Seeking Michigan now has County Research Guides for 26 of Michigan's 83 counties available on their website. The counties included are:
Grand Traverse County
St. Clair County
Keep in mind that these are guides to the records you can locate for these counties. If there are specific records you are looking for I recommend calling the repository to confirm they have them for the years you are researching before you plan a trip to view them. When examining the Kalamazoo guide I noticed that a few of the years were slightly off from what I found in the actual records located at the WMU Archives.
Thursday, March 6, 2014
Thursday, February 27, 2014
As the influenza season wanes I decided to examine how this disease impacted my ancestors in Michigan. Prior to the late 1880s not many deaths were ascribed to influenza, usually in the single digits each year, but after that numbers of influenza deaths reported to the state were generally larger, culminating in the Spanish Influenza epidemic at the end of WWI.
References for Graph [1-8]
The low numbers of influenza deaths could be an actual trend or they could be an artifact of the abysmal state of data collection at the time (see Why Early Michigan Birth Records Are Unreliable) or the fact that we don't know who provided the cause of death (see Is That Really The Cause Of Death?). Unfortunately, it's almost impossible to draw conclusions without additional data. It also bears remembering that influenza may have contributed to far more deaths than the numbers indicate because people weakened by influenza are more susceptible to other diseases such as bronchitis or pneumonia. The pneumonia may have been the cause of death, but if not for the influenza that laid someone low in the first place they may never have succumbed.
While the usual pattern of seasonal flu is to prey on the very young or old, the Spanish Influenza virus that spread around the world at the end of WWI fatally attacked the very demographic expected to be most resilient, people in their 20s and 30s. In the years for which the data was provided, most of the influenza deaths in Michigan were in those 70+ or under five, but in 1918, the peak of the Spanish flu in Michigan, young adults were hardest hit: 1,996 deaths in those 20-29 years and 1,521 deaths for those 30-39. 
At Fort Custer, they can pinpoint to the hour when Spanish flu struck the base. At 10 a.m. Sunday morning on Sept. 29, 1918 the first soldiers were rushed to the camp hospital.  Then “the disease seemed to break out all over camp simultaneously.”  With more men continually entering the hospital, a quarantine was put in place by late afternoon Monday. Almost no one was allowed to enter or leave the camp, training exercises were curtailed and intermingling of men from different barracks was prohibited. [9, 10] The importance of taking precautionary measures was exemplified by the 78th Infantry regiment. As of Monday (Sept 30), the average number of cases “per regiment has been 38. In the 78th infantry three companies failed to observe the rule which requires that mess kits be boiled for ten minutes and then dried without using cloths. In this regiment the number of men afflicted with respiratory diseases was 669.” 
By Monday morning 557 had been admitted to the base hospital and by the end of Tuesday that number was believed to be about 2,000.  5,650 men were in the hospital on October 9, but Camp Custer considered itself lucky because only about 25% of the men in camp had been afflicted while in many places that number was 50% or more.  By October 24, the number in hospital was reduced to 1,650 and the admission rate had returned to normal levels.  All in all, Fort Custer weathered the storm better than other camps of similar size. In comparison with three other camps, Custer had fewer sick and fewer fatalities. Statistics for deaths/total number of sick patients were also much better: Camp Sherman: 13.14% of those sick with influenza died, Camp Devens 9.78%, Camp Grant 8.66%, Camp Custer 5.95%. 
Although the situation stabilized quickly at Fort Custer, the epidemic was in full swing in Kalamazoo and elsewhere. By early December about 1000 children were absent from school in Kalamazoo, most sick with influenza.  The City Commission, meeting as a Board of Health, ordered that all public gatherings were prohibited. “This includes churches, schools, theaters, moving pictures shows, pool rooms, bowling alleys, dance halls, lodge rooms, reading rooms in the Public Library. . . we further order that all street cars, interurban cars, and public conveyances shall have ventilators open regardless of outside temperature and . . . shall be thoroughly cleaned each day.” They also mandated that all new and existing cases of influenza be reported and quarantined until the City Commission rescinded the order. During the meeting it was reported that flu cases “were rapidly increasing, and to such an extent that it was becoming impossible for the force of doctors and nurses available to adequately handle the epidemic.” 
