Local History and Genealogy

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Don’t judge a book by its cover

Ever hear that expression? Well it’s very appropriate when you look at the 40-volume set in the Local History Room called the Michigan Pioneer Collections (H 977.4 M 62). Bound in black with gold lettering, they don’t look all that impressive, but open them up and you will find them chock full of interesting information about life in Michigan during the 18th and 19th centuries. The books were a product of the Michigan Pioneer and Historical Society whose one goal was to collect information and stories from the people who settled in Michigan in between the 1830s and 1850s. Fortunately, there are two indexes which are so valuable especially if there is a certain subject you are looking for in these books. These are at the top of my list when I am doing research. I once found some great information about the construction of Kalamazoo County’s first courthouse. 

You don’t have to have a specific topic to research. Just open them up and start reading. Sue Husband who worked at the Archives and Regional History Collections at Western Michigan University was reading these books one volume at a time. I don’t know if she ever finished them but I admired her for her persistence.


Michigan Pioneer Collections
Lynn H


Are any of these books available (either partically or fully) in electronic format?
Michigan State University has a good website at http://guides.lib.msu.edu/page.phtml?page_id=2173 which has links to digital copies of these volumes. Also, Pioneering the Upper Midwest from the Library of Congress http://memory.loc.gov/amnem/umhtml/ but that has just a few volumes available for viewing in a digital format: 8-12,15-16,19-20.
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