Friday, September 12, 2008

Getting down to business in Michigan

Jasia, world's liveliest genealogy blogger, laments in a comment yesterday not getting much help finding business records in the Mitten State. I found one place to start on line, but clearly you'd have to go there, and what they have might not necessarily be what you need -- that's the way with archives.

The Archives of Michigan enumerates more than 100 businesses for which they have something in this circular (all these circulars are PDF files).

Of course it won't include her grandfather's baking company unless those records were saved and donated there. Maybe they weren't kept. Or maybe they were donated to another archive, closer to home. Or maybe they're still moldering away in some relative's attic! (I have a research target that was a Michigan business for years, but its archives, to the extent they exist, are across the lake in Wisconsin because the business later moved.)

Looks like you might have better luck if your research target was a Michigan corporation, because they had to file reports to the state starting in 1840. Here's the Archives of Michigan's corporation circular, but it doesn't name them all. Looks like lotsa microfilm, the 1840-1980 index alone runs 25 reels. Obviously it'd be a big help to know when your targets were in business there.

But that's not all. The Archives also has circulars indicating their holdings in shipping and navigation; mining; lumbering, logging, and forestry (including some payrolls); licensed professions (auctioneers and ferry masters go way back); and account books and ledgers (including individuals, churches, societies; some going back to 1813). Yee haw!


Jasia said...

Oh aren't you the one! Thanks for addressing the options for business records research in Michigan. Great information to know :-D

And thanks for your kind remark and link to my blog. "Lively"... I like it!

Sheri said...

I second the opinion on Jasia's Blog. But I Heart Your Blog! Harold and have a present for you over at my blog - The Educated Genealogist

Harold said...

You're welcome, Jasia, and thank you, Sheri! No good deed goes unpunished, and I've already emailed Sheri with a question about one of her favorite books. Check out her blog if you haven't already.