The city commission, however, couldn't rigorously enforce regulations and prevent people from coming in contact with potentially sick people like the commanding officers could at a military encampment such as Fort Custer. Kalamazooans could still encounter sick or exposed residents at the five-and-ten stores, though there was debate about allowing them to stay open, as well as other stores.  As a result, the epidemic continued. While 1918 was the peak year for influenza deaths in Michigan, at 6,742, 1919 and 1920 each tallied about 3,000 deaths from influenza (see graph).
The Spanish flu came as a shock to our ancestors. Now, we should know better. Wherever pigs, ducks and humans live in close contact this mutable virus will mix and match genes to stir up a potentially lethal new strain. The kind of epidemic experienced at the close of WWI could easily happen again and should come as no surprise when it does.
- Secretary of State of Michigan, Twenty-Ninth Annual Report
Relating To The Registry And Return Of Births, Marriages And Deaths
in Michigan For The Year 1895 (Lansing, Michigan: Robert Smith
Printing Co, 1897), pp. 154-155; digital images, Google Books
(http://books.google.com/books: accessed 1 Feb 2013)
- Secretary of State of Michigan. Thirty-Fifth Annual Report of the Secretary of State on the Registration of Births And Deaths Marriages And Divorces in Michigan For The Year 1901. (Lansing, Michigan: Robert Smith Printing Co., 1905), p. lxiv; digital images, Google Books (http://books.google.com/books: accessed 1 Feb 2013)
- Secretary of State of Michigan. Forty-First Annual Report of the Secretary of State on the Registration of Births And Deaths Marriages And Divorces in Michigan For The Year 1907. (Lansing, Michigan: Wynkoop Hallenbeck Crawford Co., 1909), 39; digital images, Google Books (http://books.google.com/books: accessed 1 Feb 2013)
- Secretary of State of Michigan. Forty-Second Annual Report of the Secretary of State on the Registration of Births And Deaths Marriages And Divorces in Michigan For The Year 1908. (Lansing, Michigan: Wynkoop Hallenbeck Crawford Co., 1910), p. 25; digital images, Google Books (http://books.google.com/books: accessed 1 Feb 2013)
- Secretary of State of Michigan. Forty-Third Annual Report of the Secretary of State on the Registration of Births And Deaths Marriages And Divorces in Michigan For The Year 1909. (Lansing, Michigan: Wynkoop Hallenbeck Crawford Co., 1911), p. 43; digital images, Google Books (http://books.google.com/books: accessed 1 Feb 2013)
- Secretary of State of Michigan. Forty-Sixth Annual Report of the Secretary of State on the Registration of Births And Deaths Marriages And Divorces in Michigan For The Year 1912. (Lansing, Michigan: Wynkoop Hallenbeck Crawford Co., 1914), p. 45; digital images, Google Books (http://books.google.com/books: accessed 5 Feb 2013)
- Secretary of State of Michigan. Fifty-First Annual Report of the Secretary of State on the Registration of Births And Deaths Marriages And Divorces in Michigan For The Year 1917. (Lansing, Michigan: Wynkoop Hallenbeck Crawford Co., 1920), p. 45; digital images, Google Books (http://books.google.com/books: accessed 5 Feb 2013)
- State Department of Health. Fifty-Second, Fifty-Third and Fifty-Fourth Annual Report of the Commissioner of Health On The Registration Of Births And Deaths Marriages And Divorces In Michigan For The Years 1918, 1919 And 1920. Lansing, Michigan: Wynkoop Hallenbeck Crawford Co., 1922), pp. 40, 194, 288; digital images, Google Books (http://books.google.com/books: accessed 9 Feb 2013)
- “Spanish Influenza Hits Camp Custer; Quarantine Is On,” Trench And Camp [Battle Creek, Mich.], 3 October 1918, page 1, column 1, digital images, Kalamazoo Public Library (http://www.kpl.gov: accessed 13 February 2014), Miscellaneous Kalamazoo Publications Collection.
