Michigan death records, 1897-1920, now appearing online

The Library of Michigan today launched a free Web site that will feature nearly one million Michigan death certificates never before available electronically. These death certificates for the years 1897 to 1920 hold tremendous research opportunities for genealogists, historians and students – as well as anyone interested in Michigan's rich heritage.

These records are online at http://www.seekingmichigan.org/, the brand-new, one-stop shop for Michigan historical records. Seeking Michigan is a partnership between the Library of Michigan and the Archives of Michigan, which also has digitized state records for this Web site.

"Previously people had to visit the Library of Michigan to view these records on microfilm, or order them for a fee from the state vital records office or a county clerk," Special Collections Manager Randy Riley said. "Now anyone in the world can go online to Seeking Michigan and find the record of interest to them within minutes and at no cost."

The Library of Michigan's Abrams Foundation Historical Collection is one of the top 10 genealogy collections in the United States. The Abrams Foundation, which has given the library more than $2 million since the 1980s, funded the death records digitization.

In addition to having the records digitized, the Library had them indexed for easy searching by name, death date, location, age and more. As of today, about 25 percent of the nearly one million death records have been added. The remaining death records should be online within the next month.

"Offering this extensive collection of death records online puts Michigan at the forefront of vital records digitization nationwide," Riley said. "Researchers are coming to expect online access to information, and we're glad to deliver. We hope this Web site will inspire Michiganians to explore our state's fascinating past and to discover their personal history."

For more information about Seeking Michigan, please contact the Library of Michigan at (517) 373-1300 or librarian@michigan.gov.

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