Abrams Collection Genealogy Highlights
Volume 7, Number 3
More than 300 years ago, French officer Antoine de la Mothe Cadillac founded a fort and settlement at the site of Detroit, the beginnings of a city whose original settlers and descendants would forever be tied to the rich and seasoned history they helped create. Detroit, vastly older than most Michigan cities and towns, stood through — and was shaped by — the ebb and flow of a changing world.
Immigrants from many world regions traveled to Detroit to find a better life. Three different governments, including two monarchies and one democracy, led the city at one time or another. After the Revolution, it wasn't uncommon to find Protestant American-Frenchmen living next door to Quakers and former adversaries under British control. In the 19th century, many Detroit-area residents were instrumental in guiding escaping slaves on their journey across the river to Canada, while at the same time growing industry was attracting new laborers. Later, the area workforce mobilized manufacturing efforts for World War I and II.
Although many people think of Detroit as the original “Motor City,” the area’s very first commodity was fur, attracting the earliest French traders to settle. Other industries like agriculture, and transportation of it, have mightily impacted the makeup of the Detroit region. Beyond traders, manufacturers and shippers, Detroit has been home to many military units ever since the French regime.
For family-history researchers, that diversity means there is no single “right way” to find the information you seek. One family may find hidden gems in church records while another finds society newsletters yield the best results. While one researcher can rely upon English-language resources, still another may find his work leads him to documents available only in Polish, French or Spanish.
This publication is intended to be a sampling of the numerous Detroit resources available at the Library of Michigan. Library of Congress subject searches can be performed on ANSWER, the Library’s online catalog. Following are a few sample searches that may lead you to resources beneficial to your research; clicking on the links in this publication will take you to the ANSWER catalog search results or the catalog record for a particular item. When a name of a family or institution is known, there is often a specific subject heading for the term, which may be a good place to start.
Sample Subject Searches:
Burton, Clarence Monroe. Index to the Detroit Gazette Digest. Detroit: Detroit Public Library, 1962.
Michigan AI 21 .D43 B8 1962
Genealogy Microfilm F 574 .D4 B872 1971
Downriver Genealogical Society. Guide to Detroit Churches, 1850-1900: Extracted from Detroit City Directories. Lincoln Park: The Society, 2004.
Michigan F 574 .D4 G85 2004
Index Cards to Naturalization Petitions for the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan, Southern Division, Detroit, 1907-1995, Reels 1-280. Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, 2004.
Genealogy Microfilm F 566 .V2 2004
Lambert, Marguerite Novy. Marriage and Death Newspaper Notices, Wayne County, Michigan, 1809-1868. Detroit: Detroit Society for Genealogical Research, 2001.
Michigan F 572 .W4 L36 2001
Powers, Thomas E. and Leonard A. Coombs. Detroit: A Guide to the Resources in the Bentley Historical Library. Ann Arbor: Bentley Historical Library, 2001.
Michigan Z 1297 .B46 D4 2001
Social Secretary of Detroit and Michigan. Detroit: The Social Secretary, 1923.
Michigan F 574 .D4 S632z
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Ameri, Anan and Yvonne Lockwood. Arab Americans in Metro Detroit: A Pictorial History. Chicago: Arcadia Publishing, 2001.
Michigan E 184 .A65 A44 2001
Douglas, R. Alan. Uppermost Canada: The Western District and the Detroit Frontier 1800-1850. Detroit: Wayne State University Press, 2001.
Michigan F 1059.5 .W5 D68 2001
Fred Hart Williams Genealogical Society. Our Untold Stories: A Collection of Family History Narratives. Detroit: The Society, 2001.
Michigan F 574 .D4 N477 2001
Heritage of Faith: Detroit’s Religious Communities 1701-1776. [s.l., s.n.]: J.L. Splane, Printer.
Michigan BR 560 .D4 H47z
Ibbotson, Patricia. Detroit’s Hospitals, Healers and Helpers. Charleston, SC: Arcadia, 2004.
Michigan RA 982 .D4 I33 2004
Skendzel, Eduard Adam. Detroit’s Pioneer Mexicans: A Historical Study of the Mexican Colony in Detroit. Grand Rapids: Littleshield Press, 1980.
Michigan F 574 .D4 M57 1980
Wallace, Walter. Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity Inc.: The History of Detroit Alumni Chapter, Volume 1, 1920-1959. Detroit: Harlo Press, 2004.
