Several years ago, the Van Buren District Library launched it's online version of the Southwest Michigan Obituary Index (SWMOI), with entries from the Michigan counties of Allegan, Berrien, Cass, Kalamazoo & Van Buren. The online home for those years has been the Van Buren County GenWeb site, sponsored by the Van Buren Regional Genealogical Society (VBRGS). The site's webmaster, Joan Jaco, has done a marvelous job maintaining the index and its updates during that time. It's drawback, however, is that searchers didn't have the opportunity to do a fill-in-the-blank search for an entry by key terms such as last name, first name, date, etc.
The Member and Institutional Collections site is not yet accessible through the main Ancestry.com pages. Anyone, with or without a membership, can access the beta site for free. To access the SWMOI database click here, or access it through the VBRGS or Van Buren County GenWeb sites. Also, the Southwest Michigan Marriage, Engagement, Anniversary & Divorce Announcements Index was added today, just short of 4,000 entries, and is fully searchable.
Keep in mind that these are only indexes and don't include images themselves at this time. Ordering information is included with the databases. And, since this is a beta site, expect things to change often as all of the bugs are worked out and improvements are made.
Eventually, when the beta testing is finished, the Member and Institutional Collections will become part of the main collection of Ancestry community of databases. This also means that it will make its way to becoming Google searchable.
For the Local History Collection, if all goes well it will mean online access to others of its large indexes including the Michigan Schools Every-Name Index, the Southwest Michigan Military Registry, and perhaps the Local History Master Index which will soon be going over the 2 million record mark.
For more information about the SWMOI and Ancestry partnership, please contact us.
Nameless Picture of the Day
photographer - W. H. Blair, Martin
Can you identify the young woman in this photo? Please contact us if you any information and we will publish it in a future blog. Please include the five character catalog number with your e-mail.