PackerAlbum27One of my winter projects was to write about my family’s experiences during the height of the Tuberculosis epidemic in the late 19th and early 20th century.  That means I have a nice list of resources I’d suggest for people researching in this era. My primary focus has obviously been Michigan but if you’re researching a TB patient or anyone involved in the epidemic—activists, medical staff, etc.—consider that there could have been a comparable organization in the area you’re researching.

Track down the Tubercular hospitals, such as the Michigan State Sanatorium (pictured above), for which you can find:

  • Patient records held by the Archives of Michigan and available with death certificate of patient.
  • Historical collections regarding the hospital held by Howell Carnegie Library
  • Reports of the Board of Trustees held by the Library of Michigan, some available through Google Books
  • Michigan Official Directory and Legislative Manual. Includes a short history of the Sanatorium with a listing of the Board of trustees.
  • Tuberculosis Hospital and Sanatorium Construction by Thomas Spees Carrington, National Association for the Study and Prevention of Tuberculosis, New York, 1911.

Find out how the locale you’re researching responded to the epidemic. For Michigan that includes State reports and Legislation:

  • Report of the Tuberculosis Survey of the State Board of Health compiled under the supervision of John L. Burkart, by the authority of the State Board of Health, Lansing, Michigan, 1917.
  • Public Health (quarterly periodical) by the Michigan State Board of Health, Lansing, Michigan. 1907-1951.
  • Michigan Tuberculosis Association Records, held by Michigan State University Archives and Historical Collections.
  • Ralph H. Childs/Grand Rapids Anti-Tuberculosis Society Collection held by Grand Rapids Public Library.

Broader discussion of the treatment of Tuberculosis:

  • The Open Air Treatment of Pulmonary Tuberculosis by F. W. Burton-Fanning, Cassell and Company LTD, 1909.
  • Clinical Tuberculosis by Francis Marion Pottenger, Second Edition, 2 Vol., C.V. Mosby Company, St Louis, 1922.

It’s fascinating and often heartbreaking research.

Happy hunting,


I’ve managed to sneak over to the Library of Michigan a few times in the last couple weeks with the hopes of checking my oldest research and sources. I actually did a bit of a double take when I realized how long I’ve been working on some of my families and how haphazardly I cited when I started. Please believe I have improved dramatically!

That said, I forget sometimes—as it’s in my own backyard—just how fabulous the Genealogy Collection is at LOM. The microform, book, and newspaper collections kept me going for years before I ever travelled to another institution. This past week I worked with a 2 volume, fabulously footnoted, genealogy of the Holden family and a couple of county histories from New York. Next week will probably be a couple of different New York Counties and looking for Kent County obituaries. And I know that there are hundreds of relatives still tucked away in the collection for me to find.

All politics aside—and there has been a lot surrounding the Library in the last 3 or 4 years as the State tried to decide what it would fund—it’s still a notable collection for researchers in general, and Michigan families in particular. If you haven’t already, check it out.

Happy Hunting,