Michigan LJ 81 .W35 2004
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In addition to the Detroit Free Press and the Detroit News, there are a number of other newspapers that may be of interest to genealogy researchers:
Athenai = The Detroit Athens. 1942-1980.
Detroit Courier. 1830-1834.
Detroit Gazette. 1817-1830.
Detroit Post. 1866-1869.
Detroit Times. 1903-1960.
Detroiter Abend-Post. 1888-1931.
Gazette Van Detroit. 1916-1975.
Michigan Chronicle. 1939-Present.
Românul American. 1939-1969.
Wage Earner. 1942-1964.
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Birth Records from Archives of Wayne County, Michigan. Lansing: Michigan Works Progress Administration Vital Records Project, 1936.
Michigan F 572 .W4 B57 1936
Genealogical Records Compiled by the Genealogical Committee of the Louisa St. Clair Chapter, Daughters of the American Revolution. Detroit: The Chapter, 1934-1939.
Michigan F 572 .W4 G45
Ibbotson, Patricia. Bird and Mott Funeral Register, Detroit, Michigan 1922-1944. Detroit: Detroit Society for Genealogical Research, 2004.
Michigan F 574 .D4 I33 2004
Marriage Records from Archives of Wayne County, Michigan, Vols. 1-12. Lansing: Michigan Administration Vital Records Project, 1936.
Michigan F 572 .W4 M37 1936
Quaife, Milo M., [Ed.]. John Askin Papers, Vols. 1-2. Detroit: Detroit Library Commission, 1928.
Michigan F 574 .D4 A8
Register of Church Records, 1913-2004 of St. Columbia Episcopal Church 1021 Manistique, Detroit, Michigan; History, Clergy List, Baptisms, Confirmations, Marriages, Burials & Memorials. [s.l., s.n.], 2004.
Michigan F 574 .D4 R44 2004
Russell, Donna Valley, ed. Michigan Censuses 1710-1830: Under The French, British and Americans. Detroit: Detroit Society for Genealogical Research, 1982.
Michigan F 565 .M523z
Vital Records, Wayne County, Vols. 1-3. Detroit: The Chapter, 1934-1942.
Genealogy Microfilm F 572. W4 V58 1934a
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Early Land Transfers, Detroit and Wayne County, Michigan, Vols. 1-53. Lansing: Michigan Works Progress Administration Vital Records Project, 1936.
Michigan F 572 .W4 E37 1936
Huntington, Sherry and Sarah Lange. Indexed List of Landowners from 1876: Illustrated Historical Atlas of Wayne County, Michigan and Maps. Lincoln Park: Downriver Genealogical Society, 1993.
Michigan F 572 .W4 I54 1993
Land Valuation Maps of the City of Detroit. Lincoln Park: Downriver Genealogical Society, 2002.
Michigan Oversize G 1414 .D4 L36 2002
Peck, Paul R. Landsmen of Wayne County: An Atlas and Plat of the First Land Owners of Wayne County, Michigan. [s.l., s.n.], Liberty Town Press. 1985.
Michigan F 572 .W4 P4z
Probate Records from Archives of Wayne County, Michigan, Vols. 1-5. Lansing: Daughters of the American Revolution, Louisa St. Clair Chapter, 1936.
Michigan F 572 .W4 P76 1936
Riviere du Détroit Depuis le Lac Sainte Claire Jusqu´au Lac Erié. Ithaca, NY: Historic Urban Plans, 1964.
Michigan Flat File G 4112 .D4 1701 .R5 1964
Robinson, E. and R.H. Pidgeon. Atlas of the City of Detroit and Suburbs: Embracing Portions of Hamtramck, Springwells and Greenfield Townships. New York: E. Robinson, 1885.
Rare Folio G 1414 .D4 R652 1885
Sanborn Map Company. Map Key to the Sanborn Fire Insurance Maps of Detroit, MI. Lansing: Library of Michigan, 2003.
Genealogy G 1411 .G475 S32 2003
Scott, Gene. Detroit Beginnings: Early Villages and Old Neighborhoods. Detroit: DRCEA, 2001.
Michigan F 574 .D4 S36 2001
Stave, Bruce M., ed. Fire Insurance Maps from the Sanborn Map Company Archives, Late 19th Century to 1990, Michigan, Reels 1-24. Bethesda, MD: University Publications of America, 1993.
Genealogy Microfilm G 1411 .G475 S3 1993
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Detroit Society for Genealogical Research
History Detroit 1701-2001
Michigan County Histories
Walter P. Reuther Library
Wayne County Michigan US GenWeb Project
William L. Clements Library
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