Thursday, March 5, 2009

The ultimate Michigan Civil War resource

You're going to be sorry your ancestors didn't all flock to Michigan to join the Union Army...

I blundered into a fantastic archival collection on line at Seeking Michigan -- digital images of original Civil War records in 1486 folders, each containing (as far as I looked) between 25 and 85 documents. According to the collection description, "The records document the history of Michigan soldiers in the form of muster rolls, letters, lists of dead, monthly returns and other materials sent to the state Adjutant General during the war. Funded by the National Historical Publications and Records Commission." The Library of Michigan and the Archives of Michigan and the Leota and Talbert Abrams Foundation are involved.

If you have a research target who served in a Michigan unit in the war, and you know which one, you can conduct archival research on him from your desktop. (From the lists I saw it's obvious that many men not living in Michigan saw service there.) The interface isn't ideal, but if you click on printable version, that image is much easier to navigate and very detailed.

I can't tell if this is everything, but it's enormous. It's not indexed but it is organized by unit. Folder titles are searchable so browsing is probably the way to get started. To browse this collection, hit "advanced search," in that window move "Civil War Records" from the box on the left to the box on the right," and hit search. And pretty much wherever you land you'll find a surprise. I just found a bunch of Mexican War records!

2 comments:

Mark said...

Harold,

This is everyhing in our state collection. It is a grant test to see if users would rather have all of the information just as if they were in the archives as opposed to the costly route of item level indexing. As a contrast we are also loading all CW letters and diaries with some indexing. We hope to officially launch the site next week. We are loading about a million Michigan death records onto the site as well. Stay tuned.

Apple said...

I knew they were uploading the death records but the Civil War papers are great! I've only glanced through the records for the 2nd MI Calvary but I think they will be a great resource to go along with the letters I have that were written during the war.

Thanks for another great link!