Searching for Important Dates: Birth, Baptism, Marriage, Death
- Ann Arbor Township Records
- Cemetery Records
- Census Materials
- City Directories
- Church Records
- Funeral Records
- Published City or Town Histories
- Published County Histories
Ann Arbor Township birth register
Information in the Registers of Births includes place and date of birth, infant's name, and sex. Also included are the father and mother's names, residences, ages, birthplaces and occupations.
Registers of Deaths include place of death, date and cause. Other information that might be included are: sex, date of birth, age, occupation, marital status, age at marriage, number of children, birthplace, father's name and birthplace, and mother's maiden name and birthplace. We also have the Registers of Births and Deaths for Lima Township.
Burial Book, Forest Hill Cemetery Records
The library holds cemetery records, compilations of cemetery inscriptions, and cemetery maps. These materials can be found in the online catalog, MIRLYN, through keyword searchs using "cemetery" and "cemeteries."
One helpful tool is the Bentley Historical Library's list of Cemeteries and Funeral Homes in Washtenaw County. These establishments retain their own records but are willing to help genealogists find information about family members.
The census provides a good way of finding out household information about families including names, ages, land ownership, occupations, and length of residence of the family. The extent of the information varies by year and location. You will need to know the name of the county, city, or township of residence. Censuses were conducted by federal and state governments. Click to find out what information is found in the Federal census and the State Census of Michigan.
It is helpful to consult census indexes before searching through lengthy census records, especially if you are unsure of the family's exact geographical location. Not all censuses have indexes. Please look through the library's census index holdings to see if your census of interest is listed.
1894 Washtenaw County Census
The Bentley Historical Library's state census records focus on
Washtenaw County although additional Michigan counties are also
represented. Please see the library's census
holdings for a complete list of records. If you are interested
in cities or townships withinWashtenaw County, the 1884 and
1894 State Census Returns are particularly descriptive.
1911 Ann Arbor City Directory
As a precursor to today's phone books, city and county directories provide useful information about residents. Information varies within the directories but they generally list the head of household along with spouse, address, occupation, and whether they owned or rented their home. City directories also list churches, funeral homes, schools, public organizations and more. Please see the library's city directory holdings for a detailed list of directories at the Bentley.
Assorted individual directories are available online. For example, DistantCousin.com has the entire 1837 Detroit, Michigan City Directory online.
The 1872 Ann Arbor city directory by Cole and Keating is also online.
Record Book, 1925-1947, Zion Lutheran Church,
Ann Arbor, Michigan
Many Michigan churches have donated their records to the Bentley Historical Library. If your family has been involved with a particular denomination or a specific church, they may be mentioned within these records. The files may include baptism, marriage, and funeral listings as well as general involvement with the church. To determine what church records we have, go to MIRLYN and type in the city of interest and the word church. You will get a list of all the churches that we have for that particular place.
Death and Marriage Notices from Michigan
Newspapers, Volume 7 -Genessee and Grand
Traverse Counties, compiled by Marguerite
Occasionally genealogists will donate their research materials. As a result, the library contains a number of helpful compilations. These include obituaries, marriage notices, and birth announcements. Two highly used sources are the Elizabeth James papers that focus on Washtenaw County and the Marguerite Lambert papers, which are a comprehensive collection of announcements from several Michigan counties throught the 1860s. Additional compilations can be found through MIRLYN through a subject search for "Registers of Births, etc."
Record Book, 1937-1940, Dolph Funeral Home
The Bentley Historical Library holds records from funeral homes and individuals involved in the funeral profession. These collections may be useful for locating death and burial information. Specific funeral home records can be found through MIRLYN under a subject search for "undertakers and undertaking." A more general keyword search for "funeral" will reveal more general information and sources regarding funeral rites and ceremonies.
A collection of particular interest is the Dolph Funeral Home Records. Included are listing of funerals, including biographical data on deceased, cost of services, and newspaper obituaries. The Dolph Funeral Home is located in Ann Arbor but is not limited to local residents. It appears that many individuals listed in the records were patients at the University of Michigan Hospital.
We also have the Muehlig Funeral Chapel records. The funeral record books, 1882-1916, contain such vital information as name, date of death, age, cause of death, and occupation; register, 1919-1940, of funerals, containing names only. The records from May 1909 through 1916 include occasional information about deceased's parents.
Forest Hill Cemetery records, 1857-2000 include burial books, 1859-1981; deed books, 1859-1976; 1858 map of cemetery plan; and miscellaneous microfilmed records, including plat books, assessment cards, burial cards, and lot owner cards.
Another helpful compilation is the Bentley Historical Library's list of Cemeteries and Funeral Homes in Washtenaw County. These establishments retain their own records but are willing to help genealogists find information about family members.
Reading newspapers of the past is a great way to put family history into a larger historical context. Newspapers reveal local and national events that affected the lives of ancestors. Announcements, such as birth, marriage, or death notices, are sometimes included within newspapers as well. It is important to note that obituaries were somewhat random until the 1900s.
The Bentley Historical Library holds many Michigan newspapers, especially from the Ann Arbor area. Some exist on microfilm although many remain in the orginal paper format. Please see the library's Checklist of Newspaper Titles for more information about available newspapers.MIRLYN by completing a subject search for the city's name followed by "(Mich)." For example, if a researcher was looking for information about Newberry, Michigan, he or she would click on "subject" and input "Newberry (Mich.)"
A Twentieth Century History of Allegan County, Michigan
compiled by Henry F. Thomas, Lewis Publishing Co., 1907
The Bentley Historical Library has many published histories about specific Michigan Counties. The majority were published in the late 1800s or very early 1900s. They contain information about county origins, government, schools, businesses, individual city or town information, and biographies about pioneers and other important individuals.
Due to their frailty, the library does not photocopy county histories. The only exception is Washtenaw County histories for which the library has duplicates for such purposes.
There are now 362 digitized titles (many composed of multiple volumes) published before 1923, that are available on-line. The collection provides all members of the community with keyword searching and page-by-page access to digitized reproductions of Michigan county histories and Michigan county histories as a resource for historical and genealogical research.