What Is A Lock-In? Fall Family History Event Details

What is a Lock-In?

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Frequently Asked Questions about the Archives of Michigan and Library of Michigan Lock-In

What time do I have to research?

The timing is up to you. You can stay for as long as you want during the allotted time.

What is the age range of participants?

Anyone interested in using the Archives of Michigan or Library of Michigan resources can attend. Typically, it is for teens to adults.

What does it cost?

The lock-in is free. You will need to pay for any copies you make.

Is the night structured or can I do my own research?

The time is yours. You can do your own research. No programs are scheduled during this time.

Do I have to choose where I am going to research?

You can travel freely between the Archives and the Library.

How do I sign up?

An option to register is available during the registration process.

Can I bring a guest?

Yes, but all guests must be registered. Unless it is announced ahead of time, there are no walk-ins allowed for the lock-in.

Can I bring food or drink to the lock-in?

Sorry, leave your goodies in the car. No food or drink are allowed in the Library or Archives areas. The snack bar seating area, located at the front entrance, is available from 5-6p.

What do I need to bring to the lock-in?

It is a good idea to bring a list of resources you would like to look up.  http://answercat.org  is the go-to place for inventory of the Library and the Archives.

You will need a research card for the Archives.  If you don’t already have one, you can get it the night of the lock-in. A photo ID is required. There is no cost for this card.

You don’t need anything for the library, but you are welcome to get a library card if you wish.

What if I need help?

The staff of the library and archives are available to answer your questions and help with locating materials. Remember, there are more attendees than staff so be patient.ArchivesReadingRm

DNA Personal Sessions Offered at Fall Family History Event

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Diahan Southard is MGC’s featured speaker on Saturday, November 9 at the MGC Fall Family History Event held at Michigan Library and Historical Center.  She is offering personalized DNA mentoring on Friday, November 8, from 12-5 pm, for an additional cost.  Each personal session will be 20 minutes long and will cost $25.  If you would like to sign up for this personal DNA assistance you can do so at https://www.yourdnaguide.com/mgc 

The 20-minute session can be used in any way you want it to.  Diahan provided some examples of how the time could be spent: login to your testing company, and she will point out the key features of the website and guide you toward your best matches; or answer a specific question you might have; or help you in other ways.  However you choose to use your 20-minutes, you will leave the session with a clear picture of what to do next.

When you come for your session with Diahan, please bring your DNA testing company login information and the question you would like answered.

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Probate Records in Michigan: An Update – Mark Harvey and Kris Rzepczynski, Archives of Michigan

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In November 2017, the Archives of Michigan, together with the State Court Administrator’s Office (SCAO) and representatives from various county probate course, published an updated records retention schedule.  In general terms, and of particular interest to genealogists, historic probate files from all counties in Michigan will now be transferred to the Archives of Michigan after a period of fifty years.

This change in the probate records retention schedule will eventually make for a smooth and consistent transfer of public records with genealogically significant information from across the state to the Archives of Michigan.  The new schedule centralizes the process and puts in one depository – the Archives of Michigan – those historic records that previously had been stored across the state’s eighty-three counties.

Recently, a misunderstanding of the project caused misinformation to spread about the destruction of those same Michigan probate records.  In response, State Archivist Mark Harvey issued a statement.  Please see it here:  Statement from State Archivist

Looking ahead, the SCAO will work more closely with counties to transfer their probate records to the Archives of Michigan, prioritizing those counties that are spending funds on offsite archival storage.

Transferring historic probate records from across the state to the Archives of Michigan, an institution with a history of preservation, public access (online and onsite), and customer services, is a huge victory for the genealogical community, and specifically for records preservation and public access.

Please contact the Archives of Michigan at archives@michigan.gov or (517) 373-1414 with any questions, comments, or concerns.

Thanksgiving and Family Health History

One of the responsibilities of being a genealogist is knowing the health history of your family. Each year since 2004, the Surgeon General of the United States has declared Thanksgiving, “Family Health History Day.”


Now, when families get together to celebrate Thanksgiving, is the perfect time to talk with our relatives. It is a time to share known health issues that are hereditary. While many diseases and conditions that are inherited may not have a cure, just knowing about them can lead to early treatment and longer and healthier life.

If you have not done so already, please take a few minutes and visit the Surgeon General’s Family Health History Initiative. http://www.hhs.gov/programs/prevention-and-wellness/family-health-history/index.html  Here you will find sample questions to ask your family members and tools to help you evaluate the results to share with your loved ones.

All of us at the Michigan Genealogical Council and our member societies wish you and your family a Happy and Healthy Thanksgiving!