Sunday, February 17, 2008

Temporary Stoppage

Over the last few weeks the amount of readership for this blog has decreased dramatically. To me this is a indication that I am not reaching the audience with interesting and helpful information. The amount of time I spend researching the daily blogs does not warrant the readership. Thank you for your support in the past.

In a few days I will make a final decision.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Upcoming week

I will be in upstate New York during the upcoming week so I am spending the weekend writing this weeks blogs ahead of time. Have a great weekend and I will continue my overviews on Monday.

Friday, February 15, 2008

Allen County Public Library- Ft Wayne IN

If you have not made the trip to the Allen County Public Library in Ft Wayne, IN you have missed out on one of the largest genealogical libraries in the country. It is well worth the trip. They have just redone it in the last year and have all there resources available in the racks. Here is a link to a tour of the library.

Have a great weekend.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Livingston County, MI- Obits

The best place to look for obits in this county is at the public library in Brighton. They have a extensive collection of newspapers in the county.

Remember before tracing obits you need to know when a particular person died. From that date work forward for sometimes as many days as a week to check for a obit. Most obits are not the best on information on our ancestors, but must be located. Pay special attention to names mentioned in the article, because they will often provide clues later in your search on relationships and ancestry. Always make copies of the obits when available. Be sure to note name of the Newspaper, date and page. This will help in your proof and verification.

The records are as follows.

Brighton Argus - microfilm
1880 - 1883 April - December
1895 - 1896 December - November
1900 - 1939 January - December
1965 January - December
1968 January - December
1970 - 2000 January - September
Livingston County Daily Press and Argus - microfilm
2000 September - Current

Tomorrow I will profile the Brighton library. Have a great day.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Ft. Wayne Trip- Detroit area

For those folks in the Detroit area here is a wonderful opportunity to go to one of the premier genealogical libraries in the country.

The Detroit Society for Genealogical Research is taking a bus trip to Ft
Wayne to the Allen County Public Library to research for the day. They
will be leaving Southfield, Michigan on Feb 23 in the early morning (ca
6:30am) and returning that same night. Dinner is available on the way home
for an additional fee.
Contact me off list for more details. All are welcome!

I was there in August and it is wonderful what they have done. Have a great day.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Lvingston County -Civil War Records

Many counties have records on a local basis for their soldiers that participated in the war. Be certain to check with the courthouse in the county of Livingston for these records. They are often in the probate court and tend to be records that are often overlooked for information.

Here is another excellent link I found on the Civil War in Michigan.

Have a great day.

Monday, February 11, 2008

Livingston County Cemetery Records

The majority cemetery inscriptions in the county of Livingston have been indexed at the following web site. Understand that this is a very early county and over time stones have gone missing for a variety of reasons. The copies of these records is also located at the library in Howell.

When planning to visit the graveyard be sure to check for a care taker of the records for the cemetery you are looking for your ancestor. They often provide valuable clues to your families ancestry.

Good luck in your family search.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Upcoming Workshop

It is always a good idea to attend the presentations put on by the local genealogical
groups in your area. The learning genealogy never ends and you always have room
to learn new things. Here is one coming up in March.

The Polish Genealogical Society of Michigan, in cooperation with the
Programs Department of the Sterling Heights Public Library, is hosting a
Genealogy Technical Workshop on Saturday, March 8, 2008 at the Sterling
Heights Public Library, 40255 Dodge Park Rd., Sterling Heights, Michigan.
Welcome and late registration at 9:30 a.m. Workshop is 10 a.m. to 12 noon.

The workshop is open to PGSM members and the public. The lecture will be a
live Internet demonstration. You can bring your own laptop computer and
follow along. Wireless service is available at the library. One segment of
the demonstration will be setting up a free website on aol or comcast. You
must bring your own login username and password to access your personal
system provider online.

To register, e-mail:
Please register early.

Have a great weekend.

Saturday, February 9, 2008


I will be traveling to the library today to conduct some research. Should hopefully be able to post the results next Saturday. Have a wonderful weekend.

Friday, February 8, 2008

Livingston Co., MI- Naturalization Records

When researching naturalization records in Livingston County you have two excellent places to find the records. The first is at the probate court in Howell and the second is a book published on the topic that is located at the local Howell library.

Naturalization records offer us clues to the potential origin of our ancestors. The document indicate the person nationality, ship, time arrival, location at time of application and port of arrival. In my searches it has been very rare to find the information necessary to pinpoint exact locations of origin, but they do exist.

The book of interest at the library on the topic is

Charboneau, Milton, Naturalization Records, Livingston County Michigan, (Howell, MI, Livingston County Genealogical Society, 1991, No film) This covers court records from 1847- 1851 and indexes from 1859 to 1957.

The actual documents can be found at the courthouse in the Probate Court. The book will help you in narrowing down your search.

Get out there and support your local genealogical groups they are doing wonderful work at preserving our historical past. Have a great weekend.

