Monday, May 26, 2008

Reseaching In FamilySearch Lab's Michigan Vital Records Databases

As you may remember, I mentioned a few days ago that FamilySearch's Record Search had added Michigan vital records to their site, and I thought I would do a post on my experiences so far in regards to using those three databases.

For me, the addition of the Michigan vital records is a great time and money saver because I have ancestors who have lived in Michigan for at least the past 150 years. Okay, I realize that not everyone has ancestor who lived that long in Michigan, but for me, I can easily search the databases for records of my ancestors and their siblings. I don't have to worry about having to drive to other counties or libraries in Michigan to look up microfilms of vital records. I can just get on my computer and look at the databases. So, for those of us who have Michigan ancestors, it saves a lot of money and time since the databases contain the images and are free.

Anyhow, I think I've said enough about that. (Can't you tell I'm excited about this?) And as I promised, I'll start writing about my experiences.

As I stated before, my family has lived in Michigan a long time, so I was able to find many records of my ancestors, their children, their siblings and their siblings' children. Some of the information I had before, especially for my direct lines, but it was still nice that I could save those images on information that I already had. Most of my information was written down on paper, so I didn't have copies of everything that I had researched so far. With the images being available, I could just save them, and look over them whenever I wanted to, in case I happened to discover even more information. (Note: When I say images, I mean the actual images to the record books, and not to certificates, so one could be able to see if there are other family members listed on that page.)

Of course, I also found some new information, especially when it came to the marriage records. I was able to find marriage records for two of my great-grandparents that I had difficulty locating before hand. Also, I was also able to find a birth and death record for one of my ancestor's children that I did not have any solid proof of before. Even though I have been able to find information that I did not find before, there were a few disappointments. I still could not find the record of my ancestor's third marriage, nor could I find some records of deaths that I knew that had occurred in that time period. (I was able to find those records before in the record books.) Since there were deaths missing, it is very possible that FamilySearch has not added all of the records for the time periods in the databases. Plus, I was disappointed that many birth records and the death records only showed one page of the record books. Until I read Miriam's post, I was unaware that was due to technical difficulties. So, hopefully soon, the databases will be updated, and I'll be able to find what I was looking for. Either way, I have already determined that these databases are very useful. So, what do you think about these three new databases? Please leave me a comment with your thoughts. Thanks.

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