Font Size

Font Size

The historic records of Births over 100 years ago, Marriages over 75 years ago and Deaths over 50 years ago of the General Register Office (GRO), are available to view on

This is a re-posting of an article written by Jim Moses, taken from the Ionia Sentinel-Standard newspaper on February 11, 2016.

"I would like to give some new information on Family Tree Maker before I continue the short series on immigration that I started last time. I'm not sure if congratulations are in order, but thousands of us gave our opinions when Ancestry decided to discontinue FTM in December.
I read several comments on the Ancestry blog and not one was positive; everyone seemed unhappy about Ancestry's decision. Apparently they listened, so FTM will be continued. Not everything is set, as far as I can tell, but from two different sources I have learned that FTM is being acquired by a company called Software MacKiev, which is the software company that has been responsible for developing FTM for the Mac users out there for at least the last six years (so they have experience with FTM).
They now will be working with the Windows version of the program. For us, that means we will have updates and, when they are ready, new versions of our FTM software. Both sources I read also say that we will have continued access to Ancestry Hints, as well as Ancestry searches. We will also be able to save our trees on Ancestry, just as we do today (the sync feature). This is good news for everyone who wondered about the future use of Ancestry in respect to their own researched family trees.
In addition to this, another program, called RootsMagic, will have the same, or similar capabilities by the end of this year. Ancestry has read our comments, and they have acted in a way that appears to be a benefit to all of us. I'm happy about it and I am eagerly awaiting the result of the conversion over to Software MacKiev's version."

Ancestry made this announcement on their blog this morning:

"Ancestry is proud to have made a significant investment this year to bring valuable new content and records to the Ancestry site. In 2015, we’ve made 220 million searchable historical records from Mexico available, more than 170 million pages from the largest collection of U.S. will and probate records, among others. We’ve also introduced new features such as Ancestry Academy and major advancements for AncestryDNA.

We remain dedicated to helping people gain new levels of understanding about their lives, and who and what led to them, harnessing the information found in family trees, historical records and genetics. As a company, we’re also continually evaluating ways to focus our efforts to provide the most impact and best product experience for our users through our core offerings.

True to this focus, we’ve taken a hard look at the declining desktop software market and the impact this has on being able to continue to provide product enhancements and support that our users need.

With that, we’ve made the decision to stop selling Family Tree Maker as of December 31, 2015. Our subscription business and website, on the other hand, continue to grow and we are doubling down our efforts to make that experience even better for our Ancestry community.

Ancestry will continue to support current owners of Family Tree Maker at least through January 1, 2017. During this time, all features of the software, including TreeSync™, will continue to work, and Member Services will be available to assist with user questions. We will also address major software bugs that may occur, as well as compatibility updates. These changes are never easy, but by focusing our efforts, we can concentrate on continuing to build great products for our loyal Ancestry community." - See more at:

Here are links to two tutorials on the recently redesigned HeritageQuest database. Remember, all Michigan residents have access to this genealogy resource remotely when they use their library cards, driver's licenses or state issued I.D. cards.

HeritageQuest LibGuidesageQuest LibGuides

HeritageQuest; Beyond the Basics

I've been asked by several people to make our handouts available to those who were not able to come to the recent genealogy classes.  Here they are:

Introducing the Genealogy Databases

Basic Genealogy Research Using the Library Databases

I hope these will be of help!

The following is taken directly from the Library's Website:

Catholic Parish Registers


For most family history researchers, parish registers provide the earliest direct source of family information. Unlike many other records, parish registers provide evidence of direct links between one generation and the next (via baptismal registers) and one family and another (via marriage registers). They are also, for the majority of Irish people who lived during the 18th and 19th centuries, the only record of their existence.

The NLI microfilmed registers from the majority of Catholic parishes in Ireland and Northern Ireland during the 1950s and 1960s. Digital images from these microfilms are now freely available on the website: Catholic Parish Registers at the NLI. (

Take a look at this page from the U.S. Census Bureau -

The full images of the printed instructions for Census Takers are linked to this page and are packed with tidbits of information regarding just how those collecting information from our ancestors were to go about their job.  