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Livingston County- Land Records

Land records in Livingston began being documented in 1836. These records tend to be a often overlooked part of most peoples genealogical research. Land records provide actual documentation of a time period when a person moved into a county, relatives that live close to that person and approximate times when the person died. This truly is part of the detective work we hear about in genealogy.

Land records can vary in length and information. In my own personnel research I have seen many mentions of relationships identified in these documents not only with children, but also brothers, sisters, parents, aunts and uncles.

Be certain when researching your families land records. It is hard work and takes some getting use to, but pays off in big dividends. Have a wonderful day.

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Livingston County- Wills

The research necessary to locate a will for a dead ancestor is well worth the search. Key to the search is to identify the persons date of death and use that as the starting point. Typically the will if written will be filed within six months after the persons death.

The wills in Livingston County are located at the Probate Court. After searching I was unable to come up with a time period that the records were filed and indexed. Be certain to obtain a copy of the document when you send or visit the courthouse. Names and comments provide valuable clues when doing ones search. Maiden names for daughters are often only found in her parents Wills. Executors are often relatives and can be traced later for more clues.

Tomorrow I will be talking about naturalization records. Have a great day.

Monday, February 4, 2008

Livingston County- Death Records

Death records are important to confirm facts about our ancestors and their relationships. Records in Livingston county are at the courthouse in Howell.

The County Clerk records include those deaths in the county from 1867 to present. All certified records can be obtained at these two locations. Be sure to have the date narrowed down to the day or at least the year. Please be patient with the these folks as it takes time to retrieve the records.

Remember the information in a death records is only as good as the person giving the information. Be sure to confirm the information with other source records. Many times maiden names of mothers, spelling and place of birth have errors. Be certain to confirm this information.

I will be discussing the wills in Livingston County. Have a great day.

Livingston County Marriage Records

The county of Livingston started recording marriage records in 1836. This is a very early period of time as compared to many other counties. The records are located at the courthouse in Howell.

All of the marriage records are indexed. Be sure to pay special attention on marriage records to who the trustees that are listed. They often provide valuable clues to family relationships that are often overlooked when to doing your genealogy. Be sure to make copies of this document, because some of the names don't always stick out as clues immediately. In my family a person listed on a marriage record as a witness later was traced to be the maiden name of the mother once I traced the family back into Virginia.

Tomorrow I will be going over the death records of the county. Thank you again for your support and please send any questions or ideas you might have.

Sunday, February 3, 2008

Genealogy Program- Mt Clemens, MI

For all folks in Southeast Michigan I thought this might be a wonderful oppourtunity
to expand your genealogical understanding.

There will be a Book Fair on Saturday, February 9th from 10 am - 4pm at the
Mount Clemens Public Library featuring a variety of talks and workshops on
different subjects. The schedule, details and registration form is online

The sessions on genealogy (all free) include:

10:05-11:45 "The Roots of Your Family Tree: Learn How to Dig" Ann
Faulkner and Lisa Eschenburg of the Macomb County Genealogy Group (MCGG)
will present a Beginner's Workshop on how to Trace Your Family Tree. An
overview on how to find, record, prove, and organize your information using
both traditional and computerized methods, will be discussed. Assisted by
other members of the MCGG, we will then divide up into small groups to
answer your questions and discuss your individual research. It would be
helpful if you brought any photocopies of family documents that you might
have, for this phase of the workshop. Handouts will be available.

1:15-2:45 "Putting Flesh on the Bones of Your Ancestors" with Bob Bauer.
How to write up the lives and stories of your ancestors to make them come
alive to their descendants.

3:00-4:00 "Genealogy and Local History Roundtable."

Have a great Sunday.

Saturday, February 2, 2008

Genealogy Groups

I hope that this site is providing valuable information for those folks that are readers. Now is the time to be attending your local genealogy group meetings. These are excellent places to learn new skills for future search and networking with people that can help you with your family search.

This take some time to attend these meetings in your area. The time spent will be well worth your time.

Thanks again for your support. Please let me know if there are any specific topics that you would like to see covered. Spread the word on the blog.

Friday, February 1, 2008

Birth Records- Livingston Co., MI

Birth records are valuable document in our family searches. The primary location to locate these records is at the county courthouse in Howell. It did not become the responsibility of the county to start recording birth records until 1867. Prior to this time they are non existent unless found in other sources.

Birth records start in 1867 and run until present. Be sure to have at least a decade narrowed down when you begin your search. Birth records tend to be indexed so you will be able to not only get the name of the person you are looking for, but also people with the same last name. This is helpful is rural counties where the population was not so high. Sure there are exceptions to this search, but they are few. Common surnames in a particular area translate into common relationships.

Be patient with the courthouse folks and realize they get many requests for searches. If you plan to go in person it is always a good idea to call ahead and make sure that they will be open when you wish to go.

Have a great day.

