Friday, June 29, 2007

America, the Fourth of July, and my family

So, what does America and Independence Day mean to my family and I? Well, aside from the obvious - I wouldn't be here if my ancestors didn't come here - I realize that I am very blessed to be a citizen of the United States. Even though I was born a U. S. citizen, most of my ancestors were not citizens of the U. S. when they were born.

Although I don't know the all of the reasons why my ancestors chose to come to America - even though I plan to find out one day - I do know that a couple of my ancestors came to America with the hope that they would have more and better economic opportunities. I would not be surprised, though, if an ancestor's economic situation played a major factor in his or her decision to move to America. At the same time, I cannot imagine what my ancestors might have felt at the thought of moving to a foreign country, especially my German ancestors who would have been moving to a country where a different language was spoken and where there was a different culture. Despite whatever they may have felt, they came. So, America, to my family, has always been a place of opportunity.

As for Independence Day, my family has always associated the day with fireworks, barbecues, and remembering the efforts of our veterans in serving our country (yes, even more so than Memorial Day or Veteran's Day). While growing up, I remember watching the Detroit fireworks on TV - and once in down in Detroit - and the fireworks from the Spree, that always took place around the Fourth, from the front porch of the house I used to live in. As I grew older, my family would go on vacation around the Fourth. Last year, my family and I went out west, and a few days before the Fourth, we went to the evening lighting program at Mount. Rushmore. During the ceremony, the MC had all the veterans in the audience to come up to the stage and after the whole stage was filled up with veterans, people yelled out, "Thank you!"

So, what is my point? Independence Day in my family has always been associated with honoring our veterans and remembering how lucky we are to be free and live in the U. S. Without the immigration of all of our ancestors to the U. S. and the efforts of our veterans, the United States would not exist as it does today.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Michigan Genealogy - links

Even though I haven't posted on the Library of Michigan, I thought would post some links. One link that you could use in your research, if you had ancestors that died in Michigan between 1867 and 1897, is GENDIS. GENDIS is a database of early Michigan deaths that spans the years between 1867 and 1897. Although there have not been any names added to the database in the past few years, there are still transcriptions of the early death returns sent to the state. The majority of deaths for the years 1867 to 1884 are complete while after 1884, there aren't as many death returns in the database. (At least, I think that was I read in the introduction to the database.)

Another helpful link would be the University of Michigan's Online Michigan County Histories Collection. This website has many Michigan county histories online, and you can view them for free! The best way to view a page would be to chose from the menu option, next to the page number, the pdf format.

Another helpful link is the genealogy section of the Library of Michigan's website. Here you can view Michigan's 1870 Census online images for free and can print them. You can also find information on the Library of Michigan's collection of genealogy material and primary sources.

More Genealogy blogs and some History blogs added

As the title of this posts states, I've added more blogs to the left side of the page and I've divided the blogs into genealogy and history categories.

The genealogy blogs added are:

  • Jasia's Creative Genealogy blog
  • John D. Reid's Anglo-Celtic Connections blog
  • The Genetic Genealogist
  • Unofficial Footnote blog

The history blogs category is a new a category that I added today. You can find the history blogs right below the genealogy blogs.

The history blogs added are:

  • Maggie's Civil War Women
  • Old Picture of the Day blog
  • Professor Deborah E. Lipstadt's History On Trial

If anyone has any other suggestions for history or genealogy blogs, please leave me a comment with the address, and I'll post them. All suggestions are appreciated.

Ancestry creates Ancestry websites for France and Italy

I've just noticed that Ancestry added an article to their blog about Ancestry's addition of two websites for France and Italy. You can read the article here: . Of course, I'm wondering what type of records they added to those websites, and I'm also wondering if members will be able to access those records. I guess it will be interesting to see what develops.

Monday, June 25, 2007

Native American Records added to Ancestry

I just noticed this post on Ancestry's blog just a few minutes ago, and I thought I would post on it. Ancestry has added records pertaining to Native America genealogy. From what I read, the databases added appear to census records of reservations. You can read the rest of the article here:

I don't have any experience in researching Native American genealogy, but I hope that the addition of these records makes doing genealogy reasearch easier for those doing research in Native American genealogy.

Update: 27 June 2007: I had to change the link to the article on Ancestry's blog, as Ancestry redid their posts from the past two days. I'm sorry if anyone tried the link, and couldn't find the article.

Michigan Genealogy 101 - Part One - Vital Records

As I promised a few weeks ago, here is the first post on Michigan genealogy! By now everyone has probably figured out that I am from Michigan, and since most of my ancestors settled in Michigan during the Mid-1800s, most of my genealogical research has been done in Michigan.

The state of Michigan began officially recording births, marriages and deaths in 1867, although some of the counties did not begin recording until 1868. You can easily find out when a county started recording vital records through the Library of Michigan's county clerk directory. (To those who already know this and are reading this post, I am sorry for repeating information.) When I read Carol McGinnus' book, I remember (I think) that she mentioned that the law called for recording vital records starting March of 1867. So, if you had an ancestor who was born or died before March 1867, the chances are that you will probably not find a civil record.

Marriages before 1867, on the other hand, may have been record by a county clerk. From what I remember, I think Carol stated in her book that county clerks were required by law, since 1805, to record marriages. Of course, that depends on when the county was formed. I know St. Joseph County has recorded marriages since 1832 primarily because I've done research in that county. Again, the link up above would probably be the best way to find out when a county started recording vital records.

If you go to the Library of Michigan to research, be aware that the Library only has vital records dating from 1867.

In my next post, I'll talk about doing research in the Library of Michigan.