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Death Record

How might I use the information in this collection?How might I use the information in this collection?

This collection consists of approximately 1.6 million death records created between 1921 and 1952. Records created between 1921 and 1941 include an image of the death certificate. Records from 1942-1952 are index-only. If you’re doing genealogy research, you might use these records to fill in gaps in your family history. You can find out where ancestors are buried, and even where some ancestors are born if they’re listed on a death certificate as someone’s parent. Effective in 1898, the following information was collected on death certificates:

  • Date of death
  • First and last name of deceased
  • ***
  • Color
  • Whether married, single, widowed, or divorced
  • Age in years, months and days
  • Place of death
  • Disease or apparent cause of death
  • Nativity of the deceased
  • Occupation, if over 10 years of age
  • If under that age, the names and residence of the parents, if known
  • Date of record
  • If married, age at first marriage
  • Parent of how many children
  • How many children are living
  • Birthplace (state or country if not born in Michigan)
  • Full names of both parents
  • Birthplaces of both parents
  • Proposed place and time of burial
  • Signature and address of reporter certifying above facts
  • Signature and address of undertaker


If you’re researching broader demographic trends, you might be able to compile statistics based on the information in these records.



Death Record

How do I find things in this collection?How do I find things in this collection?

You can search this collection by last name, first name, county, city/village/township, death year, birth year, an individual’s age at death, and an individual’s father’s first or last name by using the Advanced Search link at the top of any page within Seeking Michigan. Death records will be pre-selected for you. For each field you want to search, you’ll need to choose “all of the words,” “any of the words,” “the exact phrase,” or “none of the words” in the drop-down menu on the left, enter your search term in the text box, and choose the field you want to search from the drop-down menu on the right. Try searching multiple fields to get more focused results. For example, if you add your ancestor’s birth year to a search for his or her name, the results you get are more likely to be what you’re seeking. You can also use the “or” option to search multiple spellings of a name or multiple locations if you’re unsure of where someone died.



Death Record

What's the story behind this collection?What’s the story behind this collection?

Public Act 194 of 1867 required county clerks to file certain facts about all deaths recorded in their counties with the Secretary of State. (The information was later collected by the Department of Public Health and is now collected by the Department of Community Health.)


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What's the story behind this collection?What’s the story behind this collection?

This collection consists of scanned pages from the original Surveyors’ Field Notebooks. Commonly referred to as GLO notes, these handwritten notebooks were done between 1815 and 1918, and encompass the majority of the State of Michigan. The land survey divided all public domain of the State into township parcels, each approximately 36 square miles and divided again into 36 one mile sections. The survey covered 1,400 townships with the State of Michigan, and used over 2,000 notebooks.



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How do I find things in this collection?How do I find things in this collection?

This collection can be accessed by using the Township and Range of the parcel being researched. If you are unfamiliar with Michigan’s township and range system, or do not know the township and range of the parcel you are looking at please review the Archives of Michigan Look blog Land Ho! which details this system. Within the collection you can search by the township and range using the township number plus North or South followed by a space then the range number plus East or West, this would look like 25N 08W or 03S 01E. Please note that township and range numbers must always include two digits.

Additionally, the GLO Notes can be access using the Michigan county name, township name, Surveyors name, completion date, or specific volume number.



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What else can I find?What else can I find?

Researcher may also be interested in searching the Archives of Michigan GLO Plat Map collection where you can use the same township and range system to find maps that correspond with the GLO Notes. In addition, The Archives of Michigan has transcriptions of the original survey notes in both microfilm and bound formats that can be viewed in the reading room or can be ordered through the Archives services portal. Transcriptions may be useful to research because while also handwritten like the originals, they are generally more legible and laid out in a more simplistic format.


Please note that in order to preserve the integrity of the original GLO Notes they cannot be pulled for research in the Archives reading room. The Archives does have transcriptions of the original survey notes in both microfilm and bound formats that can be pulled for researchers at the Archives of Michigan. (more…)

How might I use the this collection?How might I use the this collection?

This collection consists of approximately 1,000 images of Michigan state census population schedules. The information collected varies by year and location, but only male heads of households and males over the age of 21 were listed by name. Other household members may have been counted, but not named. State census records can be a way to track your ancestors between federal censuses.



How do I find things in this collection?How do I find things in this collection?

You can search by name, county, township, and year by using the advanced search link that appears below the search box at the top of every page within Seeking Michigan. When the advanced search menu opens, you’ll want to uncheck “Death Records, 1897-1920” and click to put a check next to “Michigan State Census Records, 1827-1874.” Once you’ve selected the collection you’re searching, you can enter search terms and add/remove fields using the boxes and drop-down menus. You can search names by entering them as “Last name, First name” and searching the exact phrase or by searching the last name in one box, searching the first name in another box, and selecting “and” from the drop-down menu all the way on the right. If you’re unsure of a spelling or want to search multiple spellings of one name, you can select “or” from the drop-down menu. When your search results appear, you’ll be able to see the county, township, and year for each image. When you click on the thumbnail, you’ll be able to see the names listed.



What's the story behind this collection?What’s the story behind this collection?

The state of Michigan conducted its own regular and special censuses at various times throughout history. This collection of state census records is incomplete because many of the documents have been lost over time. It contains records from the following counties and years:

  • Branch (1857, 1874)
  • Clinton (1864)
  • Eaton (1845, 1854, 1864, 1874)
  • Houghton (1864, 1874)
  • Lenawee (1845)
  • Kalamazoo (1874)
  • St. Joseph (1845)
  • Sanilac (1864)
  • Washtenaw (1827, 1845, 1854)

Two stories are told about why the state’s copies of the schedules no longer exist—they were either donated to a paper drive during World War II or destroyed in a 1951 state office building fire. For a detailed description of Michigan’s censuses and how they were conducted, see LeRoy Barnett’s “Michigan Census Schedules and Records” in Family Trails, volume 5 (http://catalog.lib.msu.edu/record=b4223795~S37a).

