Friday, February 19, 2010

Part of Berrien County, Michigan, is in Kalamazoo?

Recently I quoted a non-genealogist archives user on the value of consulting with the keepers of the records -- well, the other day the advice came to life when Sharon Carlson, the director of Western Michigan University's Archives and Regional History Collections in Kalamazoo, advised me to go beyond the newspaper research I had planned and consult the index created by former director Wayne C. Mann as part of his own research.

It's actually more what I would call a "living index," because he photocopied various newspaper articles and other items, and filed one copy each under each surname mentioned in the article. No brick walls collapsed, but I found information on friends and associates of my research target that I never could have in any other way.

It's been microfilmed (43 reels!) and the Family History Library calls it "The Southern Berrien County, Michigan Index" and notes that it tends to cover the townships on either side of the state line from Rolling Prairie to South Bend on the Indiana side and Berrien and St. Joseph counties on the Michigan side. So, depending on your geographical orientation, you may wish to consult this Berrien County resource either in Kalamazoo or Salt Lake City.

(And just FYI: if you're looking for Berrien County probate court records after 1838, you'll find them, not in Kalamazoo, but in Berrien Springs at the Berrien County Historical Association, which is an archive as well.)

2 comments:

Jessica's thoughts said...

Hi Harold,

I agree it is a good idea to check other places for records. Western Michigan's regional archives holds records for the Southwestern part of Michigan, and so, if someone has ancestors from Southwestern Michigan, they might want to check and see if any records are held by the university.

-Jessica

Apple said...

Thank you for this! I will be visiting WMU later this year. I had planned on just a day but it looks like I should rethink that and really research what else they might have that will help me.