2013-01-10 / Community

Archives of Michigan boasts sources for family histories

More online resources benefit researchers

LANSING – Genealogy – tracing the roots of a family tree – is personal, creative and rewarding detective work.

“Popular television shows like ‘Who Do You Think You Are’ a program that captured the experience of celebrities exploring their family histories, tells me that this kind of research and the stories it unearths have a real hook in popular culture,” said Kris Rzepczynski, senior archivist at the Archives of Michigan.

It’s an experience that Rzepczynski sees play out time and again through his work at the Archives, and one he hopes to help encourage even more curious-minded folks to pursue.

“As more content becomes available online and is easily navigated, we see more people having those ‘Ah-ha!’ moments,” he said. “Once they find a birth record, census data or other evidence from people living real lives, most folks are hooked.”

Sometimes, knowing where and how to get started can be among the biggest obstacles for beginners. For those searchers seeking Michigan content, however, the knowledgeable staff and rich resources of the Archives of Michigan provide an excellent jumping-off point.

In July 2012, the Archives of Michigan welcomed the transfer of the Abrams Foundation Historical Collection. The collection is a treasure-trove of resources sure to inspire family history researchers of all experience levels. Now, the Archives, in downtown Lansing, has become an even more attractive place to start the journey.

Now that these resources are all together at the Archives of Michigan, whether your research takes you to Michigan, Canada or anywhere in the U.S., people have access to things in the stacks and online.

Rzepczynski cited the Archives’ digital platform, Seeking Michigan – www.seekingmichigan.org – as a perfect place to start.

Information in Seeking Michigan is available and free to anyone. Key resources include death records, Civil War records and all of the known surviving records from state censuses, all a big draw for genealogists.

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