2018 Michigan Genealogical Council Fall Seminar

Featuring John Philip Colletta, Ph.D., the MGC Fall Seminar promises to be a rich and full learning opportunity!  Please join us on Saturday, November 3, 2018 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Michigan Library & Historical Center, 702 W. Kalamazoo, Lansing, Michigan.

Colletta photoDr. Colletta, a popular genealogy lecturer for 30 years, has worked at the Library of Congress and taught National Archives programs for 20+ years.  He is on the faculty of the Institute of Genealogy & Historical Research (IGHR) and the Salt Lake Institute of Genealogy (SLIG).  He has published key resources and guides for genealogists:  They Came in Ships: A Guide to Finding Your Immigrant Ancestor’s Arrival Record; Finding Italian Roots: The Complete Guide for Americans; Only a Few Bones: A True Account of the Rolling Fork Tragedy and its Aftermath; and the Great Course “Discovering Your Roots”.  He has received many professional honors, including fellowship in the Utah Genealogical Association and distinguished service awards from the Dallas Genealogical Society and the National Society, Daughters of Colonial Founders and Patriots.  Fluent in French, German and Russian, Dr. Colletta’s website provides much more information, so check here for more – http://www.genealogyjohn.com.

You WILL want to register for the day of classes, Dr. Colletta’s lectures – and, if you want a boxed lunch, you MUST register before October 31st!  Register here .

Dr. Colletta’s lectures are:  Finding the Town of Origin: U.S. Sources for Discovering an Ancestor’s Native Town Overseas; Lesser Used Federal Records: Sources of RIch Detail About Ancestors’ Lives; The County Courthouse: Your “Trunk in the Attic”; and Breaking Through Brick Walls: Use your HEAD!  

Additional lectures are scheduled:  Jessica Trotter, Librarian at Capital Area District Libraries, is presenting Genealogy Road Trip: No, Really, It’s Not All Online!  Randy Riley, State Librarian at the Library of Michigan, shares about Library of Michigan: Rise and Fall and Rise of a Family History/Local History Treasure.  Kris Rzepczynski, Senior Archivist at the Archives of Michigan, is offering Researching Great Lakes Migration in the Archives of Michigan’s Abrams Genealogy Collection.  From Dan Earl, VP of the MGC, we’ll hear about Going WAYBACK: Using the Internet Archive in Your Research.


Register here .


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

Archives of Michigan

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.