24 January 2022

Pure Michigan Genealogy: What Else is There? 10 More Resources

Pure Michigan Genealogy

Do you still need to find more information about your Michigan ancestors?  There are a few more resources that will help you with your research.

 1.  City Directories
  • Ancestry.com-a number of city directories for Michigan are available here.  You may be able to access ancestry at your local library, otherwise it is a paid site.
  • Bentley Historical Library- Check Mirlyn catalog for a listing of the cities available at this library. 
  • Public libraries, historical or genealogical societies-check with these in the area you are researching.  Many of these institutions have their local directories in their collection.  I can do Battle Creek, Michigan look-ups for you.

 2.  Correctional Facilities
  • Archives of Michigan-a comprehensive card index is available for those who served time at one of Michigan's state prisons.  Michigan inmate records are available for public access.  There are also three circulars available, in pdf. form, to help with your research:
    1. Correctional Facilities, Circular No 3.  This circular contains information on the three main prisons in Michigan:  Jackson, Ionia, and Marquette.
    2. Pardons, Paroles, Warrants and Extraditions, Circular No. 48-is a table of what the Archives has available as well as the record group, a short description, and the date.
    3. Youths, Records Relating To, Circular No. 8- this group of records has restricted access.  Contact information for further information is provided on the circular.
  • Federal Bureau of Prisons-a United States database of federal prison inmates since 1982.
  • Michigan Department of Corrections-a database for individuals who are or were under the management of the Department of Corrections.  This database is for Michigan Prisons only, not city or county jails.  If an individual has been released or paroled and is off supervision for more than three years, he/she will not be in the database.
  • Skeletons in Michigan's Closets-a few early Prison Records.

 3.  Local and County Histories
  • Arcadia Publishing Images of America and Postcard Series Books- You can search by state, "Michigan", you will find over 300 titles on Michigan.  These books have historical images and facts about various areas in Michigan.  I was never so excited as when I was looking at the Marquette book and saw a picture of my grandmother. I had to buy it!  Anytime I am in an area that my ancestors lived, I go to a bookstore and see which Images of America books they have.  I even have a board on Pinterest titled, My Images of America Ancestry.
  • Genealogy, Inc.-First, be sure you are researching in the right county.  Michigan has 83 counties and county boundaries have changed over time.  Check the History and Facts of Michigan Counties for a table of all the counties and what their parent county was.  Clicking on each county will take you to a genealogy page for that county.  Check the Michigan Maps of US website for a maps from 1790-1930.  This is an excellent website for Michigan, and other states, Genealogy.
  • Michigan County Histories and Atlases-over 400 digitized works are available here.  Most of the works were published before 1923.  Click on browse to get an alphabetical listing of what is available or search by keyword on the home page.  I have found this resource useful in learning about the early history of the counties I am researching.  I even found a biographical sketch of an ancestor.
  • Google Books-search google books to see if a digitized copy of your county history is online. I know that History of Kent County, Michigan and History of Washtenaw County, Michigan are available in full, for free.  There are other counties available through google books.

 4.  Newspapers
  • Library of Michigan-you will find the state's largest collection of newspapers here. Newspapers span over 200 years and are available for all counties in Michigan.  If you live in Michigan, you can request the microfilm through inter-library loan system.  Out of state libraries may request copies of the newspaper with a complete citation.
  • Newspaper Family Histories-scroll down on website page to see if a newspaper was published for the city or town you are researching.  The titles, publishing dates and newspaper history is included by city name.
  • Local Libraries-I cannot stress enough about using the local library in the location you are researching.  Check the local library online card catalog, or email them for information.  I know my local library, Helen Warner Branch of Willard Library, in Battle Creek, Michigan will do newspaper look ups if you ask nicely.
  • Digital Michigan Newspaper Portal-Michigan newspaper titles from various resources including the Chronicling America Library of Congress newspapers..

 5.  Manuscripts

 6.  Periodicals/Publications
  • Detroit Society for Genealogical Research Magazine
  • Family Trails-a no longer in print publication of the State Department of Education.  Copies available at Library of Michigan and Grand Rapids Public Library.  Although dated it has articles that will help you in your research.
  • Michigana a publication of the Western Michigan Genealogical Society
  • Michigan Heritage-a no longer in print publication of the Kalamazoo Valley Genealogical Society, available at Library of Michigan and Family History Library.
  • Generations-my local society, Calhoun County Genealogical Society, has an online every name index for their publication, "Generations".
  • Michigan History
    • Historical Society of Michigan-current issue information
    • Previous issues-Michigan residents can access issues dating back to 1998 through the Michigan Electronic Library (MeL) system.  On the MeL site, select MeL databases, then General Reference Center Gold.  At the reference site, select "Publication Search" and enter "Michigan History Magazine".
    • Google Books-1917-1922 full issues available by search Michigan History Magazine.
  • Index to Michigan Research in Genealogical Periodicals by Maud Quigley, is available online thanks to the Western Michigan Genealogical Society.
  • PERSI-Periodical Source Index is a subject index to genealogical and family history periodicals.  It is available, free, through Allen County Genealogy Center   For more information on PERSI, check out the Family Search Wiki on it.
 7.  Pioneer and Centennial Farms

 8.  Schools

 9.  Surname Index
  • A two volume set with over 100,000 surnames of Michigan ancestors.  Not all names lived in Michigan, they just were ancestors of Michigan.  Available at Family History Library, Library of Michigan and Amazon.

10.  Websites
There are so many websites that can help you with your research, I am not sure where to begin.  I have selected a few to help you with your research.

The above resources are ones that I have found helpful in my research, it is by no means conclusive. There are many great resources available for your Michigan research.  Do you have a Michigan resource I haven't mentioned?  Please share it with a comment.  I hope you have success with your research.

Pure Michigan Genealogy is a series of posts on researching in Michigan. What Else is There? 10 More Resources is number six in the series.  Other posts in this series are below:


  1. Great post!

    Laura Hedgecock (Detroit area)

  2. Thanks, I enjoyed looking at your blog. Treasure Chest of Memories is such a great title, especially as we share our treasures!

  3. My husband's McClure family was in Little Traverse when grandpa Brice Larimer McClure was born in 1878. I've used some of these resources but need to dig more because others in the McClure family remained in Michigan. Thanks for the great tips.