One particularly interesting death record is for John Horn, Jr. You wouldn’t know it from his death certificate, but Horn was awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor in 1874 “for his heroic exploits in rescuing men, women and children from drowning in the Detroit River.” According to his 14 April 1920 obituary in the Detroit News, Horn was credited with 135 rescues from the Detroit River – an amazing number and achievement. As a younger man following the Civil War, Horn also, interestingly, was an outfielder for the Detroit Base Ball Club, one of the very early baseball clubs here in Michigan.
From Horn’s death certificate, we can see he was born in Devonshire, England in 1843, died in Detroit on 12 April 1920 and was buried in Woodmere Cemetery in Detroit. Both of Horn’s parents’ names are also revealed, including his mother’s maiden name. Not surprisingly, his Congressional Medal of Honor, life-saving accolades and early baseball career are not mentioned on the certificate; this example illustrates that there is so much more to someone’s life than just the certificate of his or her death. An early baseball career, saving 135 lives, the Congressional Medal of Honor – what a fascinating life and terrific story!
SEEKING MICHIGAN DEATH RECORDS PROJECT IS 99% COMPLETE
So what years and counties are now here at Seeking Michigan? This digital project is based on the Library’s collection of microfilmed Michigan death records from 1897-1920. Of the 302 rolls of microfilm, only one has not yet been added to the site; this roll includes records from 1919 for Lenawee, Livingston, Luce, Mackinac, Macomb, Manistee, Marquette, Mason, Mecosta and Menominee Counties. Outside of these records, there are a few additional problematic records that will be added in the near future. Again, this death records collection is now 99% complete.
The list below details what records are currently available; [incomplete] means that 1919 Lenawee County is not yet fully loaded, not that the whole run of counties listed is incomplete.
To summarize, the years 1897-1918 and 1920 are now complete for the entire state. 1919 is also complete, except for the 10 counties listed above. Detroit and Wayne County are complete for the entire run of 1897-1920. To link directly to the death records collection on Seeking Michigan, click here: Michigan Death Records, 1897-1920.