- “Influenza Situation In Camp Improved Though Many Die Of Pneumonia,” Trench And Camp [Battle Creek, Mich.], 10 October 1918, page 1, column 1, digital images, Kalamazoo Public Library (http://www.kpl.gov: accessed 13 February 2014), Miscellaneous Kalamazoo Publications Collection.
- “Health Conditions Are Resuming Normal State Within Custer Limits,” Trench And Camp [Battle Creek, Mich.], 24 October 1918, page 1, column 1, digital images, Kalamazoo Public Library (http://www.kpl.gov: accessed 13 February 2014), Miscellaneous Kalamazoo Publications Collection.
- “In Spite Of Epidemic Local Cantonment Has High Health Standing,” Trench And Camp [Battle Creek, Mich.], 7 November 1918, page 1, column 5, digital images, Kalamazoo Public Library (http://www.kpl.gov: accessed 13 February 2014), Miscellaneous Kalamazoo Publications Collection.
- “The 'Ban' Again On,” The People [Kalamazoo, Mich.], 12 December 1918, page 1, column 3, digital images, Kalamazoo Public Library (http://www.kpl.gov: accessed 13 February 2014), Miscellaneous Kalamazoo Publications Collection.
- “About This Closing Order,” The People [Kalamazoo, Mich.], 12 December 1918, page 8, column 1, digital images, Kalamazoo Public Library (http://www.kpl.gov: accessed 13 February 2014), Miscellaneous Kalamazoo Publications Collection.
Tuesday, February 18, 2014
Even if you don't live near Kalamazoo you can still get a free dose of Kalamazoo history three times a year. The Kalamazoo Valley Museum's magazine, museOn, which is available online, can provide a little bit of your ancestors' world from people to places to past-times. The current edition includes a piece about some of the different industries that have employed Kalamazooans. You can read it here.
Each issue has something of interest. Some recent subjects have been the history of Kalamazoo's townships, Kalamazoo during the Depression, Kalamazoo's history of windmill making, Kalamazoo and the car, Kalamazoo dressmakers and many others. Because back issues are available here on the KVM website I encourage you to take a peek at issues past to see if they have covered a topic of particular interest to you. If you had ancestors who lived in Kalamazoo during the Civil War you may be interested to peruse the Winter/Spring 2005 issue which has a number of articles relevant to Kalamazoo life in that time period. One that was of particular interest to me lately was on page 12 of the Winter 2012 issue which had a photograph of the members of Kalamazoo's Orcutt post of the Grand Army of the Republic (GAR). One of my people, Lawrence Flynn, may very well be in this photo if it was taken prior to 1917. I contacted the museum and they confirmed that the photo was, alas, undated.
One fun feature is the “What Is It” page. Three historical objects are shown and your job is to identify them if you can. Sometimes they are real stumpers.
If you live within an easy drive of Kalamazoo you should scroll to near the end of each issue to see what local history talks are coming up in their Sunday Series. Over the past few years they have had speakers discuss Kalamazoo baseball, horse racing, “The Sins of Kalamazoo-- Gambling, Saloons and Pool Halls,” Kalamazoo's musical history and many other topics. If I lived in the area I would attend many of them.
Wednesday, February 12, 2014
When I got together with a cousin of mine a few years ago she passed along to me many old photos and some papers that had belonged to her mother. It was really exciting to discover photos of my Flynns and Hartmans that I had never seen before. Among other things was a poem written by my gg-grandmother. It turns out that this was a hobby of hers, as I found out by searching through old Kalamazoo newspapers.
