This post is just a quick heads-up to let you know about a few million Midwestern records that have gone live on Ancestry.com over the last week.
Ohio is the big winner, with indexes to more than 10 million vital records.
Ohio Deaths, 1908–1932, 1938–1944, and 1958–2007, has been updated with an additional 550,000 names, but the bigger news is two new databases: Ohio Marriage Index, 1970, 1972–2007, and Ohio Divorce Index, 1962–1963, 1967–1971, 1973–2007. They’re on the modern side of our record collections, for sure, but they provide access to more than 10 million records between them. And while I have no ties to Ohio that I know of, I can’t help but think these records could hold some intriguing clues for those who do.
This is especially true of the divorce index. While some entries provide less information than others, the most extensive can include not only names and dates but also times married, birth years, number of minor children, the grounds for divorce, whom the decree was granted to, and the length of the marriage.
Michigan Death Certificates
For a little icing on the cake for those of you with relatives next door, Michigan Death Records, 1897–1920, contains almost 1 million death certificates from the state of Michigan’s Division of Vital Statistics. The records are great sources of vital information, including names and birthplaces of the deceased’s parents.
A Michigan native clued me in on one great story from the death records. In 1850, Ellen Wilson and her husband, both slaves, passed through Michigan on their way to freedom in Canada. They returned a few years later to live among the peace-loving Quakers in Farmington, where Ellen died in 1915 (though there appear to be a couple of confusing sixes penciled in). Her death certificate gives her father’s name—a great find for anyone researching slave ancestry.
So, all you lucky folks with Ohio and Michigan roots (or branches), enjoy.
UPDATE AS OF AUGUST 12, 2010
After the success that some folks already had with them, you may have noticed that the Michigan Death Records are currently unavailable. We apologize for this inconvenience. Please know that we are working hard to get them back up on the site and hope to have the situation resolved soon. In the meantime, if you’re researching your Michigan ancestors, go to the Card Catalog and type Michigan in the Title box, and you will see more than 300 Michigan-related databases in our collections. Or you might find these Michigan death or marriage (prior to 1850 and 1851–75) databases useful if you haven’t checked them before.
We’ll let you know as soon as we get the Michigan vital records back up.