15 April 2011

Only a Genealogist Would Go North for Spring Break

Point Betsie Lighthouse, looking south, Frankfort, Michigan

Yes, even now, I still celebrate Spring Break.  My husband is a school counselor and had last week off for Spring Break.  Did we get out of cold, wintry Michigan?  Did we go visit our son in sunny Florida?  No, we decided to go North.  I know, a little crazy after the long winter we have had, but family research called.  We headed to the northwestern part of Michigan and they still had a little snirt (dirty snow) on the ground.

Our first stop was for relaxation purposes.  We drove to our favorite vacation spot, Frankfort, Michigan.  We usually go for a week in the summer, but decided to check it out in Spring.  It is an entirely different town in the off-season.  It was even more quiet and relaxing than in the summer.  We drove to a few of our favorite places, Point Betsie being one of them.  We walked the shoreline and were blessed with a sunny day, although cold.  Then we walked out on the pier at Frankfort (until the ice stopped us).  No research that day, just relaxation.

The next day we drove to Manistee, Michigan.  I have ancestors from both my Glover and Fredrick line in Manistee, so I had a list of things I wanted to accomplish.  Number one being to get a copy of my grandfather's, Otto A. Fredricks, obituary.  I had used my roots magic software program to create place lists for Manistee, Manistee County and Brethren (a small village in the county).  I had over 50 birth, marriage and death facts associated to this area and I knew I would find more to research after our first stop, the Manistee County Historical Museum.

One of the 75 surname cards I found

I had been to the historical museum before and knew what a treasure their surname card file was.  This time I thought I would concentrate on four surnames:  Fredrick(h), Guhse, Engelhuber and Zobel.  The last three are the married names of my great grandfather's sisters.  Well, one thing led to another and I ended up getting copies of 75 cards from 10 surnames.  I felt sorry for the gentleman who had to bring them up from the basement.  (We made a donation to relieve a little of my guilt)  Last time we were there we went to the basement and looked them up ourselves.  I cannot say enough wonderful things about this museum and the help I received there.  What a great place to do research.

Next stop was the Manistee Public Library, so we could use the microfilm newspaper collection.  I had my trusty sidekick with me and figured we could get a lot done.  There was only one microfilm machine, the hand crank type, so I did microfilm duty.  Kirk did help with cranking a few times when my shoulder started to hurt.  I had so much to look up that I decided to only concentrate on obituaries.  I still had two cemeteries to visit.  First obituary I looked for was my grandfathers.  I found it and made a copy.  I continued with my list and looked up all of them with only one not being found.  By this time (2:30pm) I was getting crabby so we headed out to lunch.

After lunch we decided to go visit cemeteries.  We went to Oak Grove Cemetery, using the wonderful map from the museum, and took pictures of grave sites.  We couldn't find 4 grave sites, so another visit will be needed. 

The next cemetery, Trinity Lutheran Cemetery, was a very easy cemetery to walk through.  Using the surname cards from the museum, which includes cemetery transcriptions, we were able to easily find the grave sites we were looking for.  I even had time to take a couple of find a grave requests.

Overall, this was the most productive research trip I have taken.  Plus, I have so much more to blog about now.  I will be sharing what I found in future posts.  I have been busy this week inputting the information I found to my tree.  It may not have been another person's idea of spring break, but it was one of my favorites.

I need to give a shout out to my wonderful husband, Kirk, who spent part of his spring break helping me.  I hope having lunch at his favorite place, Dinghy's, motivated him a little. 


  1. Wow, sounds like you had a very productive trip and got some rest in also! Good for you...

  2. Sounds like a great trip! Kirk is a keeper, my husband would never even enter a library with me never mind help.

  3. Mary, it was very productive, probably should have spent another day.

    Apple, yes he is a keeper, although the trade off is I research his side of the family.