Thursday, January 31, 2008

Livingston County, MI- History

Livingston county was formed in 1833 out of the counties of Washtenaw and Shiawassee. The land had originally been set aside as military land, but due to the swampy nature of the land surveyed they did not get many takers. As the land became more explored the hilly and grassy areas were discovered. The amount of people coming to this area increased dramatically.

The county was named after Edward Livingston who had been Secretary of State under President Jackson. The area was also a major route between Detroit and Lansing. The trail is known as Grand River avenue and had been a major Indian trail prior to the white man settling the area. One of the results of the trail was the creation of the City of Howell.

Tomorrow I will start covering birth records in the county. Have a great day.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Great Lakes Sailors

The occupation of serving on a ship was a important one in the early days of Southeast Michigan. As the area developed it became much more common in cities like Monroe and Detroit. Inter lake trade and transportation began as early as the 1800's, but really increased once the canal system was established.

Ships in those days would start from Buffalo at the eastern end of Lake Erie. This was the western edge of the Erie canal. A common cargo at this time was moving settlers from the east to points along the eastern edge of Michigan and points beyond. Eastern supplies from industrial companies were also a common cargo. They would then transport on a very regular basis to the growing areas in Michigan.

Once they arrived in Southeast Michigan they then would transport about anything that could fit in a barrel back in East. Transport of food, raw materials like wood and stone were common. The trade would help the area become more prosperous and would work as a draw for people to the area.

Life as a sailor on a ship was a difficult one during this period of time. Ships were powered by the wind and later steam. Many people from the New England area had participated in these occupations prior to moving so it was often a life style they new very well.

The National Archives has records for people that were sailors on the Great Lakes. They are much later in time, but may shed light on your ancestors. The file is RG 85 which includes 91 rolls of microfilm.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Railroad workers- SE Michigan

Did you have a Grandpa that worked on the railroad? From about 1850 to the 1950's this was a very popular occupation for people living in Southeast Michigan. The service records and location of the railroad routes can be valuable resources when researching your ancestors. This resource is not one that is commonly consulted when looking for information on your ancestors.

When looking through a ancestors obituary or stories you may learn that one of your relatives had worked for the railroad. This information can be used to gather additional information on your ancestors work career. The following resources are excellent for completing your search.

1. Jackson, Elisabeth and Carolyn Curtis. Guide to the Burlington Archives in the Burlington Archives in the Newberry Library 1851-1901. Chicago: Newberry Library, 1940.
This book includes land office records and payroll records.

2. Kanely, Edna. Baltimore and Ohio Railroad Employees, 1982.

3. National Union Catalog of Manuscript Collection, Washington DC. Library of Congress 1962-1994.
This is a excellent record of where the records are stored at almost 1400+ repositories

4. Taber, Thomas T. Guide to Railroad Historical Resources. United States and Canada. 4 vols. Muncy, PA: TT Taber, 1993.
Another guide for location of historical materials. Lists addresses and all is listed by state.

The largest resource for locating your railroad workers is the United States Railroad Retirement Board which was established in the 1930's and house records up to pre 1937. You need to have the ancestors Social Security Number to complete the search. You will also need persons full name, railroad they worked for, time period of employment, birth date and death date. They can be contacted at

Some other sources for online research are as follows-

1. Extensive resource for railroad links.

2. Site for the Central Pacific Railroad

3. Extensive railroad links

In the future I will be talking about other occupations and the genealogical records they may have.

Monday, January 28, 2008

Military Records- WWII

The last war that I will cover in this section is World War II. As we all know this war had a major effect on Southeast Michigan from both a people and economic standpoint. We played a major part in supporting the war effort.

When looking for genealogical records related to this service you are left with two basic sets of records draft registration and enlistment records. The unfortunate part concerning these records is that the National Archives had a fire and many of these records were destroyed. The good news is that many of them survived.

The registration cards are very similar to those records covered for WWI. The document lists the persons name, birth, location of birth, occupation and personnel stats. It also tells where the person lived at the time of sign up.

The enlistment records give a brief description of where the person was mustered into the military. What part of the military did they serve. The document also gives what theater of the service the person served.

Again these records can be obtained from the National Archives or Ancestry (pay site) on the internet.

Over the next week I will start profiling the individual counties in Southeast Michigan. Please ask questions now or ideas you would like me to cover and I will include them. I am also still looking for peoples brick walls. Do you have ancestors in Southeast Michigan that you are having trouble with? Give me a try I will do it for free and it will be profiled on Saturdays in the blog.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Snowy Sunday

Had some more snow over night. Going all be gone by Tuesday with a warm up. Have a great Sunday.

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Recent Brickwalls

Recently i have gotten two brick wall requests for Southeastern Michigan. Both happen to be for Lenawee Co., MI. Over the next week I will be researching these two lines and hope to have a progress report for you next Saturday. Please remember to send me your own brick walls.

Have a great Saturday.

Friday, January 25, 2008

Military Records- World War I

The Great War was the first major global event for soldiers in Southeast Michigan. The information from this war is unique in that the main document is the draft registration card that was generated on a local basis.