For example, did you know that prior to the 1880 Census, U.S. Marshalls were the ones who collected the data?  In the 1870 Census, if a deaf person was able to speak, then he or she was not to be listed as deaf. A person was considered deaf for Census purposes only if unable to speak as well as hear. 

These and many other interesting facts may be found by reading these historic online booklets!

The Library currently owns five Plymouth City Directories in print format -1933, 1946, 1953, 1968 and 1979. These are kept in the Reference Michigan Collection.

In addition to these, patrons may also find Plymouth City Directories ONLINE through both (in the Library) or the NEW HeritageQuest database which may be accessed either in library or from home. If you look under "City Directories", you will find Plymouth Directories available in full image for these years: 1938, 1941, 1943, 1946, 1948, 1951, 1953, 1956, 1957, 1958 and 1960.

For those tracking local businesses, people or general information regarding the city government, population, number of parks, schools etc, these directories are a gold mine of information. Also keep in mind, the Northville is also included in the vast majority of these directories as well as Plymouth.

News posted on website:

"Today is Seeking Michigan’s sixth birthday, and the Archives of Michigan is thrilled to announce that images of Michigan death certificates from 1921-1939 are now available for free here at Seeking Michigan. The index for records from 1940-1952 will be made available in the next few weeks, with additional certificate images to be released each year as privacy restrictions are lifted; for example, 1940 images will be released in January 2016. Together with the records from 1897-1920 that have been available here for years, this collection makes Seeking Michigan the one-stop destination for more than 2.6 million free, publicly-available 20th century death records for your Michigan ancestors."

ProQuest made this announcement today, March 4, 2015:



HeritageQuest Online is now powered by, providing exciting new content, new search pages, and new tools previously unavailable in HeritageQuest Online. 

  • New Content:
    • Now available for searching is the entire U.S. Federal Census collection from including supplements (e.g., 1940 Enumeration District Maps) and several schedules (e.g., non-population schedules) previously not included for searching.
    • 20,000 city directories have been added to the existing city directories in the Book collection, increasing the size of the Books collection to more than 45,000 titles!
    • Expanded content in our Revolutionary War Collection! The entirety of the NARA Series M804 is now included here, providing access not only to the previously available "Selected Records" (Series M805) but now also to the "Non-Selected" records of each file. Learn more in the Content > Revolutionary War section of this guide!
  • New Search & Results Pages: Four of the six collections (Census, Books, Revolutionary War records, and Freedman's Bank records) have brand new search pages with limits, exact matching options, and additional fields for searching.
  • New Tools: We have partnered with not only to upgrade the search interface and add new content, but to bring you additional tools for making the search experience easier. You will now have access to's:
    •'s Interactive Image Viewer when using the Census, Books, Revolutionary War, and Freedman's Bank collections
    • The Research Aids resources for learning opportunities for novice, intermediate, and advanced searchers.
    • Access to's Discoveries Page!

The information below was taken from's blog, posted by Eric Shoup on June 4, 2014 in Site:

"We’re proud of the variety of products we’ve created over the years that enable people to discover, preserve and share their family history. We recognize that there are a lot of ways that we, as a company, can make family history easier, more accessible and more fun for people all over the world. And we’re continually innovating to make it a reality. We’re always looking to focus our efforts in a way that provide the most impact, while also delivering the best service and best product experience to users. To that end, we’ve decided to retire some of our services: MyFamily, MyCanvas,, Mundia and the Y-DNA and mtDNA tests. We will note that the AncestryDNA (autosomal) test will continue to be available for purchase. Only the y-DNA and mtDNA tests will be retired. Starting September 5, 2014, these services will no longer be available to access. is the exception to the rule, and will continue in a slightly different form. If you are an active member or subscriber to one of these services, you will be contacted directly with details of how to transition the information you’ve created using these services. We know these services have provided value to you. We think they’re pretty cool too, which is why this wasn’t an easy decision for us to make. In the end, it came down to priorities and we think our core offerings are a great place to spend our time and resources. So here’s to revolutionizing family history, focusing on providing the best product experience we can offer and to the limitless possibilities that lie before us." -

See more at:

Here is information recently posted on the Legal Genealogist's Blog regarding the SSDI.  For the entire article, please go to:   

"Here’s the big immediate impact, and it’s from the fact that the FOIA exemption took effect the minute the budget bill was signed: genealogists should not — I repeat, we should not — order SS-5 forms (requests for issuance of a Social Security number) for anyone who has died in the last three years.

