Thursday, October 17, 2013

What's Coming To Seeking Michigan?

Drum roll, please . . . more death certificates as well as naturalization records. As everyone reading this likely knows, Seeking Michigan currently hosts Michigan death certificates from 1897 (when they were first required) through 1920. You may also be aware that in the spring of 2013 Family Search posted an index to Michigan death certificates for 1921-1952. Rumors circulated that Family Search or Seeking Michigan would eventually post the images for these records. Kris Rzepczynski, writing in the Michigan Genealogical Council Newsletter, has settled the debate by announcing that Seeking Michigan will add death certificate images, but with a catch. [1] Because Michigan imposes a 75-year restriction on access to death records only images up through 1937 will become available initially. [1] Then as we celebrate each New Year, images will be uploaded for the next allowable year. [1]

The other big news item is that Michigan naturalization records will eventually be available through a partnership between the Archives of Michigan and Family Search. [1] However, don't expect to jump into these records anytime soon. First, many of these records have yet to be scanned and indexed. [1] Second, this is a large collection. Archives staff “estimates that this database will dwarf any existing collection” now online at Seeking Michigan. [1] Some indexes are already available, including Kalamazoo county, but for the rest we'll have to wait. A list of the county naturalization records held by the Archives of Michigan can be found here (click on the County Circuit Courts box). To search the available indexes click here.  For more information on these records you can read the Archives of Michigan circular.  It's important to note that if your ancestor petitioned a federal court to become naturalized you won't find their records in this collection.

The naturalization record index will be available at Family Search while the actual images will be on the Seeking Michigan website. If you are a Family Search indexer keep an eye out for this project. If you have never done any indexing, it's not difficult to do. Indexing is done by the batch with each batch requiring on average 30-60 minutes to complete, depending on the number of fields to complete and the ease of reading the handwriting. If everyone does even a few batches it will speed the process along. To learn more about becoming an indexer click here

Kris Rzepczynski. Archives of Michigan & Abrams Foundation Historical Collection. Michigan Genealogical Council Newsletter. Fall 2013. Vol 37 (issue 4). p. 13.

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