In the process of looking for information to fill out a future blog entry, I happened upon the Michigan Pioneer and Historical Collections. It is a collection that I had heard of and I’d seen things transcribed from, but I’d never had the opportunity to use it. And with a portion of my family solidly planted in the Michigan Territory prior to the 1830s, this is a source I had planned to check out. So I was thrilled to find an MSU Libraries Research Guide that linked to the Hathi Trust Digital Library’s catalog entry for the digitized volumes.
The collection takes some searching. It consists of three distinct series of varying quality from reminiscences to solid historical research largely covering a span from 1650-1850. Also digitized are two indexes covering about 30 of the 40 volumes; but the rest are individually searchable. I spent way too much time just searching various family names. I hit solidly on my Lapham and Gilbert connections and their allied lines, finding a mix of anecdotal and more trustworthy notes. If you’ve got Michigan pioneer ancestors this is worth checking out and infinitely easier now that it’s digitized.