Without further ado, here is Sarah (Clemens) Flynn's poem about Indian Lake, which she probably wrote after one of many visits to see her daughter Cora (Flynn) Lemon at Lemon Park.
Without further ado, here is Sarah (Clemens) Flynn's poem about Indian Lake, which she probably wrote after one of many visits to see her daughter Cora (Flynn) Lemon at Lemon Park.
As I sat on the shores of fair Indian Lake
On a beautiful Sabbath day,
As the waves washed up on the sands at my feet,
Methinks I could hear them all say,
“'Tis thus for ages we have rolled on this shore
Sometimes as peaceful as now,
But when the Storm King in his fury doth rage
In high-capped splendor we bow.
“Once the red man rowed here in his birch bark canoe
As free as the bird of the air;
And the thick woods rang with their shouts and their songs
While chasing wild beasts to their lair.
They have left us their names. Alas! That is all;
For they have been driven from home.
The white man has come with his civilized ways
And caused the poor Indian to roam.
“The trees have been thinned, now a beautiful grove
Surrounds our waters so clear.
In place of the wigwams of our old Indian braves
The home of the white man is here.
Each year new cottages appear on our shore
And boats take the place of canoe
The fame of our fish have gone far and wide,
Yes, farther than Kalamazoo.
“Now it is called a resort, by name of Lemon Park,
And all through each long summer day
The campers or parties for pleasure will come
Each happy in his or her way.
No changes we make, now, as in ages past
The very same welcome we make
To those who delight to see the waves splash
On the shores of our beautiful lake.”
Wednesday, February 5, 2014
Wednesday, January 29, 2014
I enjoy doing crosswords and genealogy research so I decided to try my hand at combining the two. I started with a free program on the internet, but could only include up to 49 clues. That didn't make a very good puzzle so I used the framework and added onto it, with some help from my husband. It is not as compact as most puzzles you find, but I did my best to make it solvable. It was fun, but time consuming. I hope you find it amusing.
Note: I'm a novice at creating puzzles (this is my first one) and don't have a program to provide me with obscure words to fill in the blank spaces. For this reason, I gave myself permission to include two-letter answers, which are not customary in standard crosswords. Let me also say that when you have to add the numbers manually it is a royal pain in the neck. I used a fair amount of white out in the first iteration before I came up with an easy way to do it for the second.
I'll post the solution in about a week.
1) One of a pair in a household.
5) Abbr. in a date.
6) Classification of a crime we hope none of our relatives committed.
10) Mason's tool.
12) Snow may pile up in this, especially this winter.
13) Egyptian sun god.
14) A crop your ancestors may have grown.
17) Color of many old photos.
19) Color or kind of wood.
22) One who delivers babies, in brief.
23) The first person enumerated in a household is listed as this.
25) Implement used in the field, generally pulled in the old days by a 15-down.
26) European height.
29) Family events may be recorded in one of these books.
32) “Ready, ___, fire.”
33) If you have many paper records you should do this so you won't lose them.
34) You may be eagerly awaiting the next one of these for Downton Abbey.
36) You'll be asked to create one of these when adding a marriage event.
38) Who else you should trace to find out more about your ancestor.
42) Everyone on a flight meets them at the airport.
43) Company head.
44) Defunct device to enhance a TV signal.
45) You'll make at least one of these during your wedding ceremony.
47) “I ___ You, Babe.”
48) One of these is rumored to have nine lives.
49) Male deer.
50) A damp basement may grow this.
52) “You've got mail!” provider.
53) A milk alternative is made from this.
54) Intro for -zoic, -lithic and -america.
55) Watch out for this danger when swimming at the beach.
62) Fairy tale collector Andrew.
64) Vitamin bottle abbr.
66) TV manufacturer.
68) When records almost magically fall into our hands we call it this.
71) What happens if there is no 158-across.