When tracing you WWI ancestor the first item is to know where they lived during the possible time of sign up. The cards for a particular area are listed alphabetically. The information provided is fabulous. They list the persons name, address, date of birth, age, race, citizenship status, birthplace, occupation and employer, dependent relative, martial status, father's birthplace, and name and address of nearest relative. For many new immigrants this would be one of their first important documents while in America. The listing of the soldiers address and relatives address are very important when proving kinship.

Another index that I have seen for this time period that is very valuable is of all women in a given area that are able to work. The cards list all the same information as the men, but include their ability to work. This is a fascinating resource for a period in our history that was dominated by men.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

GAR Military Records

The Grand Army of the Republic is a military organization that was organized by veterans on the Union side of the Civil War in 1866. This group was located in almost ever town in Southeast Michigan of any size. This group is similar to a VFW hall that we would have in modern times.

The records by this organization are a little hit and miss. Many of the records for the individual groups were destroyed for a variety of reasons over the years, but some have been kept. Applications for this organization were often as detailed as those used for pension records. Another interesting outcome was the publication of the group magazine called "The National Tribune". Here the soldiers would write detailed stories about their experience in the war. These can be very interesting and offer flavor to your ancestors past if they participated in the same Regiments in the war.

The GAR held annual meetings on a national, state and local level. In the city of Detroit and Toledo held one of the national meetings. At the time this was a pretty major event and would bring thousands of people from all across the country to your city. There would be marching bands, speeches and a variety of other activities. In most cases the President of the United States would be in attendance at this event.

The city of Jacokson held the State convention on several occasions. This was well attended by people all over the state of Michigan. You will find pictures and many post cards of downtown Jackson decorated for this event.

On a more local level the individual regiments will have reunions. I have seen documents for reunions in Adrian, Jackson, Ann Arbor, Howell, and Detroit.

All of these gatherings would produce items for the soldiers. Many medals, ribbons, water canteens, cups, books and pins were produced as keep sakes. Pictures were also taken in abundance and many pictures can be found with males wearing medals. If you have old pictures this is a excellent clue to participation in the Civil War.

Similar to today's Women's Auxiliary for the VFW the GAR had a Women's Auxiliary. Records were also kept for applications for this group as well. Information and clues exist in their records but many have experience the same fate as the men's.

A good place to start your search is to determine if your person participated in the Civil War. Then check out the Michigan Historical Society website. They have many sources on the GAR.

Another link to check out is manuscript collection at the Library of Congress. On their website they have a listing of all the GAR posts in Southeastern Michigan. They are intermixed with the rest of Michigan, but this will help find if there was a local post in your area. When I looked, most cities large and small had a GAR post.

Another current group that grew out of this group is Sons of Union Veterans and Daughters of Union Veterans. These were organized as the veterans began to pass on and kept their children involved in the group. There are some of these groups spread across Southeast Michigan and meet on a monthly basis.

Good luck on your GAR research.

Monday, January 21, 2008

Civil War- Pension Records

In the early stages of tracing your family back in time, the pension records from the Civil War are a important document. If your relative served in all likely hood they applied for a pension record. It does not mean that they got one, but even a rejected application can have a great deal of information.

Here again the more information and details you have on the solider the better. The information provided on the service record application is the same for the pension record. The information is a first hand account by your ancestor or widow on the events that occurred during the individuals service. The primary information is person's name, date of enlistment, location of enlistment, birth date, location of birth, injuries during battle, death date if widow and location of death. Another important item is a list of where they have lived since the war and complete list of children with birth dates. The information in these documents can vary, but I have seen several that exceed fifteen pages and up. Pension papers are one of the few documents in your research that you will get a first hand account done by your ancestors. All of these records area available again at the National Archives.

My ancestor George Davey applied for a pension after he left the service. When he enrolled he had actually given the wrong year of birth. He was older than most when he signed up so his date he gave the government varied by ten years his actual birth date. Needless to say when it came time to apply for his pension he had a lot of explaining to do. His pension record had a great deal of documentation as a result.

Be sure to get your ancestors service and pension records from the Civil War. They offer extensive clues to earlier generations.

Civil War Case Study- cont

From our last post on this topic we were able to determine that William Wallace Brown served in the 54th Ohio Co. K. The next step was to order the service records from the National Archives to document his period of service in the war.

The first step in this process is to get the form. This can be obtained from the National Archives website. From the County history I was able to determine the period of time that he served. (8 Feb. 1864-15 Aug. 1865) Other facts that are needed on the form is state of service, union or confederate, and volunteer or regular. The unit in which he served is critical. (54th OH, Co. K) They also want to know the persons date of birth, death and location of each event. The less information that you are able to provide the less likely you are to get back information from the National Archives.

With the use of a credit card the records can be ordered over the Internet. Allow for four to six weeks for delivery though. Please be aware that this information costs from $50 to $75 dollars.

