Discover How to Mine Michigan's Genealogical Gems at Library of Michigan Seminar July 21-22; Keynote Address Explores Future of Family History Research

Contact: Randy Riley (517) 373-5860

June 27, 2006

Highlighting some of the diverse resources that make the Library of Michigan one of the top 10 genealogy collections in the nation, and Michigan a state rich with family history materials, the Library of Michigan's 2006 Abrams Genealogy Seminar will help Michigan residents learn to use these tools more effectively.  Genealogy experts from libraries across the region will introduce family history researchers to their unique historical collections during the seminar, taking place at the Michigan Library and Historical Center in Lansing on Friday, July 21 (1 to 4:30 p.m.) and Saturday, July 22 (9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.).


"As genealogy researchers know, there's no such thing as one-stop shopping when it comes to tracing our family trees," said Randy Riley, special collections manager at the Library of Michigan. "This seminar will give both beginning and experienced genealogists the opportunity to learn about and explore the extensive collections at the Library of Michigan and other research libraries in the Great Lakes region."


Curt Witcher, manager of the world-renowned genealogy collection at the Allen County Public Library in Fort Wayne, Ind., will give Saturday's keynote address, "The Future of the Past: Realities and Responsibilities."


"The early years of the 21st century represent both some of the best and some of the most challenging times for genealogists and family historians," said Witcher.  "The explosion of technology has benefited the keepers of family history and heritage more so than nearly any other field of endeavor.  This same technology though may also be enticing genealogists into practices that could jeopardize future generations of researchers."


Witcher invites seminar attendees to "learn about some of the exciting things on the horizon, how technology is impacting record creation and retention, and what responsibilities we have in ensuring the future of the past."


Participants may mix and match sessions from two research tracks. The first will focus on popular research areas and emphasize resources at the Library of Michigan, including: beginning genealogy, online genealogy research, Irish genealogy, researching female ancestors, ships' passenger lists and Michigan vital records. The second track features sessions spotlighting the collections at the Library of Michigan, as well as those of:

  • Allen County (Ind.) Public Library,
  • Archives of Michigan,
  • Bentley Historical Library at the University of Michigan,
  • Burton Historical Collection at the Detroit Public Library, and
  • Local History and Archival Collections at the Grand Rapids Public Library.

The seminar will provide researchers with a sense of key sources and research strategies, and an opportunity to ask questions about genealogy services at each institution.


Participants will also have the opportunity to tour the Library of Michigan and Archives of Michigan.


Registration for the 2006 Abrams Genealogy Seminar is $35. This includes a boxed lunch on Saturday and a seminar syllabus. Rooms are available at the nearby Radisson Hotel, and guests may mention the Abrams Seminar to receive a discounted rate of $99. Call (517) 482-0188 for more information.


  If you have any questions, please contact the Library of Michigan's Special Collections Services at (517) 373-1300.


The Library of Michigan is located inside the Michigan Library and Historical Center at 702 W. Kalamazoo St., two blocks west of the State Capitol in downtown Lansing.  The main entrance and visitor parking are located north of Kalamazoo Street, just east of M.L. King Boulevard. 


The Library of Michigan is part of the Department of History, Arts and Libraries (HAL). Dedicated to strengthening the economy and enriching the quality of life for Michigan residents by providing access to information, preserving and promoting Michigan's heritage and fostering cultural creativity, the department also includes the Michigan Historical Center, the Mackinac Island State Park Commission, the Michigan Council for Arts and Cultural Affairs and the Michigan Film Office.