Genealogy Outside the Library of Michigan

Abrams Collection Genealogy Highlights
Fall 2005
Volume 7, Number 4

It doesn't take long for genealogists to realize that when it comes to family history research, there's no such thing as one-stop shopping. Perhaps you're looking for a vital record available only in another county or state. Or maybe you're ready to trace an ancestor back to a different part of the world. Whatever the reason, the Library of Michigan has genealogy directories and other materials to help you take the next step in your research.

For a complete list of Library resources, check ANSWER, the Library's online catalog. The following keyword searches will return helpful resources; clicking on the links in this publication will take you to the ANSWER catalog search results or the catalog record for a particular item:

You may want to contact or visit another institution, as you often will find that clues to your family history are scattered across different types of organizations and even different regions. Useful sources for genealogical information are:

  • State libraries or archives
  • Historical societies
  • Genealogical societies
  • County clerks
  • Courthouses
  • Local public libraries

Before you visit an institution you're unfamiliar with, call ahead or check its Web site for information to help maximize your research time there. You may want to:

  • Read up on the institution's mission and collection. Does it include materials that are relevant to your research?
  • Search the catalog to gather ideas for your research there.
  • Be aware of parking, hours and circulation/access policies.

If you are unable to visit a particular location, you may want to contact a researcher for assistance. A list of researchers in Michigan is available on the Web or at the Library. Whether you request assistance from a professional researcher, a genealogy society volunteer or the staff of an institution, it is usually wise to:

  • Inquire about research fees or photocopy charges.
  • Provide a request that is brief, specific and clear.
  • Send a stamped, self-addressed envelope.
  • Thank them for their help.

As always, start by asking for help at the Library of Michigan. The staff members are available to help you find the information you're seeking at the Library, or they can direct you to the next step in your research.

Directories and Handbooks

Directories include contact information for worthwhile resources. Handbooks offer an overview of a particular aspect of genealogy research.

Bentley, Elizabeth Petty. County Courthouse Book. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Co., 1995.
Genealogy KF 8700.A19 B46 1995

---. Directory of Family Associations. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Co., 1991-.
Genealogy CS 42 .B46 4th 2001

---. The Genealogist's Address Book. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Co., 1991-.
Genealogy CS 44 .G456 5th 2005

Birth, Marriage, Divorce, Death-On the Record: A Directory of 288 Primary Sources for Personal and Family Records in the 50 States and Overseas Areas Where the U.S. Has Jurisdiction. Rye, NY: Reymont Associates, 1977.
Genealogy HA 38.A1 B57

Bremer, Ronald A. Compendium of Historical Sources: The How and Where of American Genealogy. Bountiful, UT: AGLL Inc., 1997.
Genealogy CS 49 .B74 1997

Cemeteries of the U.S.: A Guide to Contact Information for U.S. Cemeteries and Their Records. Detroit: Gale Research, 1994-.
Genealogy CS 44 .C46 1st 1994

Croom, Emily Anne. The Unpuzzling Your Past Workbook: Essential Forms and Letters for All Genealogists. Cincinnati: Betterway Books, 1996.
Genealogy CS 47 .C77 1996

Directory of Historical Organizations in the United States and Canada. Nashville, TN: AASLH Press, 2002.
Genealogy E 172 .D48 15th 2002

Everton, George B. The Handybook for Genealogists: United States of America. Draper, UT: Everton Publishers, 2002.
Genealogy CS 47 .E94 2002
Housed at the Genealogy Desk.