The information you can expect to obtain from the service documents includes the rank of the solider, rate of pay, locations of payment, health and date of mustering out. The amount of data retrieved from these files really varies. I have experienced a variety of information from these records. They can be as basic as date of document, soldiers name, location of pay and amount of pay. Then there are others where the amount of information is much more detailed.

William Wallace Brown's service records were very detailed. He served a very short period of time in the war. He served in the latter half of the war in the Western Theater. The battles he fought in included Stone River, Chickamauga and March to the Sea. William was present at the signing of the peace treaty by Johnston in North Carolina and participated in the victory parade in Washington, DC at the end of the war. This was rare for soldiers that were fought in the Western portion of the war. Finally he was mustered out of the war in Texas. Amongst the things that he took home with him according to the documents was his uniform and equipment including his gun. This type of information is rare and would not be found anywhere else other than family lore.

I know in the case of my own ancestor my father and I took it one step further. We used the service record along with some other sources to document where are ancestor participated during the war. Then we mapped out a trip and visited the many battles that he served in during the war. This turned out to be a very moving experience for both of us. The meaning of history and the part that are ancestor had played in the war came home to both of us.

Tomorrow I will talk about the pension records. This will give a much richer understanding of the value of military records.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Cold Cold Sunday

Thank you for all the interesting brick walls.

I will continue with the military records this week. Have a great day.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Saturday Morning

Things are developing well on this blog. I hope that the coverage on military records has been helpful in your genealogical research. Next week we will wind up with records up to WWII.

On Saturdays I would like to feature someones brickwall and show the steps taken to provide a solution or insight into the issue. Please send me some of yours related to Southeastern Michigan.

Remember to email me if you have ideas on topics that you would like to have me talk about. With over thirty years of research I have run through many issues.

Thank you again and have a great weekend.

Friday, January 18, 2008

Civil War Records- Case Study

The first steps in searching your Civil War ancestor is to determine if they participated in the war and from where did they serve. I will show this process in a search I did recently for a client.

Recently I was having a party at my home and had a conversation with a friend that I have had for years. While in my office he was looking at the many Civil War items I had decorating my walls. He indicated that he thought he had an ancestor that participated in the war. Curiosity had gotten the best of him and he knew that I did genealogy searches of this sort.

Here are the facts as he told them to me to begin the search.

1. The subjects name was William Brown (Yikes, Can we get anymore generic)
2. He lived in Upper Sandusky, Wyandotte Co., OH when he died.
3. His spouses name was Harriett.
4. Family lore indicated that he was always called Colonel.
5. The family had sold all his Civil War related items from this person several years ago.

This was all the information that I had to go on to begin the search. The intention here was to determine what unit he served in and where. My friend was also interested in learning if William Brown or his spouse Harriett had applied for a pension. So I began the search.

I had my friend talking to relatives to see if any more information could be learned. No success. We talked with his father to determine if any written information was in the families hands. No information.

This left me to begin the search in the Census records of the time to determine age and location of our William Brown right before the Civil War broke out in 1861. I new that the majority of the people that served in the war were born between 1820 and 1847. Sure, there are exceptions at both ends of the period. Some generals that served in the war were born prior to 1820 and some drummers were born after 1847. I started my search looking in the 1850 Ohio Census for Wyandotte Co., OH. I was able to locate the proper William Brown living in the county during this period. This was good information, because it showed that he had been in the county for several years prior to entering the war. From the records I was able to determine that he was born in the year 1843. This fit's the proper age group for service. The next step was to track the same individual into the 1860 census. He was found ten years older of course and still living with his family.

The next step for me was to determine what unit William Brown may have served. Well up front I new this was going to be a difficult task. I checked a free online resource called the Civil War Soldiers and Sailors System. When doing a search in the listing for William Brown serving in the Infantry from Ohio I had over 275 hits. Needless to say this was not the answer in narrowing down the search. I needed to find another way.

A very good source in most counties is the county or regimental histories. I started by looking through the county histories. I was able to determine through the History of Wyandott Co., OH that men from the county served in a least eight different regiments. Not to mention some cavalry and artillery units. I did some more study of the individual units on another website to determine my next best plan of attack. The information indicated that some of the units were actually organized in adjacent counties. A regimental history was not available.

I cross referenced my unit list with William Brown's in them against those units in the history that came from Wyandott Co. Through this I was able to narrow the search down. Two regiments remained. The 88th Ohio Volunteer Infantry and the 54 th Ohio Volunteer Infantry.
According to the county history company K of the 54th was partially organized in the county, but were mustered in Lima, Allen Co., OH. Through the search of the regiments lists of members served. I determined that indeed a William Brown served in this unit. The 54th served from 1861 to 1865. From the regiment lists that William Brown never served as a Colonel.

The next step was to consult with a different county history where I was able to find a biography on William Brown. From the information in the bio I confirmed that the individual was married to Harriett Paulin and he has served in the 54th Ohio company K. He also died in Upper Sandusky in old age and had been a member of the GAR.

