Elizabeth Eaton Florida History Reading Room & Collection -- The Eaton Room collection houses the following resources at the Downtown Central Library: City directories of Manatee County dating back to 1897, yearbooks from local high schools and private schools, some dating back to 1916, local newspapers, weekly and daily, on microfilm, historical maps and aerial photos, hundreds of books on local and Florida history, and items such as oral interviews and archival negatives from the Manatee County Historical Society have been added to the Eaton Room Collection over the past 40 years. 

Our Historic Digital Collections include over 35,000 images which portray Manatee County people, activities, and buildings from the late nineteenth century to the early 1980's, as well as hundreds of historic speeches and interviews and dozens of historic local maps.  Images are free to download for personal use and fair use. Please give credit to the Manatee County Public Library Historic Digital Collections if re-using these items. 


The Manatee County Downtown Central Library. The Library has an extensive genealogy collection that is available to the public. The collection's scope is largely for states east of the Mississippi River, concentrating on the colonial states, though we do have some materials from west of the Mississippi. Types of materials include:

  • Census Indexes
  • Census records in either book or microform format
  • Vital records (e.g. birth, marriage, death records, etc.)
  • General “how-to” references on tracing family records, how to do research or how to obtain and organize genealogical data
  • Maps, gazetteers, and atlases that assist in defining geographic boundaries of localities in this collection
  • State, county, city, or township histories that trace or identify early settlers or suggest research sources
  • Materials that identify or trace geographic name changes
  • Books or pamphlets that identify national migration trails, or ethnic migration patterns or dates
  • Nationally recognized genealogical periodicals; periodicals and newsletters from genealogical societies
  • Military rosters, church records or other community registers
  • Florida materials relating to genealogy will be placed in this collection and not in the Eaton Room 

This collection also includes materials on foreign ancestry including:

  • Immigration and passenger lists and related indexes
  • Introductions and general guides to research sources for foreign countries
  • Books that trace a particular nationality’s arrival, migration and settlement in the U.S.