Genealogical Resources at the Archives
Below is a list of collections which are commonly utilized for genealogical research. It should be noted that ANY collection can contain information of use to genealogists. Researching the place and time in which your ancestor lived is crucial to genealogical research. Not only does it give you clues as to what records your ancestor may have generated, but it also gives you invaluable background information about what your ancestor’s life may have been like, which can’t be found in many standard genealogical sources. In addition, unexpected collections may mention your relatives! Try searching our collections here for your ancestors’ names, or browse for topics that might be relevant to your research.
Central Upper Peninsula/Marquette County Records
- Naturalization Records (Marquette County only)
- Declarations of Intention, Petitions for Naturalization, Citizenship Certificates
See our Naturalization Records page for more details!
- Church Records
- Baptism, Marriage, Funeral, Membership Records, Financial Records, etc.
- Saint Paul’s Episcopal Church/Northern Michigan Missionary Diocese 1867-1925
- Bethany Lutheran Church 1872-1927
- Polk’s City Directories 1912-2008
City directories can tell you where your ancestors lived and what occupations they had.
- Plat Maps and UP/Regional Maps 1970-2004
Plat maps can also be used to discover where your ancestors lived.
- County Court Case Records 1852-1981
If you suspect that your ancestors were involved in court cases of any kind, or if you’re interested in finding out, we have indexes of court cases in Marquette County from 1852-1981. Court cases which occurred after 1981 can be located at the Marquette County Clerk’s Office.
- Civil Marriage Records April 1893-2004
Marriage records are organized chronologically, so in order to find the record we will need an approximate date in addition to the names of the people getting married.
- Coroner’s Inquests 1879-1986
A coroner’s report was filed for any person who was murdered or died in a suspicious way. The index to this collection is by name.
- Marquette County Tax Records 1868-1979
These records can provide you with a legal description of your ancestor’s property and what kinds of taxes they paid. They are arranged alphabetically by township and then chronologically.
- Oral History Collections
The NMU Archives has conducted and houses many collections of oral history interviews. Notable collections include the Italian American oral history collection, the Women’s Center oral history collection, the Red Dust oral history project, and many more. Even if your ancestor was not one of the people interviewed for these projects, they are a great source of background information! Collections which have already been digitized can be found here.
- CCI Records
We often receive inquiries about our Cleveland Cliffs Iron Mining Company records. They do contain some information of genealogical interest. However, it is not indexed. We do have payroll records from many of the mines, but they are simply organized by mine and year. If you are hoping to find a payroll record, plan to spend many hours searching through the books. We can search through the books for you, but you will be charged a research fee of $30 per hour, so it is best to come in and look for yourself if possible. You are also welcome to find your own independent researcher at a lower cost. We can provide contact information for local researchers.
- Yearbooks 1910-1980
Yearbooks can contain photos, information, and even the writing of your ancestor! Please note that some years between 1910 and 1920 are missing.
- Alumni File 1899-1960
This index card file does not contain every alumnus from 1899 to 1960. However, it is quite extensive. Information on each card varies, but photos and brief newspaper articles are common.
- Commencement Records
These records verify when your ancestor graduated from Northern. They also indicate whether they graduated with honors and sometimes what organizations they were involved in.
- Academic Transcripts
Academic transcripts are a great sources of information about your ancestor. Information on the transcripts includes their hometown, the name of their father, what classes they took, what grades they received, what their degree was, and when they attended Northern.
The NMU Archives does not house the transcripts. To find NMU transcripts, please e-mail the Registrar’s Office at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- The Quill 1913-1918
The Quill was a magazine written by Northern students between 1913 and 1918. It also functioned as an annual, or yearbook. It contains humorous anecdotes about students and faculty, information about what life at Northern was like during that time period, and photos of sports teams and individuals. It also contained alumni news.
- Northern News/North Wind/“underground” newspapers 1919-present
Northern’s student newspaper began in 1919. We do have an index by broad themes, but it stops in the early 1970s and is not geared towards genealogical research. Unless you have an event with a specific date or are willing to search through years of microfilm, it is difficult to locate information specifically about your ancestor. However, this is a great way to learn about the general environment of Northern during the years that your ancestor attended the school.
NMU Library Resources
- Heritage Quest
If you are a Northern student, faculty member, or staff member, you have access to Heritage Quest through the Olson Library website. This site gives you access to census records (which are searchable and browse-able by location and last name), PERSI (a collection of periodicals and newspaper articles), Revolutionary War Pension Records (which often contain lengthy narratives about the person’s life and military service), and Freedman’s Bank Records.
To access these records, go to the Olson Library website and click on “E-Reference Shelf” under the “Find Other” section on the front page. Then, click on “H” and scroll down to Heritage Quest. To log-in, simply use your NMU username and password.
- Oral History Online
This site is one of the largest online history collections in the world. Even if none of your ancestors ever gave an oral history interview, this site is still an amazing source for background information about different locations and time periods.
To access these records, go to the Olson Library website and click on “E-Reference Shelf” under the “Find Other” section on the front page. Then, click on “O” and scroll down to Oral History Online. To log-in, simply use your NMU username and password.
If you do not have access to the NMU library, check at your local public library! They often have access to these and other databases, including Ancestry.com.