Needless to say my friend was thrilled with the information. The search was not done yet and I will talk about that in the next few days.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Civil War recrods

The Civil War would be a life changing event for many that lived in Southeast Ohio. The state of Michigan was one of the larger states when it came to organizing and supplying the war effort. The first call for soldiers signing up would be in 1861.

The soldiers in the beginning would sign up on a regional basis. A prominent citizen with no other qualifications than being prominent in that area would lead the organization. The call would come from the governor and then down to a local level. Having a person with any military training to lead a troop was very rare. Political clout tended to be a major qualification for leadership. In the early years of the war the sign ups were brisk. Many people of the period believed that the war was going to last for a very short period of time. Thus the ninety day troop sign up was the first version. The experience level of the leadership would add to the awful cost of war.

The typical regiment was organized at the county seat. The individual units within the regiments would be organized from the various geographic areas within the county. In counties where population was sparse it was not uncommon for units to organize in the regiment in the next county. Once the regiment was organized they were then sent to Ft. Wayne in Detroit. I have seen exceptions though to the in county and adjacent county rule, but this typically happened later in the war.

The majority of the soldiers in Southeast Michigan would end up serving in the eastern and western portion of the south. Many units from Southeast Michigan served with distinction and many generals would come from our area.

More on the Regimental records later.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

War of 1812 Update

The following information has been brought to my attention concerning the pension and bounty land records for the War of 1812. Many men or their widows applied for pension or bounty land under the Old War Pension Act which was prior to 1812. For more explanation on the individual acts please look at the following link The descriptive pamphlet listed here is listed under M313 The index to the War of 1812 Pension Application files. Men who participated in the war between 1812 and 1815, and applied for pension, are included in the Index to the Pension and Bounty Land Application Files.

Another area to look for information is also in the Application files. These will be indexed if the solider, sailor or widow was eligible or not. If a claim was made a filed was started even if it would later be rejected.

I hope this helps but understand these important genealogical records. Thanks again for the correction.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Indian Wars

One of the lesser known sources for military records is the Indian War Series. The people that served against the Indians from 1817 to 1898. This was a very common form of service in Southeast Michigan in the early years prior to the movement of the Indians from the area.

This series is indexed by surname and is stored at the National Archives in the Index to Indian Wars Pension Files 1892-1926(T318-twelve rolls). Included in the file is how long the person served, whether they survived the war and if the solider was survived by a widow. They also include places lived. When they were married and to whom. Location where they died and children with birth dates.

As you can see from the overviews on War records there is a lot of valuable genealogical related information that can be gained.


Have a great Sunday. Back to military records on Monday.

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Brick Walls

On Saturdays I would like to profile peoples brick walls. I will research your family for free offering clues and solutions to your research. Then I would profile the search on the blog. Please send them to my email. Thank you.

Friday, January 11, 2008

Mitchell Research Center- Hillsdale, MI

The Mitchell Research Center is affiliated with the Hillsdale Community Library. They have a excellent collection of records and histories related to research in Hillsdale County, MI.

Resources available at the MRC include:
  • Birth Index -- 1866-1902
  • Cemetery Records
  • Census Indexes
  • Church Records
  • City Directories
  • County Histories
  • DAR Records
  • Death Index -- 1867-2002
  • Family Histories
  • Maps
  • Marriage Index -- 1835-2000
  • Michigan Pioneer Records
  • Military Records
  • Newspapers
  • Periodicals and Newsletters
  • Surname Card Files
The library is located at

11 E. Bacon St.
Hillsdale, MI 49242
(Fax) 517.437.6477

Be sure to check out this collection when doing your Hillsdale County research.

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Mexican War

The next war of interest would be the Mexican War which occurred between 1846 and 1848. This is a war that is not spoken of much. Soldiers from all over the United States participated. Southeast Michigan was no exception.

Pensions were available to those soldiers who served sixty days and to their widows who did not remarry with a act of congress in 1887. The files are arranged in alphabetical order and have a master index of names. The records are indexed in "Index to Mexican War Pension Files 1887-1926"(T317- fourteen rolls). The files include for the soldier place of birth, enlistment date and discharge records and areas lived in since service. The spouses file will include date of marriage, who married them, and where the soldier died. The file will include wife's maiden name, names of former wives if any with date and place of death or divorce. It will also name all living children with their dates of birth.

This is a outstanding source of genealogical information. This information is stored at the National Archives in Washington DC.

War of 1812

Southeastern Michigan played a important part in the War of 1812. Major events occurred in Detroit and around Monroe, MI. One of the interesting outcomes of this war was not only did it result in securing this area for the United States, but it also resulted in many of the soldiers and sailors staying in this area after the war.

In the case of the foot solider they got to see a lot of the land by virtue of the major form of transportation in the army at the time called walking. They moved all along the Maumme River and up into the southern portions of Michigan. This would give them valuable understanding of the area and would result in many of them locating in this area after the war.

Just like the Revolutionary War there are three primary sources of records. They include service records, pension records and bounty land records. The service records run from 1812 to 1815. They are organized by state or territory and then by individual regiments. Genealogical information in these records is slim like in the Revolutionary War records.

The really sad part concerning the pension records and bounty land records is Congress did not get around to passing legislation until 1871 and 1878. The vast majority of soldiers that had participated and their wives had passed away by this time. As a result the claims for this war are low. The files are listed alphabetically by last name. The information included in these files both pension and bounty is name, age and residency of the veteran. The maiden name of the wife. The place and date of their marriage. The rank achieved while participating during the war. The unit that he served. The date and locations of joining and discharge. The widows claim includes the widows name, age and place of residence. Date and place of their marriage and the name of the official that performed the ceremony. The date and place of the veterans death.

The records are all included at the National Archives in Washington, DC. Provide as much information as you can about your ancestor. The fewer facts you have on the forms the higher likely hood of rejection.

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Miltary Records- Revolution War Veterans

With the creation of the United States laws were provided to take care of those veterans that served our country during the Revolutionary War. The descendants of the soldiers came to the area of Southeast Micigan in large volumes.

Southeast Michigan had a many Revolutionary Soldiers that died and were buried in the area. Due to the age of many of the soldiers who fought it was common for them to come to our area. The information gained from there service records can be valuable to tracing your ancestors to their states of origin.

Two primary records exist for the soldiers that served. The first is the service record. There were two primary units. They were those that served in the Continental Army and those that served in the state militia. Service records for the Continental Army are located at the National Archives and state militia records are at the state level of the state served. These records provide information on when the person served, where they joined and how long they served. This information provides valuable clues to the area that the person came from. This is critical when trying to trace the ancestors back further.

The second primary source and by far the most valuable is pension records and bounty land warrants. These provide a treasure trove of information related to the soldiers life and military service. The person was proving who they were and that they were eligible for the pension. In these records you will find where the person was born and when. You will get a list of where this person has lived since their service in the war. This is important, because it shows their migration pattern. The document will list who they served under and where they served. The spouses name will be listed and I have seen instances where the spouses maiden name is given. Spouses were also eligible for this benefit after the death of the solider.

Bounty Land warrants were applied far more than the pensions. The information provided is the same as that for a pension. Over 450,000 applications are located at the Archives in Washington. These bounty's were granted all over the Northern part of Ohio.

The records both for the Continental Army, pension records and bounty land warrants are located at the National Archives in Washington. The files are indexed by the soldiers name. When searching your family history this is another valuable source of information and something to be very proud of their service.

Monday, January 7, 2008

Migration Patterns- Traveling in Groups

A common misunderstanding is that people would travel either alone or in single family groups. This is not the case. Unlike today where people travel often on their own to new homes in the early days there was strength in numbers. This becomes a very important issue when using the Census to pinpoint family groups and areas of origin.

When reviewing the US census records it is important to use the up ten and down ten rule. Once the person you are looking for is identified on a particular census sheet it is now time to use the rule. Look at the ten family groups previous on the census and the ten families after you ancestors group. Notice surnames and states of origin that are common. These will be very important clues to doing your search.

During a recent search I was able to use this technique with great success. I was having problems with locating the original state of origin for a family member. They were living in Huron Co., OH from about 1845 to the early 1900's. From information I obtained I new that the family had originated from Ashtabula Co., OH, but the eldest members had been born in Massachusetts. They were in Ashtabula at a very early date between 1820 and 1845. From doing will and land searches in Huron Co I determined that my ancestor has a brother living in the same town. This helped me in locating where they lived in Ashtabula. They had both lived very close to each other through several census records and ended up being buried very close to each other in a cemetery in Huron.

When looking at the Census records for 1820 and 1830 in Ashtabula I was able to identify several heads of household sharing the same name. On the brothers census in 1830 two people living with him were over 70 years in age 1 male and 1 female. Combining this information with tax records and voting records I was able to determine that this was the boys father. With additional search I was able to determine that other people with the common surnames were male siblings. Without using this technique I would not have been able to connect the family back to the 1630's.

This family where I am connected is actually from Adrian in Lenawee Co., MI.

So when you are doing your next census search remember families and old neighbors moved in groups. Check the names and locations where they came from. Searching some of the biographies or obits on the neighbors may help in determining your ancestors origins.

Sunday, January 6, 2008


I have noticed during my searches on the internet that many of the libraries local history rooms and genealogical groups are looking for volunteers. The projects vary from cataloging collections, helping fellow genealogist with challenges, documenting cemetery stones and helping with new items. Please help your local library or genealogy group so we all can benefit from the work.

Please send me your brickwalls and I will help you with them. Click on my profile by my picture and this will take you to my email. This will be featured in my Saturday posts as I help discover solutions.

