone with an internet connection. To search or simply enjoy these fabulous historic photos, use the following link: