Posted by TIm Adams
As President Julie Pingston waited for the clock to hit 12:30 pm, a rather spirited discussion and debate about pancakes was taking place in my group. As a late arrival to the chat, I could only listen in on this important discussion with key information being shared as to the best pancakes in town and a bourbon maple syrup that sounded interesting. Then the discussion veered to waffles vs pancakes, which can only lead to the inevitable question as to whether an Eggo is a waffle, President Julie sensing the division that a pancake vs waffle debate may cause, began pulling us all back to the main room to begin the meeting, but not without the last word from Chris Holman, who proclaimed “Let go of my Eggo” as the mute button silenced the conversation.
Deftly President Julie moved to introduce Jenn Dubey to deliver the invocation. Jenn led a blessing about the meaning of Passover. John Dale Smith played America the Beautiful for this week’s patriotic song.
President Julie began the introduction of visiting Rotarians and guests. President Julie acknowledged that our District Governor Nathan Triplett was in attendance. Michelle Reynaert introduced Michael Simmons the media librarian for Sparrow Health Systems. Joel Hoffman introduced Ed Gillespie, Camron Gnass welcomed David Votta and finally President Julie turned the floor over to Krista Stevens to say hello.
Sandy Draggoo was tasked the March Birthdays presentation, which due to technical difficulties became a silent celebration, but we were able to learn that these quiet leaders put their money where their mouths are with 100% participation for raising foundation funds. Congratulations and the rest of the club is now being challenged by President Julie to keep up the momentum going forward.
President Julie went on to welcome Kim Barber and Kayla Green as officially red badge new members of the club.
With no special music this week today’s program began with an introduction from Melanie Dart of Kris Rzepczynski, Senior Archivist at the Archives of Michigan. Kris’s program was titled “Family History Research at the Archives of Michigan. Kris started his presentation by providing online resources that can be linked from the Archives of Michigan website. The first place to begin a genealogy search within the archives is data from the United States Census Bureau, with data from 1790 to 1940, this is the gateway to other records collections. The Census Bureau data includes, name, household members, country of origin, language spoken in the home and birthplace of household members. Interestingly for a time if the family home contained a radio, today the question is likely - does the household know what a radio is versus an app. It should be noted that later records with the U.S. Census Bureau are not available to the public until 75 years have passed since the census data was collected as protection to individual’s privacy in data submitted.
State archival collections include the State of Michigan records, including older birth and death records and the ever-popular prison records for Jackson, Ionia, and Marquette prison facilities. The records from local governments include among other data, real property data, civil and criminal court records, probate and voting data. Naturalization records are also available at the archives as one traces their family tree back to the familial countries of origin. Another source assessable through the archives is data from the Abrams Foundation Historical Collection, with vital records from New England, New York, Pennsylvania, other midwestern states and records from Ontario and Quebec.
Kris shared some photos of the archival collections housed in three locations around Lansing for the State of Michigan. I think if we looked carefully there may a have been an individual in an Indiana Jones outfit looking for the lost Ark of the Covenant in the distant background of this large archival vault. While due to COVID (have we heard this enough in the last year) the archives is not open to the public currently, but access online is available as well as being able to request a virtual meeting with an archivist from researchers around the country.
In wrapping up his presentation Kris shared the links to several online resources of the archives for those researching their family history as follows:
Archives of Michigan home page
Catalog of resources
A number of great questions were answered by Kris, before our time ran out and President Julie reassumed control of the meeting to wish us all a great weekend and reminding us, we do not meet next week due to Good Friday. With that our bell was tolled to close this week’s meeting.
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