Friday, August 07, 2009

I Found 23 Ancestors in the Library of Michigan

I enjoyed TK Sands' three "I Found..." posts at her blog, Before My Time. She writes how she "found" her great-great-grandmother and her grandmother's baby at the Library of Michigan (actually, she found their death certificates), and also how she found 500 genealogists on Wednesday when a group met in Lansing to protest Governor Jennifer Granholm's plan to close the Library of Michigan.

I got to wondering how many of my ancestors could be found at the Library of Michigan, and came up with 21 of my direct ancestors who had died between 1897 and 1920 whose death certificates appear online at the Seeking Michigan website. Additionally, I research my mother's step-father's line, and my paternal grandmother's adoptive line (in addition to her biological line) and came up with two more ancestors between these two families.

These are direct ancestors, mind you, all individuals in my 2nd-, 3rd-, and 4th-great-grandparents' generation. These 23 individuals don't count other spouses my ancestors had; nor the collateral relatives that include the other children of my ancestors such as my ancestral siblings, aunts, uncles, nieces, and nephews; nor does it include the plethora of cousins of any number of degrees of relationship that can also be found.

FamilySearch Record Search provides death records (in liber-style vs. the death certificates that began in 1897) for all Michigan counties from the time of civil registration in 1867 to 1897. Ancestry has a Michigan Death Index that covers the years 1971 - 1996. This leaves fifty years (1921 - 1970) of unlisted deaths, with the exception of a few counties whose county government websites have produced a death index. In those 50 years I have another 19 biological, four more adoptive, and four more step-ancestors who died.

No matter how the budget works out for the State of Michigan, it does not appear that the death certificates for the years 1921 to 1970 will be available in indexed or scanned form any time soon (although they can be ordered individually from the State).

Here's a list of my ancestors found in the Library of Michigan, along with their ahnentael numbers and links to their death certificates:

22. Orlando BARBER (1868 - 1910)

27. Doetje WIERSMA TUINSTRA (1854 - 1916)

33. Viola Gertrude PECK ROBBINS (1848 - 1918)

36. John Wallace LEWIS, Sr. (1839 - 1908)

37. Elenor "Nellie" L. VREELAND LEWIS (1835 - 1912)

38. John WILKINSON, Sr. (1845 - 1917)

40. John H. YORK (1823 - 1898)

41. Anna CROTHERS YORK (1825 - 1904)

42. Daniel J. MacARTHUR (1827 - 1919)

43. Martha JOHNSON MacARTHUR (1844 - 1897) 

44. James W. BARBER (1839 - 1912)

45. Elizabeth "Betsey" A. COLE BARBER(1846 - 1919)


49. Trientje Gerrits "Katherine" DOLSTRA VALK (1826 - 1912)

52. Auke Caspers TUINSTRA (1818 - 1898)

54. Wijbren Joukes WIERSMA (1831 - 1909)

56. Jan Martens HOEKSTRA (1820 - 1909)

62. William Parker WRIGHT (1830 - 1915)

64. Joseph Josiah ROBBINS (1820 - 1905)

65. Marinda ROBBINS ROBBINS (1827 - 1912)

90. Lavina WILLIS COLE (1827 - 1898)

My adoptive line:

23B. Anna Matilda HIGBY CONCIDINE (1861 - 1903)

44B. John D. CONCIDINE (1823 - 1906)

1 comment:

GrannyPam said...

Seeking Michigan ( has been one of the best things to emerge from the partnership between the Archives of Michigan and the Library of Michigan that the proximity they institutions enjoy in the History Center building. It's no wonder so many of us are finding this whole mess very painful. Thanks for your continued support.