The FOIA exemption means that all requests for “information on the name, social security account number, date of birth, and date of death of deceased individuals maintained by the Commissioner of Social Security” of people who’ve died in the three calendar years before the request will be denied. So there’s no sense in wasting our time or money sending in tons of requests for SS-5s on recently-deceased relatives.

The second big effect will be to stop reporting new deaths on the SSDI, and while the law says it won’t take effect for 90 days from the signing of the law — or 26 March 2014 — it’s unlikely that any updated version of the SSDI will be available from now on until three calendar years have passed from the date of any individual’s death.

As of today, existing SSDI data that’s online is remaining online. No online service provider has indicated any intention of pulling any information that’s already available. But new information won’t be available for some time."

Ancestry Library Edition has just posted Michigan Death Indexes covering the years 1971-1996 on their database.  According to their description on the web site, "With over 2 million records, the Michigan Death Index covers the years from 1971 to 1996, making this database of particular interest to those with relatives from Michigan. Each entry includes the following information: the full name of the decedent, gender, birth and death dates, the state, county and town of residence at time of death."  Also given is a link to fill out to order the actual death certificate from the Michigan Department of Health.

Ancestry Library Edition may be accessed from computers within the Plymouth District Library.  Unfortunately, due to licensing restrictions, no remote access is available for our patrons. adds online collection of Michigan Death Certificates, 1921-1952.  According to their website, this new addition is a name index and images of death records from the Michigan Department of Community Health, Division for Vital Records and Health Statistics in Lansing.  

This valuable addition to Michigan research came online in late April, but for the present, no images are available - only the name index with basic information regarding parents, age and date of death, and location.  Eventually, the death certificate images are due to be added to the site.  Search this collection at :

Roman Catholic Church Records in the Archdiocese of Detroit

Including the Counties of Wayne, Macomb, Monroe, Lapeer, Oakland and St. Clair as well as the Counties of Lenawee & Washtenaw, which were part of this diocese at the time of publication. This work was done as part of the W.P.A. in 1941.

Find the link here for a historical look at the beginnings of the Catholic Church in Detroit as well as a listing of where to find records for many of the parishes and institutions that were closed prior to 1941.

I read this announcement on Dick Eastman's Genealogy Blog this morning -

"The Archives of Michigan today announced that more than 62,000 Michigan state census records from 1884 and 1894 are now available to search and print for free at"

While not all counties are included in this collection, parts of Wayne (excluding Detroit) and Washtenaw are now online.  These state census records can help fill in the gaps left by the destruction of the 1890 Federal Census.  Check out this free resource today!

Mastering Family, Library & Church Records is another title in the series of Quillen's Essentials of Genealogy by W. Daniel Quillen.  This particular book is volume 7, I think it should be one of the first ones read in the series.  It covers the basics of finding family records and whatmastering_family each document can reveal about an ancestor and then introduces the reader to a variety of libraries and their holdings.  A listing of state libraries and archives as well as national ones is included in an appendix.  A large segment of this book is given to a discussion of the various church records including Jewish, Catholic, Baptist, Quaker, Lutheran and Presbyterian.  Quillen takes a few pages to list what he considers to be the best genealogy web sites as well as a bibliography of books suggested for a genealogist's library.  This thin volume may be found on the Upper Level of the Library in the Genealogy section under 929.1 Q.

archivefamilykeepsakesHow to Archive Family Keepsakes; Learn how to preserve family photos, memorabilia, & genealogy records by Denise May Levenick.

In this book, the author tells how to best organize, preserve and store all types of family archives.  While the emphasis is on paper items such as documents, papers and photographs, other types of memorabilia are also briefly explained.  These range from furniture to china, clothing to military flags and jewelry. 

