18 February 2022

Book Review: Michigan Genealogy Sources & Resources by Carol McGinnis

Anyone who has roots in Michigan should have a copy of Carol McGinnis's "Michigan Genealogy Sources and Resources." I have had the second edition of Carol's book for quite a few years now. 

McGinnis's book is a fine example of a professionally written state specific guidebook. Although dated, a copyright of 2005, it still has information relevant to Michigan genealogists today. Chapters one and two provides the reader with historical information. Chapter one covers Michigan History. Chapter two covers why settlers came to Michigan.

Chapter One, "the earthly paradise" begins pre-statehood with the early exploration of the state by the French. The history continues with the changes after the French and Indian War. The history of Michigan during the Northwest Territory days up to statehood is included. This chapter provides a concise history of the early days of what is now Michigan. A historical highlights timeline is included at the end of the chapter.

Chapter Two, 'The Settlement of Michigan" tells the tale of how and why people settled in Michigan. Factors influencing settlement starts with the fur trade, the opening of the Erie Canal, and the emergence of new industry for lumber, copper and iron ore mining.

McGinnis tells of recruitment efforts and the establishment of an official emigrant agency which sought to encourage emigration from European areas, especially Germany.

Other pull factors such as religion, lumbering, mining, and manufacturing are written about in detail. Records that give clues about immigration and migration completes the chapter.

I know you are thinking a book that is seventeen years old can't be of value when there is so much on the internet today. I disagree. Michigan Genealogy is a well-researched, well written book on Michigan genealogy resources. I have turned to it a number of times in my research and writing.

The next four chapters, three through six, covers the records themselves. Chapters on vital records, alternative sources for vital records, census records and their substitutes, and land and court records are written specifically for Michigan researchers. Text and charts are included in these chapters.

Chapter Seven, "Digging Deeper", gives the reader an idea of what other types of Michigan records are available and where to look for them. These include manuscript collections, business records, institutional records, criminal records, coroners' files, orphans and orphanages, organizational records, territorial records, depression era records, disasters, life in Michigan and records in Canada. Each section of this chapter tells what is available for Michigan.

Michigan has a rich cultural heritage. From the Native Americans to the French to African Americans to European and Middle Eastern settlers, Michigan is one of the most diverse states. Chapter Eight, "The People of Michigan" shows the diversity that is within our state. Ethnic group's resources are included.

Chapter Nine, "Michigan Online", is the one chapter that would need to check the resources on your own. Using a search engine of your choice makes it easy. Many of the URLs have changed but inputting the title of the resource into a search engine will provide you with the current website. 

"Counties and Their Records" is the subject of chapter ten. Michigan has eighty-three counties, and each county has historical and contact information included. The contact information should be verified before using it.

The chapters conclude with genealogical collections and historical and genealogical societies. The collections available in the libraries, archives, and county repositories completes the resources available for Michigan research.

The book concludes with notes, sources, and an index. Overall, the book is an excellent resource. I have seen McGinnis's book on many genealogy syllabi when it comes to Michigan research topics.

The wealth of information in "Michigan Genealogy Sources & Resources" will get you started with your Michigan research and be helpful the further you dig for your Michigan Roots.

If you would like to purchase a copy of Michigan Genealogy, go to Michigan Genealogy at genealogical.com and use coupon code mcmi for 20% off the hard copy or .pdf copy. The coupon code is good through March 7th.

Disclaimer: I was not compensated in any form for writing this review. I purchased my own book many years ago. I was asked by Joe, Marketing Director at Genealogical.com if I would be interested in writing a review on my blog and I said, yes!


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