Ingham County Genealogical Society

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February 7, 2021 By: Audrey Martini
May 2021 Update from MGC
Below is a follow up email that MGC President Brenda Leyndyke, President of MGC shared with societies because there is some information she thought we would like to know.
  1. Kris Rzepczynski, Archivist, sent an email report saying that the Barbara J. Brown Family History Seminar information and registration is available at the Archives web page and Early bird pricing of $35 ends May 31st. Regular pricing of $45 will be available after that. Judy Russell, the Legal Genealogist, will be giving three talks at the Seminar. In my opinion Judy Russell is one of the must hear genealogical speakers. You won’t want to miss this seminar.
  2. Tim Gleisner from the Library of Michigan gave an update that included new databases that Michigan library card holders can access from home. If you don’t have a library of Michigan library card, you can get one for free at the Library of Michigan website. The new databases are 1873-1997 Detroit News and a Genealogy Bank product, Heritage Hub which is a collection of obituaries from Genealogy Bank.  Currently, some people are getting a message that says you must be a state employee to access the records. The library is aware of this and working on fixing it.
  3. Our speaker was Jo Ellyn Clarey of the Greater Grand Rapids Women’s History Council. Jo Ellyn talked about a little-known genealogical gem, The WWI Registration Cards of American Women. 17,000 local committees aided the Woman’s Committee of the Council of National Defense and enabled home front projects. The Women’s Committee took a census of American women. How do I find these, you ask? Many are still hidden in the attics, files, and basements of local or township record holders, but Grand Rapids collection is in a fully searchable database at 
  4. Another Michigan collections include Genesee county held at the Archives of Michigan and a small group from Midland, MI which have been digitized and are at the website.  I challenged societies, gave them homework, to go back to their local area and find where the cards relating to their area are. Someone has them and hopefully they are being stored somewhere. Jo Ellyn said a good place to start is by doing newspaper research from April 1917 to November 1918. Search words to include are WWI women’s registration cards, Women’s Council of National Defense, and Women’s Defense cards. The cards in this collection are a gem. I hope you will keep digging to find these cards and if you find your area’s cards let MGC know at  We will let the Greater Grand Rapids Women’s History Council know. For more information about this project check our  If you would like a copy of Jo Ellyn’s syllabus from yesterday’s talk, please log in to the MGC website and you will find it under secure download, then handouts. Jo Ellyn gave her permission to share it with your society members.
Brenda Leyndyke, President
Michigan Genealogical Council Update.  I have delayed making this post hoping we had some word on the fate of our current website provider, EastNetSites (ENS).  As of a post this morning, an announcement of the sale of ENS is expected before the end of this month (February).  What to expect after the sale is the big unknown.  Eventually, I am sure it will mean an increase in the annual fee.  Hopefully, it will mean we keep al the features currently available plus upgrades and perhaps even additional options.  
At is January 28th Board meetings, members of the Board agreed that if something was not decided re: the sale/continuation of our webpage software by the end of February, the society will have to consider other software options.  Because of the sudden closure of the original ENS company, literally hundreds of societies across the U.S. and internationally have come together on a Facebook Group and hosted webinars to share information on possible software options, the pros and cons of each, and what has worked/not worked.  Many ENS clients have already moved to different platforms.  
Unless we find a volunteer with the technological knowledge to build a new ICGS website, moving is going to cost the Society dollars just to get the site up.  Costs could range from anywhere from $0 (all volunteer) to $2,000 (no volunteers).  hopefully, we will be able to move the data from our current website to the new one relatively easily.  However, ENS has not yet released our domain name or provided the file backups promised when they announced the close of the company effective June 30, 2021.
Membership.  Our current website automates a lot of the paperwork tasks for our membership secretary, but it cannot automate the personal contact and one-on-one emails that Alice Raatz has been doing to remind members that the 2021 dues are now past due and payable.  The fact that she is sitting in sunny Florida right now - instead of worrying about the conditions of Michigan's roads - has not slowed her down in the least.  Renewals have been challenging this year because COVID has kept us home instead of meeting in person.  A lot of our members are used to paying at a meeting and not renewing by mail.  Thank-you Alice!
Stockbridge Newspaper Files.  One of our members who is familiar with the work that went into digitizing the Ingham County News several years ago, brought to the attention of the Board, the fact that the Stockbridge Newspaper files were not organized on the thumb drive by date, but alphabetically.  All the April issues are listed followed by all the August issues, etc.  The Board would welcome a volunteer's offer to work with the files to fix this issue.  If anyone is interested, please let me know.
Upcoming Program Presentations.  We have a interesting and varied array of presenter topics lined up for the next four months.  Unless something changes quickly, all four meetings between now and June will be via ZOOM.  All are welcome and invited to attend these meetings and presentations.  Members will get the ZOOM link via email a couple of days before the meeting - others can contact me for the link and password.
  • February 11, 2021 - Walter Hawthorne III, one of the two principal investigators of the project will give a brief overview of the project, discuss the history of the Atlantic slave trade, and share information on how we as family researchers can contribute information discovered while researching wills, etc.and discovering our ancestors had slaves.
  • March 11, 2021 - Awaiting final confirmation before posting.  Check this website's Events Page or watch Facebook for information.
  • April 8, 2021 - Ms. Loretta S. Stanaway, President, Friends of Lansing's Historic Cemeteries will discuss her successful efforts in raising funds to create grave markers for 60 young boys who died as wards of the state at the Boys Vocational School.  A project that was instrumental in her receiving a 2020 Heritage Award from the Ingham County Historical Commission.
