Monday, November 1, 2010


This web site began with my frustration in using the List of pensioners on the Roll, January 1, 1883, re-published in 1970 by Genealogical Publishing Co.  It is a five-volume set that lists all pensioners receiving a pension on that date, broken down by country, state, county and town or village.  To be sure there are many Civil War veterans, but there are also wives, mothers, and children but there are also some veterans from the War of 1812 and their widows.  All with no index and I used this work often.  It took about a year to index each volume, starting in 1989 and all five volumes were completed in 1993.  In 1997 this became the database used by AGLL Genealogical Services, later Heritage Quest, Inc. for their digitized version of this publication on CD.
During this time I worked for Michigan Bell and had accounts on ARPAnet, the precursor to the internet (subscribing to ALL genealogy and historical groups then took about 10 minutes per day to read).  I also indexed more Civil War books, and by the time the internet became widely used by the public I thought that merging my cumulative indices would be a good fit, so MichList was born in 2003.
My friend, Pam Epple, knew that I had assisted in the indexing of many of the Oakland County Genealogical Society’s publications, and suggested that I create a cumulative index for these publications as well, which I did in 2003.  The work was already done anyway, I just had to merge the existing indices, so now I had two sections for my website.
Showing off my work to the late Carole Callard at the Library of Michigan, she looked at me and said in her West Virginia lilt “you know Jim, you should do this for the entire state of Michigan”.  How could I say no.  She suggested starting with the Upper Peninsula because that worked well for her index of the 1870 Michigan census project.
So for a time, I had three different databases, one military, and two sets of records of land owners, county histories, cemetery inscriptions, vital records, etc.  The problem was – to be thorough all three had to be checked.  After all, a Civil War soldiers would be listed in the regimental histories, but may also be listed in the vital records or cemetery inscriptions listed in the other two databases.  And there were substitutes who never served who may be listed in the military publications.
So about 2004, I merged all these records into one cumulative A through Z index.  In 2006 I moved from Troy (Oakland county), to Battle Creek (Calhoun county) and focused on the lower, mid-Michigan area, having completed the Upper Peninsula.  I’ve got a pretty good representative group of records for the bottom two rows of counties and will be working my way North.  With the exception of Antrim county in Northern Michigan that was done out of order (my Mother’s family is from Central Lake and hey, it’s my web site).
There are no books for sale, nor any source material viewable directly on my site.  However, I received permission to link my index to sites that have digitized these sources.  I also provide a link to Society websites for their publications that are still in print.  If the source is no longer available, I’ll link to a 3rd party, like so you may purchase these publications that contain information on your person of interest, directly through these selling agents.
As of this writing, there are over two million citations and growing.  This blog may evolve over time, but I believe that it will be used for posting speaking engagements and information about new sources as they are added to  Some of these sources take hours, some take months based on their size, so check back often or stay tuned for updates.

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