Pure Michigan Genealogy
Do you still need to find more information about your Michigan ancestors? There are a few more resources that will help you with your research.
1. City Directories
- Ancestry.com-a number of city directories for Michigan are available here. You may be able to access ancestry at your local library, otherwise it is a paid site.
- Distant Cousins- a few Michigan city directories are available here.
- Michigan Online Historical Directories-clicking on a county takes one to a list of city directories available online. Not all counties are searchable. There is a mix of free and paid websites.
- Library of Michigan-a listing of what is available at the Library of Michigan.
- Bentley Historical Library-a listing of the cities available at this library.
- Public libraries, historical or genealogical societies-check with these in the area you are researching. Many of these institutions have their local directories in their collection. I can do Battle Creek, Michigan look-ups for you.
2. Correctional Facilities
- Archives of Michigan-a comprehensive card index(eventually will be online at seekingmichigan.org) is available for those who served time at one of Michigan's state prisons. Michigan inmate records are available for public access. There are also three circulars available, in pdf. form, to help with your research:
- Correctional Facilities, Circular No 3. This circular contains information on the three main prisons in Michigan: Jackson, Ionia, and Marquette.
- Pardons, Paroles, Warrants and Extraditions, Circular No. 48-is a table of what the Archives has available as well as the record group, a short description, and the date.
- Youths, Records Relating To, Circular No. 8- this group of records has restricted access. Contact information for further information is provided on the circular.
- Federal Bureau of Prisons-a United States database of federal prison inmates since 1982.
- Michigan Department of Corrections-a database for individuals who are or were under the management of the Department of Corrections. This database is for Michigan Prisons only, not city or county jails. If an individual has been released or paroled and is off supervision for more than three years, he/she will not be in the database.
- Skeletons in Michigan's Closets-a few early Prison Records.
3. Local and County Histories
- Arcadia Publishing Images of America and Postcard Series Books- You can search by state, "Michigan", you will find over 300 titles on Michigan. These books have historical images and facts about various areas in Michigan. I was never so excited as when I was looking at the Marquette book and saw a picture of my grandmother. I had to buy it! Anytime I am in an area that my ancestors lived, I go to a bookstore and see which Images of America books they have. I even have a board on Pinterest titled, My Images of America Ancestry.
- Genealogy, Inc.-First, be sure you are researching in the right county. Michigan has 83 counties and county boundaries have changed over time. Check the History and Facts of Michigan Counties for a table of all the counties and what their parent county was. Clicking on each county will take you to a genealogy page for that county. Check the Michigan County Formation Map for a map overlay from 1790-1930. This is an excellent website for Michigan, and other states, Genealogy.
- Michigan County Histories and Atlases-over 400 digitized works are available here. Most of the works were published before 1923. Click on browse to get an alphabetical listing of what is available or search by keyword on the home page. I have found this resource useful in learning about the early history of the counties I am researching. I even found a biographical sketch of an ancestor.
- Washtenaw County Historical Society-a listing of online county history resources for Washtenaw County and cities.
- Google Books-search google books to see if a digitized copy of your county history is online. I know that History of Kent County, Michigan and History of Washtenaw County, Michigan are available in full, for free. There are other counties available through google books.
- Library of Michigan-you will find the state's largest collection of newspapers here. Newspapers span over 200 years and are available for all counties in Michigan. If you live in Michigan, you can request the microfilm through inter-library loan system. Out of state libraries may request copies of the newspaper with a complete citation.
- Newspaper Family Histories-scroll down on website page to see if a newspaper was published for the city or town you are researching. The titles, publishing dates and newspaper history is included by city name.
- Local Libraries-I cannot stress enough about using the local library in the location you are researching. Check the local library online card catalog, or email them for information. I know my local library, Willard Library, Helen Warner Branch, in Battle Creek, Michigan will do newspaper look ups if you ask nicely.
- Michigan Online Historical Newspapers- a listing of free and paid newspaper sites for Michigan.
- Michigan Newspaper List-a list of current published newspapers
- NUCMC-national and international databases that catalogs manuscripts.
- WorldCat-the world's largest collection of libraries, it has more than books and manuscripts.
- Archive Grid-this website provides detailed archival collection descriptions, over two million descriptions. A list of archives, by state, can be found here too.
- State Archives of Michigan, Circular No. 55
- Bentley Historical Library-
- Burton Historical Collection-Sprenger's Guide to the Manuscripts in the Burton Historical Collection Detroit Public Library is available.
- Check colleges and universities in your area of research for manuscript collections.
- Detroit Society for Genealogical Research Magazine
- Family Trails-a no longer in print publication of the State Department of Education. Copies available at Library of Michigan.
- Michigana a publication of the Western Michigan Genealogical Society
- Michigan Heritage-a no longer in print publication of the Kalamazoo Valley Genealogical Society, available at Library of Michigan and Family History Library.
- Generations-my local society, Calhoun County Genealogical Society, has an online every name index for their publication, "Generations".
- Michigan History
- Historical Society of Michigan-current issue information
- Previous issues-Michigan residents can access issues dating back to 1998 through the Michigan Electronic Library (MeL) system. On the MeL site, select MeL databases, then General Reference Center Gold. At the reference site, select "Publication Search" and enter "Michigan History Magazine".
- Google Books-1917-1922 full issues available by search Michigan History Magazine.
- Index to Michigan Research in Genealogical Periodicals by Maud Quigley, is available online thanks to the Western Michigan Genealogical Society.
- PERSI-Periodical Source Index is a subject index to genealogical and family history periodicals. It is available through ancestry.com, and Heritage Quest. For more information on PERSI, check out the Family Search Wiki on it.
- Pioneer Certificate Program-many counties sponsor a Michigan Pioneer Certificate Program. Residents had to provide proof that their relatives were pioneers to receive the certificate. Check your ancestors' county to see if they participated. Some of the certificates are indexed online. Below are a few examples:
- Western Michigan Genealogical Society
- Herrick Library, Holland Michigan
- Calhoun County Genealogical Society
- Delta County Genealogical Society
- Michigan Pioneer Records at the Library of Michigan
- Michigan Centennial Farm Association-locate farms in Michigan that have been in the same family for 100 years or more. You can search by county to see a list of Centennial Farms in that county. It is not up to date as there is a centennial farm in my family and it is not listed.
- Archives of Michigan Circular No. 11
- Michigan School Records
- Annuals at Dead Fred-a few Michigan ones can be found here.
- School Alumni Lists
- Michigan GenWeb-several counties in Michigan have school records on here.
9. Surname Index
- A two volume set with over 100,000 surnames of Michigan ancestors. Not all names lived in Michigan, they just were ancestors of Michigan. Available at Family History Library, Library of Michigan and Amazon.
There are so many websites that can help you with your research, I am not sure where to begin. I have selected a few to help you with your research.
- Genealogy, Inc.
- Michigan Gen Web
- Poorhouses in Michigan
- Michigan Place Names
- Cyndi's List-Michigan
- Michigan Blogs
- Michigan Genealogy Trails
- and so many more!
The above resources are ones that I have found helpful in my research, it is by no means conclusive. There are many great resources available for your Michigan research. Do you have a Michigan resource I haven't mentioned? Please share it with a comment. I hope you have success with your research.
Pure Michigan Genealogy is a series of posts on researching in Michigan. I am posting a blog article every day this week as Michigan celebrates Michigan Week. Michigan Week is a time when Michigan celebrates its' heritage. What Else is There? 10 More Resources is number six in the series. Previous posts in this series are below: