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Helpers, IGI, Biographical Sketches

HIRE A HELPER: When you have run out of leads from the items list on the other pages you will have to get into the items shown below.  This may be more that you want to do, especially if the information has to come from another state.   It can cost a lot to visit a distant state to do research using records and libraries with which you are not familiar.  Local genealogical researchers can provide an efficient alternative.  Genealogical magazines (available at local genelaogical societies) and local genealogical researchers can help you get contact information for a researcher who is familiar with the records you seek.   Email makes the contact and exchange of information fast and inexpensive.

THE LDS AND IGI: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (LDS, often callen the Mormons) has the largest collection of genealogical source material in the world.   They have microfilmed records in churches, government files, and private collections all over the world, and they have kindly made this information available to the entire community without charge.  Family relationships between tens of millions of people have been placed in the International Genealogical Index (IGI).   A CAUTION:  In the enthusiasm to find relationships between many people links were sometimes assumed that are not supported by documentation.   Since several transcriptions of data were involved in producing the IGI names, dates, and places were sometimes mispelt or swapped.  So while IGI is a valuable resource to get you started on research it has a fair number of errors and is not acceptable as documentation.

You may either search for your ancestor in IGI on the LDS Web site or visit a local LDS family history center and use their microfilm or CD-databases to see if they have information on the parents of or additional information about a known ancestor.   The microfilm that contains further information about that ancestor is noted on the index listing.  You may rent that film for use (over several weeks) at the local center for a nominal charge.  Beyond the IGI information there is microfilmed information on virtually all the types of source noted on the present page.  Even if you can't afford to visit fifteen records centers in Michigan, you can order from the LDS microfilms containing the deeds, family histories, probate records, census lists, church baptismal records, tombstome listings, etc. that you want to search.

Be sure to make the copies that you need for documenting your application.   Handwritten summaries are not acceptable documentation.

NOTE:  When you copy a record, note on the back of the copy the year, state, microfilm roll, and frame or city, ward, and page (and note that You may make a pencil mark (ON THE COPY ONLY) to help the reader find your ancestor's name.

CHECK A GENEALOGIST'S GUIDE TO RECORDS: There are several (thick) books that tell you what is available and where to find it in every county and state in the nation.  This will probably reveal sources you had not thought of and keep you from hoping to find sources that do not exist.  It tells when state censuses were taken (in-between federal censuses), when vital records began to be required in the state, whether biographical histories are available for the county, the addresses to write for information, when the county was founded and what county covered the area previously (records remain with the county which was in existence at the time the record was made), etc.

You may find these books at a local library, college library, historical society, or genealogical society.  Several popular books of this sort are:

  • "The Source"
  • "Vital Records Handbook" by Thomas Kemp
  • "The Handy Book for Genealogists" (Everton Publ. Co., Logan UT)
  • "Compendium of Historical Sources", by Ronald Bremer (Progenitor Gen. Soc., Salt Lake City UT, 1983 etc.)
  • "Ancestry's Redbook"

NOTE: We plan to get full citations here