Detroit History on Ebay

Have you used Ebay for your Detroit Genealogy? Ebay, one of the world’s largest online marketplaces and a constantly updating resource for genealogists, allows us to view Detroit items that were found in personal homes and at garage sales, in basements, attics, storage lockers, etc around the world.

I adore this website. Every few days, I check out the Detroit history items available and look at the photos (that are usually unmarked) in hopes that one of my ancestors might be there. Among the photo albums, random paperwork, and endless amounts of business swag from yesteryear, you just might find your kin or relics from events they attended and/or participated in.Robert Keller Ink Ad

 

Ebay has been a goldmine for locating items from my 2nd great grandfather’s ink company, Robert Keller Ink Company. Just after 11 years, I have 37 different bottles, 4 crocks, a jug, and various  nicknacks like a 1903 Mother Goose paint by numbers set . All from Ebay.

 
 
 
 
 
This past Veterans Day, I thought I’d see if I could find anything on Fort Custer in Battle Creek, MI during WWI. According to The Michigan Alumnus, my great grandfather, Edwin Keller, attended officers training at Fort Custer.

1904227_10105751703851194_8513382487568179661_nSince the Library & Archives of Michigan was closed for the holiday and I’ve already thoroughly searched the online Michigan military resources, I thought maybe Ebay might have something.

While I didn’t find anything related to my great grandfather’s WWI service, I did come across an original Detroit, Michigan appointment letter for A.H. Gillespie dated Sept 4 1917 with an interesting group photo. Mr. Gillespie was responsible for getting these WWI “conscripts” (aka drafted men) from the second ward to Camp Custer in Battle Creek Michigan.

WWI.1This would be quite a find for Detroit military researchers & descendants of the soldiers or A.H. Gillespie.

conscripted

Drafted Detroiters from the second ward – September 1917

 
Family history researchers usually do not like to leave any resource unchecked (or rechecking a resource) for too long.  For those with minimal time available to peruse Ebay for family treasures, you can save your searches saved and have alerts emailed to you.

Det EbayLink: Ebay – Saving Your Searches

Keller Ink Company envelope - f & B

 
 
Give Ebay-ing your ancestors a try. You never know what you’ll find.

Happy Hunting,
Deidre Erin

Wayne County Probate Records on Family Search – Part 2

Happy All Saints Day & Day of the Dead!

Yesterday, we found Samuel Gray’s Wayne County probate record index card.

Samuel Gray
Today, we’ll find his probate record.

We’ll start by returning to Family Search’s Wayne County Probate Records, 1797-1973

Michigan, Probate Records, 1797-1973 > Wayne

After scrolling down, past the “packet index 1797 – 1901…” section, you’ll find “probate packets…” section.

probate pk

This is where the case number comes in handy. Samuel’s probate index card lists his case number as 192. We click on “Probate Packets 1819-1821 no 191-221″ and find scroll until we find probate case #192, which starts on image 57.

sg probate

"Michigan, Probate Records, 1797-1973," images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.3.1/TH-1971-29006-9076-59?cc=2013878&wc=MCK7-JNL:376683801,376933101 : accessed 02 Nov 2014), Wayne > Probate packets 1819-1821 no 191-221 > image 58 of 1053.

“Michigan, Probate Records, 1797-1973,” images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.3.1/TH-1971-29006-9076-59?cc=2013878&wc=MCK7-JNL:376683801,376933101 : accessed 02 Nov 2014), Wayne > Probate packets 1819-1821 no 191-221 > image 58 of 1053.

Wasn’t that easy? Just find your ancestor’s index card and track down the probate case file.

Feliz Dia De Los Muertos!
Deidre Erin

 
*****Update*****
A hand full of probate indexes & packets are missing along with any probate packet numbered higher than 16980 (1891).

The probate indexes missing:
Packet index 1797-1901 – Cro – Cru
Packet index 1797-1901 – Lom – Millard, J
Packet index 1797-1901 – Williams, U – Z

The full Wayne County index and probate records up to 1901 are on microfilm at the Archives of Michigan in Lansing, MI.

