Genealogical Resources

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), 1852-1971

See our Naturalization Records page for more details about what naturalization records are and how to use them!

 

  • Church Records
    • Bethany Lutheran Church (Ishpeming, MI), 1872-1927
      • This collection includes financial records, church council and committee meeting minutes, annual reports, newsletters and bulletins, records about the building and maintenance of the church, Board of Luther Social Services records, records of various church groups, weekly offering records, and photographs.
      • Most significantly for genealogical purposes, there are membership lists, church directories, genealogical information letters, marriage licenses, and sacramental records
    • Saint Louis the King Catholic Church (Harvey, MI)
      • This collection consists of records from a single presentation given in 2005 about the history of the parish.
    • Saint Paul’s Episcopal Church (Marquette, MI), 1856-1998
      • This collection includes records about the building and maintenance of the church, records of clubs and organizations associated with the church, papers from early bishops, records of donations, annual financial reports and other financial documents, bulletins, newsletters, programs from church events and conventions, parochial reports, vestry reports and meeting minutes, photographs, and maps.
      • Of particular interest to genealogists are histories of the church, including the history of its school and cemetery, obituaries, a parish directory, parish mailing lists, and histories of various members of the parish
    • Saint Stephen’s Episcopal Church (DeTour Village, MI), 1901-1995
      • This collection consists of a register of sacraments.
    • Episcopal Church of the Good Shepherd (Saint Ignace, MI), 1905-2011
      • This collection contains financial records, guest books, memorial ledgers, property surveys, agreements between the vicar and the parish, annual reports, correspondence, newsletters, news clippings, programs, event posters, financial documents, and photographs.
      • Of particular interest to genealogists are parish registers, registers of services and sacraments, and a history of the parish.
    • Northern Michigan Episcopal Diocese, 1867-1925
      • This collection contains diocesan convention records, records of organizations and groups associated with the diocese, property records, financial records, committee meeting minutes, correspondence of the bishops, newsletters, photographs, slides, and audio cassettes of conventions and speeches.
      • Of particular interest to genealogists are histories of the diocese and church registers from the Marquette cathedral and a parish in Nahma, MI.
    • Thomas K. Ray papers, 1957-2010
      • This collection does not contain much of interest to genealogists since they are primarily the personal papers of Thomas Ray, a bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Northern Michigan. However, they do provide much information about the history of the Episcopal diocese from the 1970s through the 1990s.
  • Polk’s City Directories, 1912-2008

City directories can tell you where your ancestors lived and what occupations they had. Our directories do not include every year, but Peter White Public Library does have a full set.

  • Plat Maps and UP/Regional Maps, 1970-2004

Plat maps can also be used to discover where your ancestors lived. While we do not have very many plat maps, the Peter White Public Library in Marquette does have a wide range of dates and places.

  • 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. Because the court cases are stored off-site, we do need 24 hours’ notice to pull the records before your visit.

  • 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.

If you do not know when the people that you are searching for were married, Family Search does have Michigan marriage records that you can search to get a date.

  • Coroner’s Inquests, 1879-1986

A coroner’s report was filed for any person who was murdered or died in a suspicious way (suicide, mining accident, etc.). The index to this collection is by name.

Index to the Coroner's Reports

The Archives is a local government records depository for the State of Michigan Archives. We have a large variety of records from cities and counties all over the Upper Peninsula. Please see the Local Government Records page linked above for more details.

  • Marquette County and Upper Peninsula Tax Records, 1868-1985

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. See the Local Government Records page for more details.

These records are available seventy-five years after the patient’s death. You will need to provide proof that the person has been deceased for seventy-five years.

We have a wide array of microfilmed and physical newspapers from the Upper Peninsula as well as a few scattered issues of Lower Peninsula newspapers. Please see the Newspapers page linked above for more information.

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! These collections, some of which have been digitized, can be found at the following places:

Cleveland Cliffs Iron Mining Company (CCI) Records

The annual Reports do not contain much direct genealogical information except for reports of mining accidents.

Our collection of pension records is limited. However, the finding aid linked above does contain an index to the pension records.

    • Payroll Records

Payroll records 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.

The cemetery indexes were painstakingly created by Duane and Jacquelyn Hargis who were kind enough to donate them to the NMU Archives. They include the names organized alphabetically and by location, inscriptions on tombstone, dates, and locations. They also created general maps for some cemeteries. The records contain complete indexes for Schoolcraft, Alger, and Luce Counties and incomplete indexes for Mackinaw and Marquette counties. See the link above for more information about the records and to access the records online.

 

NMU Records

  • 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 records@nmu.edu. You will need to provide proof that the person is deceased and that you are a close relative of the person in order to obtain their transcripts.

  • 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

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.

If you are asked to log-in, use your NMU username and password.

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.

If you are asked to log-in, use your NMU username and password.

 

Online Michigan Genealogy Resources

  • State of Michigan Death Records, 1897-1952

Death records are a great source of information about your relatives. They often contain dates of birth and death, birthplace and place of death, names and birthplaces of parents, occupations, and place of burial.

The State Archives website Seeking Michigan has digitized all of the Michigan death records from 1897-1952. You can search them on the Seeking Michigan website linked above. Put your mouse on the “Discover” tab and then click on Death Records from 1897-1920, 1921-1947, or 1948-1952 to reach the search engine.

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