Monday, February 28, 2011

New on the Shelf : Cass County Families

Lois Streeter Corliss (1907-1959) has been a well-recognized name in Southwest Michigan genealogy for her tireless efforts in compiling and transcribing genealogical records of all kinds, back in the days when there were no computers, only hand-notes and typewriters.  Lois, a resident of South Haven, Michigan, and whose roots were in Marcellus, was a former teacher in Covert Public Schools and an active member of the Van Buren County Historical Society & the Polly Hosmer Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution.

One of her larger works, Cass County Families, is a 50-volume compilation of family group sheets pertaining to hundreds of Cass County's pioneer families.  Because it was never officially published it is one of the area's lesser-known resources.  An original set is housed at the Library of Michigan, Lansing, and it was microfilmed by the Family History Center.  A set of these films has been added to the Van Buren District Library Local History microfilm loan collection.

The set includes forms that are hand-filled onto pre-printed family group sheets where Mrs. Corliss added information from an array of sources including obituaries, cemetery readings, census enumerations, vital and other records.  Because of it's lack of full source citations, these compilations are not considered authoritative proof of lineage, but Mrs. Corliss has done a lot of the leg work for you here, providing dates, names, places and ancestral lines for many area pioneer families.  It seems that her goal was to integrate information from a variety of records into one finished product to paint a big picture of these families.  One can only guess at the thousands of hours invested in such a project.

In the case of Samuel Kedney featured here, his sheet is complete with birth, death, spouse & children information, including those treasured parents' names that we all seek.

On the back of some of the pages are full records transcriptions, newspaper citations and census enumerations.

These and any of the over 1,200 microfilm available at the Van Buren District Library may be viewed anytime during the library's regular business hours.  For more information about the collection, hours of operation or about how to become a volunteer indexer, please contact us.