I especially enjoyed the sections where she lists resources for obtaining the archival supplies as well as her pros and cons for the various archiving methods.  You will also find entire chapters devoted to organizing - files, computers, binders... you name it!

Find this book and other on the Upper Level of the Library in the Genealogy Collection with the call number Genealogy 929.1 L.

I am reposting this article from the Site.  It was created by Paul Rawlins on August 3, 2012.

1940 U.S. Census: 50 States, 134 Million Names, 1 Index

"Today is all about numbers.

The first is 100, as in 100 percent of the 1940 U.S. Federal Census is now indexed. That means all 50 states are available to search to your heart’s content.

Our indexing came up with 134,395,545 people counted. Most reports on the 1940 census give the U.S. population as 132 million and change, so you may be wondering where the extra 2 million people came from. Two words: Puerto Rico. OK, and Guam, the U.S. Virgin Islands, American Samoa, and Panama Canal Zone. They were all included in the 1940 U.S. census and add another 2.1 million or so records to the final count."

When the 1940 Census of the United States was released this past April, researchers had to browse the various locations to find their relatives' names.  However, indexers were already at work to make searchable indexes for all states.  Right now, there are two distinct searchable indexes for genealogists to use.  The first one is a joint effort by The National Archives, Proquest, FamilySearch,, and  Volunteers are used for this project and have already completed 96% of the country.  You may see the progress and search the census on their web pages - or

The second index is being done by  So far, approximately 50% of the states have been indexed and are searchable through their site -

What is interesting for researchers is that different states have been completed for each index.  For example, Michigan may be searched online at Ancestry, but is only 69% done on the National Archives Joint Project.  Thus, if you can't find the state you need on one product, please try the other index.  Also, if both indexes have completed the state you need, be sure to check both of them for your ancestor.  I already found several mistakes in name transcription on one index that were not present on the other one.


This past Friday, July 13th, Ancestry added an additional fifteen states to their database of 1940 U.S. Census indexed states.  Happily, Michigan is included in this latest group!  Other states recently  indexed for 1940 include: 

  • California
  • Washington
  • Kansas
  • Nebraska
  • Oregon
  • Alabama
  • Indiana
  • Georgia
  • Kentucky
  • Arizona
  • New Hampshire
  • Wisconsin
  • Montana
  • Hawaii

This now brings the total of states indexed to 25.  View Ancestry's site for the 1940 Federal Census at free of charge.

Dick Eastman announced in his blog posting today (May 12, 2012) that the Genealogical Collection at the Library of Michigan will be moving to the Archives of Michigan.  This move will take place in mid-July, according to his sources.  To read his complete article, please see this posting.  State Librarian, Nancy Robinson is quoted as saying "The library’s Michigan materials will remain available to all interested in using them. Both library and archives materials will continue to be available to researchers through a common catalogue."


Volunteers as well as paid employees are making great progress in indexing the 1940 Census on a state-by-state basis. Here is the progress as of May 31st:

 Ancestry Library Edition: (In-Library use only!) You can search name indexes for Delaware, Maine, Nevada and Washington, DC.  You can search 14 states/territories by your ancestor's name: Alaska, Arizona, Colorado, Delaware, Florida, Idaho, Nevada, New Hampshire, Oregon, Vermont, Virginia, Kansas, Utah and Wyoming.

To help index the census at Family Search, visit their special website - and sign up today!



1940_census_map_usaThis article was posted on Dick Eastman's Online Genealogy Blog this morning.  He was re-posting it from -

"Today and the National Archives are revealing the website that will host the 1940 Census beginning April 2, 2012: We encourage you to bookmark the website, and watch the informational video providing behind-the-scenes look at the preparations made to publish the 1940 Census."

View the questions asked of individuals by census takers in 1940 as well as the 1940 Enumeration District Maps.

For those of you who order film from the Family History Library in Westland, this notice on the FamilySearch site applies to you.