73) Difficult to trace surname or occupation.
76) A squeaky door may need one of these.
77) You may see big rolls of this in the field.
78) For general info. on recent deaths you can't beat this free resource.
81) Census milestone year.
85) Some have this kind of sense of humor.
87) If your morning quaff makes you jittery, better switch to this.
88) Many a one of these moved because of the Dust Bowl.
89) Mate for a 49-across.
90) Clotho, Lachesis or Atropos.
91) Look here to find information on injured military men in your family.
97) Personal item genealogists would love to have for every ancestor. A famous one was written by 52-down.
101) West. state.
104) Difficult to trace surname likely derived from an occupation.
105) The Mormon church is known as this, in brief.
106) Shampoo may be designed for this hair type.
107) Sally Field movie, “Norma ___.”
108) It is easier to find a record if a database has one of these.
111) Beware of the many unsourced ones online.
113) Type of infection or video.
114) “Born in the ___.”
115) Virtually every American's ancestors came here in one of these.
118) Spiced tea.
121) You'll find MDs here with at least one 135-across.
123) If you are dehydrated at the 121-across you will likely receive one of these.
124) Where you might find a divorce record.
129) Kind of old photo.
131) It's difficult to find for some females.
134) Start of -itis and -algia.
135) This person works with MDs in the 121-across.
136) This invention transformed transportation. See also 153-across.
138) Many immigrants applied to become this.
139) Get the scoop on your ancestors here.
142) What every genealogist hits sooner or later.
145) Mandela's homeland, abbr.
147) After the Civil War, soldiers may have been members of one of these posts, abbr.
149) Frost wrote that a good one of these makes good neighbors.
150) There's usually one of these colorful characters in every family.
153) Alternate name for 136-across.
155) Important component of genealogical time points.
158) You'll find heirs here.
161) What our families sometimes wish we'd never discovered.
164) Import tax.
166) A Pope or zodiac sign.
167) A Federal Gov't. agency on whose website you can locate original property titles.
168) Many an ancestor served in this conflict.
169) Ger. manufacturer of a 136-across.
171) Kreskin's ___, game.
172) Sadly, most old family photographs are in this state.
176) Someone not clearly related to household members may be enumerated this way.
181) Phone provider or ISP.
183) Old Norse letter.
185) “Rub a ___, ___.”
187) Salty delicacy sometimes found in sushi.
188) Some immigrants helped dig this canal.
191) Slowly, in music.
193) State located between MO, OK and MS.
194) Long ago.
195) ___ at Joe's.
196) Not curly or straight.
197) __B, the three additive primary colors.
198) Detroit's county.
200) Storage spot or elephant part.
201) Opponent of 8-down in the 122-down.
1) You may be able to narrow your city search to one of these when looking in the 55-down.
2) Tyrant Amin.
3) Young newt.
4) Arena animal in Madrid.
7) Some people may call their grandmother this.
8) He served for the CSA in the 122-down.
9) Shrub from which breast cancer Taxol is made.
10) One way to date old photographs.
11) 20th century place you might find a man's signature.
12) You may find your family in a city or county one.
15) You can ride this or hitch it to a 25-across or 179-down.
16) Biblical pronoun.
17) A farmer may have this under the nails.
19) He will inherit under primogeniture.
20) You might drink this at home or in a 141-down.
21) What you should do for pedestrians.
24) OTC painkiller that works well for arthritis.
25) ___ Beta Kappa.
27) Cooke of podcasting.
28) Your ancestors may have landed here.
29) You may find this in a county history.
30) Are for one.
31) Kind of constrictor.
35) Start for hen, coat or brain.
37) Found in 139-across, this is a good place to find details of someone's life.
38) Chicago to St. Louis direction.
39) This is a good form of cousin bait.
40) One of many official groups for genealogists.
41) Tape may leave this behind.
46) Nighttime flier.
49) Feared Nazi paramilitary group.
