One of the best research tips I have ever learned is to look local. If possible, pinpoint an area or region where your ancestors lived for a long time and focus on performing research in that area. Dig deep, look for those regional resources that don’t get picked up by the larger records databases.
I find a lot of great free genealogy sites by performing pinpoint research to discover what more is out there. A great many generations of various branches of my family have lived in Michigan. That has made me have to dig deeper to learn where to look for Michigan related genealogy sites.
Time after time I have often found myself turning to these three sites to further my research.
- Michiganology – This is the new manifestation of the retiring Seeking Michigan site. This site is great for locating copies of historic vital records from the state of Michigan. It has a ton of Michigan based historic information and access to the Michigan state census records. Some of the sections I love on this site include the land plats. Michiganology.org contains Michigan death records from 1897-1952 and of greater research importance the site has the Michigan state census for years 1884 and 1894 which is a great boon for anyone bemoaning that missing 1890 Federal census.
- Flint Genealogical Society – Flint is my hometown and the local genealogical society has been working over 50 years to help preserve the history of this proud industrial town. The site has great localized indexes of the cemeteries in the city with burial information for those interred. It has a searchable database of birth, marriage, divorce, and death records for the city for the years of 1867 – 1930. With a great deal of relatives who flocked to Flint during its heyday I find myself frequently needing information which is located on this site for free without having to sort through millions of records contained on some of the larger sites.
- Michigan Digital Newspaper Portal– Central Michigan University has created an amazing database of digital copies of historical newspapers from around the state. I have managed to locate some intriguing articles about some of my relatives in the state by digging through this treasure trove of information. I have realized that both my Great Grandfather and his Father were very noteworthy during some of their earliest years in the state. Not necessarily in the positive way. The digital copies of the articles are easy to search and provide great quality scans of the entire paper.
These are my top 3 favorite research sites when I am working on Michigan genealogy projects. Find these sites and more genealogical research resources on my research page.
Looking local can turn up a lot of free resources that can get lost in the noise of bigger sites. Whenever possible take the time to pinpoint research with local genealogy research sites. Keep an eye out for more of my favorite localized resources coming soon!
This article was obtained from the Digital Michigan Newspaper Library and Central Michigan University. It appeared in the Isabella County Enterprise in Isabella County, Michigan on October 30, 1925. My Great Grandfather, William Spence, had a run in with authorities for making liquor. 100 gallons of mash sounds like the start of quite a Halloween party! This is just one of several instances where dear old Great Granddad had run ins with authorities.