Due to the increase in the price of raw microfilm stock and the decreasing availability of this product on the market, it has become necessary for FamilySearch to increase the price of film loans in family history centers. As of 15 February 2012 the following prices will be in effect for film loans in the United States and Canada:            

Short-term Film Loan   $7.50
Short-term Film Loan Extension $7.50
Extended Film Loan   $18.75
Microfiche Loan   $4.75

 FamilySearch’s Microfilm Ordering service is your gateway to a vast collection of genealogical and historical records. The service allows you to reserve and loan films to family history centers and affiliate libraries. The loan is free, but there is a small shipping and handling charge for each film.

1940_censusIn less than six months (April 2, 2012 to be exact) the National Archives will release the U.S. Census for 1940.  Those of us who are avid genealogists have been waiting for this event for the past ten years - the day after the 1930 Census was released.  The good news is that researchers will be able to view the entire census online for free.  The bad news is that there is no index and we'll have to wade through screen after screen of names, just like we did before the computerized indexes were produced. is gathering a team of volunteers to create an online index for this new census.  The work can be done from the comfort of your home computer.  All that is needed is time and patience!!  Visit their special site - to read more about this important project.  The more indexers who volunteer, the faster the work will get done.  You even get to specify your favorite state to index.  (I selected Georgia since my grandmother was a census taker in 1940 and I'm hoping to read her handwriting as she listed the people in her hometown.)

When I was a small child, my grandmother used to recite the Longfellow poem, Evangeline: A Tale of Acadie. This epic poem told the tale of the French settlers of the region now known as Nova Scotia.  TheyStatue of Evangeline standing in Nova Scotia today. arrived in the far eastern part of Canada somewhere around 1604 and settled in as farmers until 1755 when the British wanted them to take up arms against the French during the French and Indian War.  When they refused, they were exiled from their homes and sent to a number of other areas, including Louisiana.  This is the start of the Cajun culture in that state.

Last week, Ancestry Library Edition released ten new databases relating to this sad tale in the history of North America.  Some of these entries are in French and some in English.  If you have Acadian ancestors, or are just curious about the tragic story of the Acadians, please be sure to take a look at some of the great information contained online at Ancestry.  

According to an article posted recently in Dick Eastman's wonderful genealogy blog, the Social Security Administration has changed its policies about which records they will use in their Death Index.  They will no longer allow state death records to be used in compiling their Index.  In fact, they have removed 4.2 million records already in the index because the information had been obtained using state records.  These changes took effect on November 1, so you might want to check and see if a loved one has disappeared from this valuable resource.

The popular history and genealogy database, Footnote, has not only changed its name but also fold3 its focus.  Always a leader in making military resources available online, Fold3 will now focus on presenting US Military Records and stories.  Since Footnote is owned by, the thought seems to be to suggest users  subscribe to Ancestry for general genealogical information and then have a second subscription to Fold3 for anything to do with historic military research. 

In case you are wondering about the name Fold3, the official press release from Ancestry states: "The Fold3 name is derived from the third fold in a traditional military flag folding ceremony which "is made in honor and remembrance of the veteran departing our ranks who gave a portion of his or her life for the defense of our country to attain peace throughout the world."

Both Ancestry Library Edition and Fold3 are available here at the Plymouth District Library!

mocavoI'd be willing to bet that not many of you use a search engine with the strange name of Mocavo.  Yet, for genealogists, it's a wonderful tool and one highly praised by those in the profession.  Mocavo is strictly a genealogy search engine.  Unlike Google, which brings results from everywhere, Mocavo hones in on sites such as Find-a-Grave, the free pages from RootsWeb at, war records that have been posted online, state genealogy sites, and even the Ellis Island Search site.  You end up with fewer results than you'd get with Googling your name, but they tend to be quality results relating to family research.  Give this research tool a try by clicking on the image in this article or by going to !

familysearchIf you have been doing genealogy for any number of years, I'm sure you are used to using the web site from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (Mormons) called Family Search.  For the past few years, there has been another version of this great product called Record Search Pilot which contained records indexed by volunteers throughout the world.  The information from this Pilot site is now part of the NEW site which boasts having over 2.1 billion records either indexed or available online.  The tradional familysearch page is still up and running at, while the new one is just slightly different - .  If you are doing a thorough search, especially for someone NOT in the United States, I suggest that you try both of this searches.