50) Unmarried girls and women may be addressed this way.
51) Female branch of the family.
52) Dutch writer Frank who penned a famous 97-across.
56) What genealogists want for every fact in their databases.
57) Titles are often written in this type.
59) Winter month in Espana.
63) Probably one of the most commonly cited records.
65) Gamblers' cubes.
69) Angry people may fly into these.
72) Start of -nary, -lateral, and -focal.
74) You can get bleary-eyed reading this for too long.
77) Pres. Obama's birthplace.
79) You may find one of these in the closet.
80) Start for -urnal and -ameter.
82) Charged particle
83) How many it takes to tango.
84) A bit.
86) Scottish denial.
87) If you aren't handy you shouldn't attempt this kind of home project, abbr.
92) Not feeling well.
93) “I am ___ a crook.”
94) Type of Christmas tree.
95) Elba to Pierre.
96) Alkaline substance used in soap-making.
98) Jackie's second.
100) You may find your schooled ancestors here.
102) Carte de _____.
103) Free, volunteer-based internet resource with links to every U.S. state.
109) United States military branch.
110) Affectionate term for the Atlantic.
112) Archaic numerical term in the Gettysburg address.
113) There are three basic types of this.
117) New tech. way to examine your heritage.
119) Dog to Wolfgang.
120) See 193-across.
122) Many an ancestor fought in this conflict, including 8-down and 201-across.
125) Homophone of a near relative.
126) New in Nürnberg.
128) Victorian or Edwardian, for example.
130) Metallic element that gave it's name to a coin, abbr.
132) Mid-American state.
133) What a genealogist needs after an all-night research session.
140) Source citation guru.
141) Where you might drink 20-down.
142) Abbr. in a date.
143) Grant of “Arsenic and Old Lace.”
144) TV show popularizing genealogy, in brief.
146) Structure to keep track of ancestors.
147) This can help you navigate roads or state your genealogical case.
148) Fit for a king.
149) Principle of tracing unrelated people when you have hit a 142-across.
151) One place to find a genealogist.
152) One place to find a genealogist.
154) To find out what your ancestors grew on the 165-down, look on this special decennial sch. 1850-1900.
156) Per, abbr.
157) Smallest U.S. state.
159) Where cattle may roam.
160) Tennis shot.
162) Some people would like to trace their lineage all the way back to this person.
163) Tool used in wood working or leather work.
165) The majority of Americans lived on one of these in the nineteenth century.
172) You'll want to know which one your ancestor served in to learn specifics of what he did in the military.
174) Hard to trace surname or a color.
175) A good place to look for artifacts that have been separated from the family.
176) Common nineteenth century mode of transportation. Used with a 15-down.
177) Japanese sash.
178) When going from Chicago to LA you can get your kicks on this.
179) Cart used for delivering loads, sometimes of 18-down.
180) ___ a living.
182) Homophone of 83-down.
184) Russian mountain range.
185) Lineage society based on Rev. War service.
190) Tall shader.
192) The 1900-1930 censuses ask householders if they rent or this.
199) Probably the coldest U.S. state.
Friday, January 24, 2014
Do you still use a wall calendar? Do you use it to keep track of your engagements for the year? Do you keep your old calendars or throw them out when the year has been spent? If you do use them and have some lying around you might consider scanning them for your heirs. They can provide insight into your life.
I am one of those people who uses a paper calendar to keep track of things beyond just birthdays. I also have kept a lot of my old calendars, primarily because they had pretty pictures that I thought might be useful for a craft project someday. It just occurred to me that I should scan the pages into the computer as part of my Genealogical Legacy.
concerts/plays – interests
doctor/dentist – health
visits to/from people – who you keep in contact with
birthdays – who is important to you
In an age when more and more people use online calendars, this information will eventually be lost. It may not seem like much, but wouldn't you like to have even one calendar with events included for some of your ancestors? You can give your descendants that gift.