27 January 2022

Three Keys to Using Michiganology

What is Michiganology?

Michiganology, the web platform for the Archives of Michigan, replaced Seeking Michigan. I found quite a learning curve to using Michiganology and I even attended presentations on it. I have been digging deeper into the website and thought I would share my tips on using it successfully.

What does Michiganology Mean?

-ology means the study of. Therefore, Michiganology is the study of Michigan. According to the Michiganology website their mission is to” foster curiosity, enjoyment, and inspiration rooted in Michigan’s stories.”

Michiganology is more than vital, census, or naturalization records. Those records were popular at Seeking Michigan. Seeking Michigan had about one million records. Now Michiganology visitors have access to over ten million records with room to grow.

How do I find records on Michiganology?

I heard this question over the years while I was President of the Michigan Genealogical Council. The process of creating a new website that can hold what is already digitized and have room for future growth was a huge undertaking. It was not without glitches, but I must give my congratulations to the staff of the Archives of Michigan. They have worked tirelessly to create this website.

Michiganology is more than Genealogical Records

The Archives of Michigan is not just for genealogists. This is important to remember. The Archives of Michigan is responsible for preserving state government records and other public institution records. While you will find death certificates, naturalization records, and state census records, you will also find state commissions records, the state Senate and House records, corporation records, and more.

The Archives of Michigan holdings include more than eighty million state and local government records and private papers, 300,000 photographs and 500,000 maps, plus films and audio tapes. Remember the Archives of Michigan works with more than genealogists.

The Archives of Michigan has two websites. One, Michiganology houses the online digitized records in their collection. The second one is the Michigan.gov/mhc website. The Archives of Michigan is part of the Michigan History Center. Michigan.gov deals with the business side of the Archives. Items such as hours, museums, events, and more can be found here. Eventually guides and circulars will be here.

Three Keys to Finding Items on Michiganology

1.                   Think about State Government. Michiganology does not have one area where you can go to find state records. There are many divisions of state government and each one is responsible for different record sets. Below are the divisions and what collection sets fall under their responsibility. I will explain why this is important next. Find each department at the bottom of the Collections page.

Michigan Department of

Administration-contains records from the Building Engineering Office.

Attorney General-records from the Attorney General’s Executive Office.

Community Health-records from the Mental Health Commission

Corrections-responsible for the state’s prisons

Education-records from the Library of Michigan

Environmental Quality-collection contains records from the Clean Air Assistance Compliance Advisory Panel

Health and Human Services-supports foster care and adoption, child support, abuse and neglect, vital records, safe sleep for infants, and aging and adult services.

Health-records from the Disease Control, Records, and Statistics Division

Insurance and Financial Services-records from the Consumer Services Division

Legislature-records from the House of Representatives and Senate.

Licensing and Regulatory Affairs-includes the Corporations Division and the Michigan Public Service Commission.

Management and Budget-collections includes Bureau of Facilities Management and Exposition and Fairgrounds Authority.

Military and Veterans Affairs- administers the state’s veterans’ affairs agency, veterans’ homes, and National Guard units.

Military Establishment- records from Office of the Adjutant General

Natural Resources-collection includes Archives of Michigan, Director’s Office, Marketing and Outreach Division, Michigan History Center, Parks and Recreation, Public Information Office, Real Estate Office, and Wildlife Division.

State Police-records from the Training Division.

State-Bureau of Elections, Bureau of History, Executive Office, and Office of the Great Seal.

Technology, Management and Budget-collection includes Center for Educational Performance and Information, Office of Financial Management, and Office of Retirement Services.

Transportation-records from the Complete Streets Advisory Council


2.                   Use State Government departments to find records.

Each department in number one sends records of importance to the Archives of Michigan. Some records are digitized and available at Michiganology. In the future records will be sent to the Archives of Michigan in a digital format. This will allow for faster upload times on the website. If you have records you are looking for, think about which department would be responsible for it. Here are a few examples.

a.       The Archives of Michigan is under the Department of Natural Resources. Go to the department page and click on Archives of Michigan.  There are three collections: Archival Collections on Microfilm, Archival Collection, and Audiovisual Materials. Each one of these has records from Seeking Michigan.

b.       If you are looking for the Military Regimental Records, 1861-1865, look under the Department of Military Establishment, Adjutant General records.

c.       If you are looking for Corporation Annual Reports, look under the Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs. Years 1997-2006 are available.

d.       Do you want to know what was in the State Constitution in 1835? Look under Department of State?

These are just four examples from the millions of records available online at the Archives of Michigan. 

Each collection page has a search within feature to help you locate the information.

3.                   Put Google to Work for You.

I know it is a copout to say this, but this time it will help. There is so much information on Michiganology it isn’t always easy to find. If I am having trouble finding information on Michiganology I google it. For example, I was looking for the civil war manuscripts that I knew had been digitized. I entered civil war manuscripts at Michiganology and found the link. Try your search using Archives of Michigan in place of Michiganology.

Archives of Michigan is working on streamlining indexes that will help with finding what you are looking for. It allows a deeper dive into the digital records. Remember, not everything is digitized and online.

The Archives of Michigan is working in partnership with Family Search to digitize and bring online the Michigan Naturalization records and the Probate Records. Both record sets will be online once they are digitized and transcribed.

Remarkable things are happening with the Archives of Michigan and Michiganology. Look using the above three keys at Michiganology. Happy Hunting!






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