Jessica Miller & Jill Arnold, Archives of MichiganLook60
Why did we change Seeking Michigan?
The company that hosts our digital collections upgraded its product. It rolled out a new version that was markedly different from the previous versions and, as it happened, was not compatible with our Web site. We had to adapt our Web site to incorporate their changes.
This new version required moving our items to a different location, which means they now have new Web addresses. Any bookmarks created before the change will no longer work. We are currently working with Ancestry.com to connect their index of our death records to the correct images.
Where did the death records go?
Death records from 1897-1920 are still freely available on Seeking Michigan, and we are happy to continue making them accessible. You can now search death records from any page within Seeking Michigan.
The Advanced Search link is now underneath the search box at the top of every page. Use the following steps to begin searching:
Click the “Advanced Search” link.
Death records will be pre-selected for you.
Use the drop-down menus that appear below the “Find results with:” heading to construct your search. Last name, given name, death year, county and all of the fields you’re used to searching appear in these menus. (See the image below for an example.)
Once you have search results, you can use the filters on the left side of the results screen to narrow them down.
In the image above, you can see that ten counties are listed under the “County” filter. This doesn’t necessarily mean that there are only results from ten counties—the filters only show the ten counties with the most results. You can also sort your results by any of the fields shown in the results by clicking on the column heading. If you select a filter and decide that you’ve narrowed your results too much, you can remove it by clicking the blue X at the top of the results list. (See the image below.)
What have we added to Seeking Michigan?
When it became apparent that we’d need to redesign Seeking Michigan, we took the opportunity to assemble some basic information about conducting research at the Archives of Michigan and put it all in one place. You’ll find this information in the Seek tab now. When you hover your mouse over the Seek tab, you’ll find links to Archives subject guides, indexes to a variety of Archives records, and a rundown of what to expect if you visit the Archives for research.
We’re also in the process of expanding our collection descriptions, and you can see an example of what they’ll look like on the main page of our death records collection. We’ll tell you a little bit about what each collection contains, how the records are organized, and how you might use the records. We hope that adding this information will be helpful when new users visit the site as well as when we add new collections.
We heard your concerns, and we’re working to address them in our own design as well as with our digital collections host. In the future, we will plan to let our users know well in advance if we plan a major site redesign project.
We’re also working hard to expand the descriptions for the rest of our collections and to continue to add new collections. You may have noticed that we’ve started to add state census records. This is an ongoing project, and some of the approximately 65,000 images are probably uploading as you read this.
We hope you continue to enjoy using Seeking Michigan as much as we enjoy playing a part in making Michigan history more accessible.