Information for Visitors

Before your Visit

Unless you are part of a large group, it is not necessary to make an appointment to do research in the Archives. We are, however, happy to discuss your topic and potential resources with you if you call us at 517-335-2576 or email Archives@Michigan.gov before your visit.

Keeping the following tips in mind may also help your research visit go more smoothly:

  • Know dates, places, and government agencies related to your topic of research as much as possible.
  • Have specific records in mind.
  • Know legal descriptions if you’re looking for land records.
  • Check online guides and online indexes before you arrive.

If you are part of a large group who would like to visit the Archives of Michigan, please contact us in advance.

REGISTRATION

When you arrive, our registration desk staff will check you in.

First time? Our staff will generate a photo ID card for you. The registration process takes five minutes or less, but please bring a photo ID with you. You will not be allowed to register without one.

Seasoned researcher at the Archives? Please bring the card with you and the registration process will only take a few seconds.

You can bring bags, purses, coats, pens, cameras and laptop cases into most areas of our reading room. If you request archival records, our staff will retrieve them and bring them to a separate viewing area where bags, purses, coats, pens, cameras or laptop cases are not allowed.

RESEARCH

Library books and microfilm are in open stacks and cabinets for researchers to browse.

We have four public computers. You can use these to check our catalog for specific topics or books, and to access a full subscription to Ancestry as well as other online resources in your research.

Archival records can be requested through our reference staff. Because they were created in the course of conducting government business and not with historical research in mind, records are not always organized by name and are not all organized the same way.

A reference archivist is always available to answer questions you might have and show you how to use our guides, inventories, and indexes to find resources that may pertain to your research topic.

USING ARCHIVAL RECORDS

Please observe the following rules when viewing archives records. They exist to protect the records so they are available for years to come.

  • No bags, purses, coats, pens, cameras or laptop cases are permitted in the viewing area.
  • No pens.
  • No cameras or scanners unless permission is granted by a reference staff member.
  • Researchers should only have one volume or folder from a box out on a table at a time.
  • Keep items within a folder in order. Indicate pages for copying by turning them up within a folder or using a folder marker available at each table.
  • No more than two people at a table. The one at a time rule still applies.

You can bring in pencils, paper, and laptops without cases into the archival research area. You can leave other materials in the main part of our reading room or in free lockers available in the reception area.

COPIES

Library Books and Microfilm

  • Cameras and scanners can be used with library material.Digital scans can be saved to a USB drive attached to microfilm readers/printers.
  • Electronic copies generated by researchers are free.
  • Paper copies can be made by microfilm readers/printers and the self-service copier are available in the reading room.
  • Paper copies are $0.20 per page.
  • Payments for paper copies are on the honor system. Researchers are asked to tally paper copies at the end of the day and pay at the registration desk as they leave.

Archival Material

  • We treat archival records differently from library material.
  • Three iPads are available in the reading room for researchers to obtain copies of archival material. Researchers may not use personal devices to obtain copies of archival material.
  • Paper copies from iPads are $.20 per page.
  • Electronic copies from iPads are $.20 per page, up to $3.00 or 15 pages. Additional pages are free.
  • Extra charges apply for photographic quality reproductions or copies of exceptionally large items, such as maps or blueprints.

Can’t Visit?

If you are not able to visit the Archives of Michigan, our staff does provide some research services. Visit our Services webpage for more information. 

If you are interested in records outside the scope of in our research services, you may need to hire an local researcher. You can access of list of local researchers below or through the Association of Professional Genealogists.

The Archives of Michigan assumes no responsibility for the work of outside researchers, but simply offers their names as a public service.

 

Updated 07/11/2019