Michigan Biographical Index

Copyright © 2003-2017 James N. Jackson

Frequently Asked Questions



How should I use this site?

Anyway that works for you. If you are expecting to click on an individual's name and jump to the original source, you will be disappointed in this site. This site is not a link to the original sources (except for a few sources), but rather a cumulative every-name index that will make you aware of the many sources that should be included in your own research library. It will not allow you access to the source, but rather, point you to the source. Use these sources during your research at your local library or purchase the source directly from the Internet.

To start, click on the alphabetic character at the top of the page that represents the first name of the surname you are searching for, and select the range of names you are interested in. This will take you directly to the correct page for your individual of interest. Alternately, to browse through the entire index, select the first letter of the surname you are researching above, and scroll forward or backward through each page. Also read the example on the Home Page.


Can our library link to your site?

Of course. You will be joining many local libraries. Actually, linking from any Michigan historic website would be welcome. This website is also included in the 'favorites' bookmark on the Family History Library computers in Salt Lake City (go to Canada & USA -> USA States -> Maryland to Mississippi -> Michigan -> Biography).

It is also included in the Genealogy Web Sites recommended by the Library of Michigan in Lansing.

I would appreciate an email or notification, but the whole purpose of my work is to share this index to the widest community of researchers. Already this website is in use from researchers from many countries and I can only hope that this growth continues.


Are these merged indices just lifted from the original indices?

It's not that simple. Place names and other subject heading are omitted. This is a cumulative full-name index, so only full names are included. In some cases, the books have been re-indexed because no complete name index exists. In other cases, an existing index was revised by adding supplemental names.

To emphasize a key point mentioned above: only full names are included on this site. The original back-of-the-book index may list "Lincoln, Abraham" when the text lists "Mr. Lincoln", "Lincoln" or even "the President". All names listed in the back-of-the-book index are referenced at least once on this site, but may be listed on dozens of pages in the text as non-full names. This is usually the case for the famous, unknown individuals are usually referenced by their full names. For this reason you should consult the back-of-the-book index to complement this index.

Another modification from the original indices to this work; titles such as Dr., Honorable, Judge, Jr., Mr. and Sr. are omitted, except with the name is not complete. Because this list includes a variety of works over a span of several generations, the same person could appear with a dozen different titles. The only exception to this title rule is 'Mrs.' when this would change the identity of the listed individual by dropping it.


Where can I find these books?

Check your local library catalog for these sources. Although these books may be special-ordered at your local bookstore, follow the links on the Publications page to purchase these books directly from the internet. If your local library doesn't have the publication you are searching for, you might consider purchasing the book and donating it. This way you will always have ready access, make it available to others, and also take advantage of a tax deduction.

If you are unable to find these sources by the above means, feel free to contact me (as a last resort). I have most of these sources digitized for my own use and will help when I can.


Are these just Michigan people?

No. Although most sources deal with Michigan residents some visitors died while on route to somewhere else and are buried here. Likewise, some were born under similar circumstances while just passing through.

My goal was to include all individuals, regardless of where they were born or where they died if they are listed in Michigan publications.


Is the entire state of Michigan completed on this website?

Yes and no. There are state-wide sources that may include your county, even if that particular county hasn't been started yet. Likewise, some regional sources, or military regimental histories may include names from all parts of Michigan.

To get a better idea of where I have spent my time on county specific resources, click here for map [Dark blue counties are complete]. Keep in mind that some sources, i.e. Military histories, State-wide or regional histories span the entire state and do not show up in this map. This map only shows sources specic to within a particuler county.


How can our Society add a book to your website?

If it is indexed and a copy has been donated to the Library of Michigan, I will probably get around to including it someday. To expedite the inclusion, please send a review copy to my Post Office box. If I have it handy, I'll be more inclined to work on it sooner.

If there is no index, you may not be completely out of luck. I have indexed here for the first time many publications with no back-of-the-book index. In case there is no index, it would also help to have the book sent for evaluation. Any books sent will not be returned and not guarantee inclusion in my website. Send a few pages if you would like advanced assurances before sending any books. When I am finished indexing the publication, I'll find a good home for it.


How dare you include our book!!! How can we get it removed?

By re-indexing these works, I have circumvented any copyright issues, as the index that appears on my website is not the same as in the back-of-the-book index that appears in your publication. As an aside, there is no financial gain for me to have your publication listed on my website. Your Society, on the other hand, may increase sales by my links to your Society webpage (consult your Web Master for the number of referrals via www.michlist.com from potential buyers of your publication).

Nevertheless, if you still believe that your free inclusion in this state-wide resource is a bad thing, have the current Society President send me an email requesting removals and all references will be removed, usually within 24 hours.


I found a mistake. Can this be corrected?

Sure, although I never make misteaks. All names are indexed as they appear in the original source, e.g. Willaim. The same person may be listed as William, Wm., W., or just ---, meaning they were only known by their surname. While this may seem obvious, be aware that searching for one person may take you through several web pages for the same individual. If you are sure there is an error, please email me and I'll double check and correct as soon as possible.


What if I find a name I'm looking for. How do I know it is really the individual I'm looking for?

Well, check out the source. Obviously, there will be many references to common names.


I can't find the individual in the original source. How come?

The problem is sometimes due to repagination in different editions. Find the individual in the index at the back of the book, or if the name appears in my index but not in the original source index, check a few pages before or after the designated page number.

Another tip would be to find any name on a page nearby, find that individual in my index, then figure the difference in page numbers to determine if you need to go back or forward so many pages.


Do the source codes have any reason to their structure?

Yes. Each code contains six characters. The first two positions define the county the records are from, with the exception of:

The next two positions define the township or city the records are located in. The fifth field defines the type of record as follows:

The last position is a unique identifier usually taken from the author's name or title. In the case of a county-wide record, the first four identifiers would be "co__" to indicate more than one city within that county. In the case of an exception noted above, "a1, a2, a6 or a8" is chosen and the remaining identifers are shifted over to indicate the type of record.


How can I obtain a copy of the referenced page?

First, check if there is an 'Available OnLine' link on my Publication page. County Histories from the 19th and early 20th century have been digitized and are available for free thanks to the University of Michigan. The source is linked here with their permission. Accessing these digitized versions will allow you to print or save the page to your computer. Also look for the Purchase Info link. If the book is still in print, and published by a local individual or society, the link will take you to their site and you may deal with them directly. If not, I'll check Amazon.com and link there if the book is available in new or used condition.

Second, most sources came from the Library of Michigan, so traveling to Lansing, Michigan would be your best bet and we would love to have you visit one of the ten largest genealogical collections in the United States.

Third, many books are available on inter-library loan including to other countries. While it is true that, as a rule, the books in the Genealogy and Local History area do not circulate, if there is more than one copy (see Answer Catalog on the Library of Michigan's website) a Michigan resident may check them out once they obtain a library card, and anyone may request the book on interlibrary loan. You would request this through your local library.

The last option would be contact a Genealogical Society or hire a professional researcher to copy and mail this to you. For a list of Societies and Researchers that the Library of Michigan recommends, go to the Michigan Genealogy Research Network on the Library of Michigan website (under R in the A-Z link) or click here.


How can I contact you with suggestions or comments?

I'm always looking for new ideas to improve this web site. The best method to contact me is at my email address at jim@michlist.com



James N. Jackson