The Family Roots Workbook: The Names and Addresses of 848 American Genealogical and Historical Libraries, Societies and Organizations, Sorted by State. Denver: The Family News, 1990.
Genealogy CS 44 .F3 1990z

Federation of Genealogical Societies. Membership Directory. Salt Lake City: The Federation, 1995-.
Genealogy CS 44 .F44 2000

Guide to Genealogical Research in the United States: Individual States. Salt Lake City: The Genealogical Society of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints Inc., 1980.
Genealogy CS 47 .G853 1980

Johnson, Keith A. and Malcolm R. Sainty, eds. Genealogical Research Directory: National & International. Sydney, NSW: K.A. Johnson & M.R. Sainty, 1988-.
Genealogy CS 25 .G45 2007

Kemp, Thomas Jay. International Vital Records Handbook. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Co., 2000.
Genealogy CS 42.7 .K46 2000

List of Some Ethnic and Religious Genealogical and Historical Societies and Archives. Munroe Falls, OH: Summit Publications, 1988.
Genealogy CS 42 .L47 1988

Rising, Marsha Hoffman. The Family Tree Problem Solver: Proven Methods for Scaling the Inevitable Brick Wall. Cincinnati: Family Tree Books, 2005.
Genealogy CS 14 .R57 2005

Sankey, Michael L., James R. Flowers Jr. and Peter J. Weber, ed. The Librarian's Guide to Public Records: The Complete State, County & Courthouse Locator. Tempe, AZ: BRB Publications, 2000.
Genealogy JK 468.P76 L53 2000

--- and Carl R. Ernst, eds. The Sourcebook of County Court Records: A National Guide to Civil, Criminal, and Probate Records at the County and Municipal Levels within the State Court Systems. Tempe, AZ: BRB Publications, 1997.
Genealogy CS 44 .S67 1997

Smith, Juliana Szucs. The Ancestry Family Historian's Address Book: A Comprehensive List of Local, State and Federal Agencies and Institutions and Ethnic and Genealogical Organizations. Orem, UT: Ancestry, 2003.
Genealogy CS 44 .S65 2003

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Research Collections

These libraries have strong genealogy or local history collections, while state and federal archives typically serve as official record keepers.

Allen County Public Library, Fred J. Reynolds Genealogy Department
200 E. Berry St.
Fort Wayne, IN 46801
(260) 421-1200

Archives and Regional History Collections
Western Michigan University
Kalamazoo, MI 49008-5081
(269) 387-8490

Archives of Michigan
702 W. Kalamazoo St.
P.O. Box 30737
Lansing, MI 48909-8240
(517) 373-1408

Bentley Historical Library
University of Michigan
1150 Beal Ave.
Ann Arbor, MI 48109-2113
(734) 764-3482

Burton Historical Collection
Detroit Public Library
5201 Woodward Ave.
Detroit, MI 48202-4093
(313) 833-1480

Clarke Historical Library
Central Michigan University
Mount Pleasant, MI 48859-3720
(989) 774-3352

LDS Family History Centers
To find one in your area:

National Archives and Records Administration
8601 Adelphi Road
College Park, MD 20740-6001
(866) 272-6272

Newberry Library
60 W. Walton St.
Chicago, IL 60610
(313) 943-9090

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Suggested Web Sites

Be critical of genealogy information you find on the Internet. Is the source you're using an authoritative one?

Cyndi's List: Libraries, Archives and Museums
Library Web sites in alphabetical order.

Daughters of the American Revolution Library
Information on special collections.

Library of Congress Local History and Genealogy Reading Room
Guides to collections and policies. State Library Web Listing
Links to state libraries.

Making of Modern Michigan
Digitized local history materials from around the state.

MeL Genealogy Internet Resources
Librarian-recommended Web sites.

Michigan's statewide library catalog and borrowing service.

Michigan County Clerk's Database,1607,7-140-54574_18635_20736---,00.html
Information for researchers.

Michigan Genealogical Council

NARA Genealogy
Research information from the National Archives.

New England Historic Genealogical Society
Databases are available at the Library of Michigan.

Random Acts of Genealogical Kindness
Volunteers will do genealogy look-ups in the United States and internationally.

Repositories of Primary Sources
Links to more than 5,000 Web sites of institutions around the world that collect manuscripts, historical photographs and other primary source materials.

Genealogy Web sites by county and for every state of the United States.

A network of volunteer genealogists from around the world who provide information, research guides and assistance.

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Updated 08/02/2011