As a Reference Archivist and librarian, it is always exciting to discover a new family history web site, database, or print publication that can assist me in my personal research or professional work. It is particularly thrilling, then, when that new database is actually released from my place of employment.
Just last month, the Archives of Michigan released the next set of Michigan death records at Seeking Michigan. Covering 1921-1952 and including more than 1.6 million records, the actual death certificates from 1921-1939 are now freely available, with index-only data from 1940-1952. The 1921-1952 index data has been available at FamilySearch for some time, but the certificates themselves are only available at Seeking Michigan. Additional certificate images will be released each year at Seeking Michigan as privacy restrictions are lifted; for example, 1940 images will be released in January 2016, 1941 in January 2017, and so on. Together with the records from 1897-1920 that have been available at the site for years, this new collection of free death records makes Seeking Michigan the one-stop destination for more than 2.6 million death records for Michigan genealogical and historical research.
Luminaries like Harry Houdini, Henry Ford, and James Vernor (Vernor’s Ginger Ale) can all be found in the new database, but for me, I’m excited with William Alderson. I’ve written about my great-grandfather several times in the past, including “William the Fisherman” and “Intersecting Ancestors”, but an index abstract of his 1951 death certificate can be found below and at Seeking Michigan:
Although I’ll have to wait until 2027 to see the death certificate online (!), I could in the meantime pay the small exorbitant fee to get a copy from the state or county. Regardless, my family can be found online alongside master illusionists, auto magnates, and a “deliciously different” beverage pioneer.