We would like to thank the Library of Michigan for loaning us microfilm for scanning.


Civil War Volunteer Record

How might I use the information in this collection?How might I use the information in this collection?

This collection consists of scanned pages from Record of Service of Michigan Volunteers in the Civil War, which are commonly referred to as the “Brown Books.” These books give a brief outline of a soldier’s service and are the starting point for researching Civil War service records at the Archives of Michigan or on Seeking Michigan. Service records are organized by regiment and not indexed by name, so many researchers begin with the Brown Books when they don’t know the unit in which a soldier served.



Civil War Volunteer Record

How do I find things in this collection?How do I find things in this collection?

You can search the full text of the scanned pages by clicking on the Advanced Search link at the top of any page within Seeking Michigan. Soldiers are listed by last name first and the search does not pick up commas, so you’ll want to select “the exact phrase” from the drop-down menu on the left, enter the soldier’s last name and first name with no comma (“Henderson Samuel,” for example) in the text box, and select “all fields” from the drop-down menu on the right.



Civil War Volunteer Record

What's the story behind this collection?What’s the story behind this collection?

In 1903, the Michigan legislature passed Public Act 147, which assigned the Adjutant General to “prepare for publication an alphabetical regimental history of all soldiers and sailors” from Michigan who fought in the Civil War. The act required that each regiment be given its own volume and that an overall alphabetical index be compiled. The legislature appropriated $22,350 to cover costs of compiling and publishing this work, and publication was completed in 1915.


The Civil War Manuscripts collection consists of letters and diaries from the Civil War period (1861-1865). Most of the collection consists of personal narratives with a few official records concerning the war and later pensions.

Muster Record

What kind of information is in this collection?What kind of information is in this collection?

The records in this collection document the history of Michigan soldiers in the form of muster rolls, letters, lists of dead, monthly returns and other materials sent to the state Adjutant General during the war. Items were digitized with funds from a grant from the National Historical Publications and Records Commission.

Muster and descriptive rolls contain information about individual soldiers and may tell you a person’s name, birthplace, age, occupation, date and place of substitution or draft and muster, enrollment district, term, physical description, date of last pay, name of paymaster, amount of bounty paid or due, account of clothing, date of commencement of service, and company assigned. These records aren’t likely to contain information about other members of soliders’ families.

Regimental service records may contain correspondence, lists of officers and men, enlistment papers, recommendations for promotions, desertion lists, and remuster lists.



Letter

How do I find things in this collection?How do I find things in this collection?

Records in this collection are organized by military unit and company (First Michigan Infantry, Company B or Third Michigan Cavalry, Company F, for example), so you’ll need to know the regiment in which a soldier served in order to locate records specific to him. If you don’t know a soldier’s regiment, there are a couple of places you can check to find out what it was. The first is the Michigan Civil War Volunteer Registries. These books are searchable on Seeking Michigan, and the books and index are available for use in the Archives of Michigan reading room. You can also check the National Park Service’s Soldiers and Sailors Database.

Once you know the unit you want to research, use the Advanced Search link at the top of any page within Seeking Michigan to locate items related to that unit. (Be sure to change the check box from “Death Records” to “Civil War Service Records” first.) Numbers in titles are always spelled out, so you’ll want to search for “fourteenth,” rather than “14th.” One easy way to find items related to a particular unit would be to select “all of the words” in the drop-down menu on the left, type “fourteenth infantry” in the text box, and select “title” in the drop-down menu on the right. Please note that most of the items contain multiple pages. You can browse the pages in a document on the right side of the screen after the item loads. Once you’ve located items related to your soldier’s regiment, you can browse through them to find his name.



Enlistment Record

How might I use this collection?How might I use this collection?

You can use this collection to flesh out details about your ancestors’ military service. You might also use the letters to the Adjutant General to follow a regiment’s path into battle.


The Archives of Michigan has close to 1,400 Civil War photographs in its collections.

5th Cavalry Battle Flag

What kind of items are in this collection?What kind of items are in this collection?

This collection contains images of Civil War battle flags photographed by Peter Glendinning. Visitors to the State Capitol fondly remember its rotunda ringed with battle flags. These flags show the ravages not only of battle, but also of storage under less than ideal conditions. The flags are now stored at the Michigan Historical Center where they can lay flat, supported by archival fabric, in an environment where the temperature and humidity are controlled. (The Capitol now features reproductions of the original flags in its rotunda cases.)



1st Artillery Battle Flag

How do I find things in this collection?How do I find things in this collection?

If you’re looking for a flag from a specific regiment, you can use the advanced search link at the top of any page within Seeking Michigan to locate it. (Be sure to change the check box from “Death Records” to “Civil War Battle Flags” first.) Numbers are always spelled out in image titles, so you’ll want to search for “fourteenth,” rather than “14th.” To find flags from the Third Michigan Infantry, for example, select “all of the words” from the drop-down menu on the left, type “third infantry” in the text box, select “title” from the drop-down menu on the right, and click on the green search button.



18th Infantry Battle Flag

How do I help preserve this collection?How do I help preserve this collection?

You can help the Michigan Capitol Committee, the Save the Flags program, and the Michigan Historical Museum preserve these battle flags by becoming a sponsor. For more information about this program or to purchase a sponsorship, please visit the Michigan Civil War Battle Flags section of our Seeking Michigan online store.