Kinsearching December 11, 2011




Marleta Childs
P. O. Box 6825
LUBBOCK, TX 79493-6825

     Are you, a friend, or a relative trying to trace ancestors in the Wolverine State? If your reply is “yes,” then Michigan Genealogy Research by Carol McGinnis will be a useful reference tool. It is one of the latest additions to the popular “Genealogy at a Glance” handy guides. Using the same format as the other items in the series, the publication provides in a condensed manner an overview of the basics for tracing forebears in the Midwestern state and offers many suggestions for locating and utilizing critical resources.

     Divided into seven parts, the guide manages to compact a vast amount of information into the allotted space. The short “quick facts” segment provides basic data dealing with geography, indigenous peoples, early European exploration, statehood, and current population. Perhaps the next section will be the most interesting to individuals who are just beginning to seek family connections in the Wolverine State. This segment gives a brief outline of the highlights that led to and increased the state’s settlement over the years. The high points include the founding of Detroit by the French in 1701, the importance of the fur trade, the area’s inclusion in the Northwest Territory in 1787, improvements in transportation (particularly the completion of the Erie Canal in 1825), and jobs (from the fur trade of the eighteenth century to the automobile industry of the twentieth century) that attracted people into the area. McGinnis also discusses the ancestry of Michigan’s pioneers; before 1820, for example, two-thirds of the settlers had French ancestry. Due to geography, Michigan residents moved freely across the border with its northern neighbor, so family information may also be available in Canadian records. As more European immigrants moved into the state, the ethnic diversity changed. By the beginning of the twentieth century, approximately one-fourth of Michigan’s inhabitants were foreign-born.

     In the rest of the segments, the compiler analyzes in more detail the major record resources utilized in family research and tells how to access them. McGinnis describes major resources such as vital, church, cemetery, land, and military records and census returns. Supplementary resources discussed include county histories and indexes as well as newspapers and obituaries. Major repositories are the topic of the next section; they include the Library of Michigan, the Archives of Michigan, the Burton Historical Collection in the Detroit Public Library, and the Bentley Historical Library at the University of Michigan. Free online resources are the subject of the last segment. Titles of references for further research appear at the end of several of the sections.

     Since the information is published in the form of a four-page folder, the laminated template can be stood up or lain down for convenient use at a computer in the home or in the public library. The lamination also keeps the material clean and intact after handling over a long period of time. As a result, Michigan Genealogy Research is a useful addition to the “Genealogy at a Glance” series.

     To the guide's price of $7.95, buyers should add the cost for postage and handling charges. For U. S. postal mail, the cost is $5.50 for one item and $2.50 for each additional copy; for FedEx ground service, the cost is $7.50 for one copy and $2.50 for each additional item. The guide (item order 3525) may be purchased by check, money order, MasterCard, or Visa from Genealogical Publishing Company, 3600 Clipper Mill Rd., Suite 260, Baltimore, Maryland 21211-1953. For phone orders, call toll free 1-800-296-6687; fax 1-410-752-8492; website

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