Family History Month – Wayne County Probate Records on Family Search

We have had quite a Family History Month! I hope you have enjoyed the daily fix of Detroit genealogy & history. I figured I’d save the best for last.. Finding ancestors in Family Search’s Wayne County Probate Records.

I love the Wayne County probate records (1797-1901) on Family Search. They not only may hold a wealth of information but you actually have to search for them since it is a “browse only” collection. I’m sorta surprised when fellow Detroit researchers tell me they have never checked them out while on Family Search.

Here is a quick crash course in finding your ancestors in this collection.

Michigan, Probate Records, 1797-1973 > Wayne
 After clicking the link above, you should see that the first 24 links are labeled “packet index 1797 – 1901…”.
Wayne Probate

This is where you start looking for your ancestor’s surname.
Let’s say we looking for my 4th great grand uncle, Samuel Gray (1787-1819). He was the first member of my family tree to live and die in Detroit. we would click on “Packet index 1797 – 1901 Frum – Grissel”
probie
This file has 6890 index cards. I usually start at the middle and start narrowing the search. We finally find Samuel after a few searches on page 5790.

Samuel Gray

“Michigan, Probate Records, 1797-1973,” images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.3.1/TH-1971-29030-30983-73?cc=2013878&wc=MCKW-2NL:376683801,378858801 : accessed 31 Oct 2014), Wayne > Packet index 1797-1901 Frum-Grissel > image 5790 of 6890.

Samuel’s Wayne County probate record is #192 and let’s us know that Samuel died 24 Sep 1819 in Detroit and had land in Indiana.

It is always a good idea to look up associated family surnames when you locate an ancestor in this probate record index. Every person mentioned in a probate record will have a index card as well, which may contain more information like death dates of siblings (when nieces/nephews are mentioned in a probate case), current residence (outside Wayne County), and even medical history.

This is another 4th great grand uncle, Elliott Gray, who followed his brother, Samuel, to Fort Detroit around 1812. Elliott was the administrator (executor) of his brother’s estate since Samuel never married or fathered any children.
Elliot Gray
We found Samuel’s probate case information. Now what?

To celebrate All Saints Day (& Day of the Dead AKA the unofficial holiday for genealogists) tomorrow,  we’ll learn how to locate the actual probate record.

Happy Hunting,
Deidre Erin

*****Update*****
A hand full of probate indexes & packets are missing along with any probate packet numbered higher than 16980 (1891).

The probate indexes missing:
Packet index 1797-1901 – Cro – Cru
Packet index 1797-1901 – Lom – Millard, J
Packet index 1797-1901 – Williams, U – Z

The full Wayne County index and probate records up to 1901 are on microfilm at the Archives of Michigan in Lansing, MI.

Family History Month – DSGR’s November Member Meeting

Hidden or Rarely Used Genealogy Resources
November 8th at 10:30 AM
Explorer’s Conference Room
Detroit Public Library, 5201 Woodward Ave., Detroit, Michigan

Diane V. Gagel, professional genealogist and author, and Fellow of the Ohio Genealogical Society, will cover unusual sources in government offices, libraries, and historical societies often overlooked by genealogists.

Note: Free fenced-in parking is available for all Saturday Library events on the south (Putnam Street) side of the Library.
dsgr

Family History Month – Home of the Friendless Shelter

538275_10102202629669304_1404232497_nThe Home for the Friendless dates back to May of 1860 when the Ladies’ Christian Union was organized. It took in homeless women and children and “stray old ladies”. Some of the children that were there were the children of inmates in jail or in the Detroit House of Correction. In 1866, the home took in as boarders the children of widows and persons in service.

DSGR has a publication on the Home and a number of the residents that passed through: Record of the Juvenile Inmates of the Home for the Friendless, Detroit, Wayne Co., MI 1862-1868. This book lists the admissions and departures of the children housed there. Soft bound, 99 pages, indexed, published in 1995. Patricia Ibbotson; Indexed by James N. Jackson.