Thursday, March 10, 2011

Online Hint : Inventory to 1,250 Reel Microfilm Collection

Exciting for researchers is the large microfilm collection of Southwest Michigan materials at the Van Buren District Library, Decatur.  With over 1,250 reels and more being added regularly, resources for the Michigan counties of Allegan, Berrien, Cass, Kalamazoo, St. Joseph & Van Buren can be easily viewed at one location.

Now, researchers can more easily plan a research trip to the library using the published itemized inventory with table of contents.  The 45-page inventory gives a reel-by-reel accounting noting record types, dates of coverage, and special notes including gaps in records, cross-references to other reels, and background on the more unusual items.  The table of contents is a quick location guide to the inventory which is arranged in drawer order.

What types of records are included in the microfilm collection?  Just to name a few:

Vital Records (County & Local)
Deeds & Tax Assessments
Cemetery Readings & Burial Records
Court, Divorce & Chancery Records
Veterans Discharges, Graves Registration & Indigent Burials
Federal & State Population & Mortality Schedules
Compiled Genealogies
Probate & Wills
Church Records
City Directories
WWI Draft Registration Cards
WWI Census of Servicemen

Patrons have access to three microfilm readers.   One is a reader only, and there are two that print including a digital scanner which allows images to be saved to a flash drive.

The vast majority of these materials are not available on the internet.  In addition, the library is working at creating indexes to some of the records to be included in it's Local History Master Index (LHMI).

For more information about the microfilm collection or the LHMI indexing project, contact the library.