Thank you again for all your support and have a great weekend.

Saturday, January 5, 2008


Each Saturday I would like to use readers brick walls as case studies on how to go about tracing your ancestors. Please click on my profile next to my picture. This will take you to my email and please send me your brickwalls. My hope is that this will help others in solving their genealogical challenges.

Friday, January 4, 2008

Monroe County Public Library

For those of you that have not visited one of my blogs before, I make a practice on Fridays to profile a library or facility of genealogical interest in the area that I am speaking. The intent is to educate on resources that are available so they can be used.

The library I have chosen of the first profile is the Monroe County Public Library in Monroe, MI. For anyone doing research on Monroe County ancestors or may have had a family spend some time in the county the library is a excellent place to start.

A great deal of the written collection in the library deals with local history, but also has a extensive collection related to Canadian history. This area during the early period was settled heavily by both English and French Canadians. For many doing research in the county the search continues in Canada instead of Ohio. The library has a good collection of historical maps and atlases.

Extensive lists of cemeteries exist in the collection. This becomes a more important tool in doing research, because of the rapid reduction in quality of many cemetery stones due to weather and vandalism.

Another unique item in the collection is the Marion Child's interviews. Marion back in the fifties and early sixties interviewed older residence of the county about their lives and history. Another collection of oral histories was conducted by Monroe Community College and includes over 200 oral histories. This provides a unique window in our ancestors past. Collections like this are unique and are very few in number.

The library also includes microfilm of all the major newspapers in the county dating back to the 1830's. A very valuable asset. Naturalization and church records are also in the collection.

When doing research on ancestors be sure to check out the Monroe County Library which is located at the main library in Monroe.

Thursday, January 3, 2008

Migration Patterns 1780-1850

One of the major events of movement west was the opening of the Erie Canal in 1825. The waterway ran from Albany, NY and traveled to Buffalo, NY along the eastern edge of Lake Erie. Travel suddenly became easier and cheaper.

The canal began in Albany, NY along the upper portion of the Hudson River area. This was a ideal location for those people living in the New England states to start their trip West. Prior to the canals opening the main form of travel was overland following trails that were no better than wide openings in the woods. The safety and ability to move from Albany to Buffalo in days instead of weeks was a major improvement in western travel.

The close location of the beginning of the canal being in Albany allowed migrants from Vermont, Connecticut and Massachusetts to travel very easily using the canal. People in the New England states were becoming crowded and the need for farm land was important. The practice of leaving property to the first born and the creation of large families forced the people to find their fortunes in the west. New England was one of the largest groups to make their way to Michigan and settle.

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Migration Patterns 1780-1850 Southeast Michigan

The two primary areas of habitation prior to 1780 were in the areas of current day Detroit and near the straits of Mackinaw. After the Revolutionary War southeast Michigan continued to be occupied by former British and French citizens. As the war settled in the East folks along the Atlantic started looking to the west towards new land.

The population along the East coast caused the area to be very crowded with the current occupants and the many immigrants that were coming to the country. As a result people started looking to the west towards the vast lands that were unoccupied. The main area that people came from was the New England states.

The majority of people did not start coming to our area until after the War of 1812. The area of Michigan was still under British rule during this time. The people in New England would start moving towards Ohio and Michigan in the early half of the nineteenth century.

A early stopping area for people coming to Michigan was northern Ohio. The main routes for them to get there were over land and on Lake Erie. The trip would start in Albany, NY which was where the Hudson River met the newly created wonder of the world the Erie Canal. Prior to the opening of the canal there was nothing more than trails. What use to take dangerous weeks now could be traveled in a matter of days. This was a very big thing and helped tremendously in the expansion west. They would then travel down along the eastern edge of Lake Erie on the Seneca Trail to the northeastern portion of Ohio.

The second route would be traveling the same route from Albany, NY to Buffalo, NY over the province of Ontario towards Detroit. The travel from Buffalo to Detroit would again be over trails that were no wider than paths. This trip would take weeks.

As ship navigation improved on the Great Lakes another common form of travel became ship or boat. They again would start out in Buffalo and travel to points in northern Ohio and eastern Michigan. This would allow persons to get from Albany, NY to Michigan in a relatively short period of time.

I will cover more on these routes in the coming days.

Tuesday, January 1, 2008


Bio- Derek S. Davey- 6/07

Derek is a professional genealogist and sales manager for an Ohio Industrial Distributor. He has been researching his own family since 1974 when he was thirteen years old. Primary areas for professional research are Northwest Ohio and South Eastern Michigan for the past fifteen years. Lectures on a variety of topics related to genealogy in Ohio, Michigan and Indiana. Currently working on a transcription project of the 1900 US census for NEHGS. Specialty areas are computer genealogy, civil war research and New England research. Member of the National Genealogical Society, NEHGS and Association of Professional Genealogist. Graduated with a BA degree from the University of Toledo in History. Derek is married and has one son. Lives in the Toledo, OH area