Monday, November 14, 2011

Collection Highlight : Discovering the Peoples of Michigan series

In one lecture that I've given several times, "Looking Under Every Rock : lesser-known sources that can yield results", I feature a contemporary set of books entitled Discovering the Peoples of Michigan, published by Michigan State University Press.

Since 1991 with the release of the first title, Ethnicity in Michigan, some 30 titles have been released focusing on various ethnic groups, their migration, and their contribution to the history of the State of Michigan.  Although primarily social history, this series offers some great gems of family history possibilities. 

In any given volume, expect to find a map of the state showing either ethnic concentrations or settlements, chronologies, detailed bibliographies, and yes, family history & photographs.  Each volume is penned by a different author, and each comes with an index.

For example, in the Germans in Michigan volume, opposite of page 1 is a delightful photograph with the following caption:  "William and Alvinia Schnettler's wedding, 1910.  Left to right:  Fred Peters and Emma Zube, Charles Zube and Lena DuRussell, William Zube and Helda Pett, and the bride and groom.  The farmhouse remains standing at the corner of Finn and German Roads near Munger [Michigan]."

Why should you add this series to your Michigan family history checklist?  The obvious reason is to check the index for family names, but there's more meat to these than that.  All of the volumes are less than 100 pages and would be a quick evening read, providing you with useful information that may lead you to more family history discoveries, not least of which is a better understanding of your family's social history...helping to insure that you have "looked under every rock".

Titles have been published to date for the following Michigan ethnic & religious groups, with more to come:
  • African Americans
  • Albanians
  • Amish
  • Arab Americans 
  • Asian Indians
  • Belgians
  • Chaldeans
  • Copts
  • Cornish
  • Dutch 
  • Finns
  • French Canadians
  • Germans
  • Greeks
  • Haitians
  • Hungarians
  • Irish 
  • Italians
  • Jews 
  • Latinos
  • Latvians
  • Lithuanians
  • Maltese
  • Mexicans and Mexican Americans 
  • Norwegians
  • Poles
  • Scandinavians
  • Scots
  • South Slavs
  • Yankees
All of these volumes as well as the Discovering the Peoples of Michigan Reader are part of the Local History Collection of the Van Buren District Library, and may be checked out with a valid library card.  For more information contact the library, or inquire at your local library.

Nameless Picture of the Day
 unknown man - carte-de-visite
Photographer - Garrison, Udell Gallery, Three Rivers
Can you identify the man in this photo?  Are you familiar with the photographer's name?  Please contact us if you any information and we will publish it in a future blog.  Please include the photo's catalog number with your e-mail.