  • May 13, 2021 - Ingham County Register of Deeds, Derrick Quinney, and his Chief Deputy Register, Trisha Gerring, will discuss the family researcher's goldmine of information that can be found in the various records maintained by the Register of Deeds Office.
Stay safe.

November 14, 2020 By: Audrey Martini
November President's Update
Unfortunately, due to COVID, the December Holiday Potluck has been cancelled.  There will be no ICGS meeting in December.  We normally do not meet in January so the next membership meeting will be Thursday, February 11, 2021.  The Executive Board will meet in January, but not sure if that will be a ZOOM or an onsite meeting.
The move from the Mason Library building to the temporary storage trailer is underway.  The book cases were moved earlier this week.  The books are scheduled to arrive on Wednesday, November 18th.  The steps and ramp have been completed and the electrical service will be completed before the 18th.  Unpacking and re-shelving the collection will probably take through the end of 2020 given the holiday season.  Liability and Renters insurance have been secured. Hopefully, by the first of the year everything will be situated so research can be scheduled by appointment. 
We still have several books that have been culled (non- Ingham county, duplictes or out of date) from the collection, an overhead projector, and a small 2-drawer file cabinet for sale.  If interested the books are listed under Genealogy in the News.  In lieu of an asking price, we are suggesting a donation to the Society. 
ICGS members at the November ZOOM meeting elected the following officers for a two year term beginning January 1, 2021. 
          Vice President - Gary Wilkes
          Membership Secretary - Alice Raatz
          Director No. 2 - Jane Wallin
          Director No. 3 - Charles Hagler
The Librarian position is vacant.  If you are interested in that office, please let me know.  In the meantime, Charles has offered to assist with any research requests that might come in.  Thank-you Charles!
Alice Raatz has offered her resignation for her current position of Director No. 1.  With the new Membership Secretary position and her long held position as Historian, she felt the additional role of Director might better be served by someone else.  As per the Bylaws, I will be asking the Executive Board to approve the appointment of Beverley Bockes to fill the Director No. 1 vacancy.
At the November meeting members set the cost to purchase a thumb drive with the digitized Stockbridge Newspaper files at $25 to include shipping and handling.  We've already sold 4.  Information and ordering is available via this website under the ICGS Store button.
The additional database for our website is currently being "tested" and tweaked with a final roll-out date for Tuesday, November 17th.  For lack of a better description it has been dubbed the "Newspaper Clippings" database for now.  I will post information as soon as it goes live so all can take a look and hopefully volunteer to help add information. 
Volunteers have been steadily adding obituary information  from the ICGS collection's various scrapbooks to the "Area Deaths" database.  When copyright is not an issue, obituaries have also been added to the database file. The database allows up to three file attachments so multiple obituary notices can be attached.  Different obituaries often provide different information. These are obituaries of individuals born before Michigan started recording births and in many instances provide information on birth place (many of which are before they migrated to Michigan) as well as marriage date and place.  Unfortunately, a lot of the scrapbook clippings do not include source information. The interested researcher will have to search various local papers circa the date of death to locate source citations.
As the Board and Membership Secretary become more familiar with the capabilities of this website, more and more information will be generated and emailed to members automatically.  Your membeship renewal information is the next step in this process.  Bear with us as we work through the learning curve.  If we get it right, you should get an email and invoice. You will also be reminded each time you sign into the (members only section) website.  Eventually, the entire process can be taken care of on line with PayPal or something similiar. For this year, you will still need to write a check or pay in person.
Lastly, it is that time of year to renew your ICGS membership.  Your current membership expires December 31, 2020. Dues are still $15 single or $20 household.  Checks should be made out to ICGS and mailed to ICGS, ATTEN: Membership Secretary, P.O. Box 85, Mason, 48854. 
September 16, 2020 By: Audrey Martini
November President's Update
First, let me reassure all that neither I or any member of the Executive Board has any intention of putting family histories on the web.
Instead, we have been working with EasyNetSites, our webpage vendor, to develop an additional database for the ICGS webpage so we can index (by adding and sorting) Ingham County information from early newspaper sources.  The database will be similar to the current “Area Deaths Database” - - but will include information from marriage, birthday, anniversary, military, etc. announcements.  The 17,000 names currently in the 3x5 hardcopy index file will be part of this new database. 
ICGS has been on the waiting list since last winter for this custom webpage.  Work finally began about 2 weeks ago.  As soon as it has been piloted and tested, we will be asking for volunteers to help us get not only the 17,000 names from the index files, but information from numerous other collections of newspaper clippings (Mrs. Heminger’s work, several scrap books, etc.) added to the web page.
The above additions to the webpage will be over and above what volunteers have already clipped, indexed and included in the various books in the resource room’s collection.  The indexes to what volunteers have already clipped can be found under “Index Files” on the webpage at
September 7, 2020 By: Audrey Martini
September President's Update
September Membership Meeting.  The upcoming September 10th membership meeting can be accessed via the same url as previously - .  The meeting ID is 926 5987 4104.  If you would prefer to dial in from your phone, you can find your local number at or use the Chicago dial up (312-626-6799) - which, I am told, is pretty reliable.  
The September meeting presentation is a video from the DAR Library Genealogy Series: FamilySearch - Improving your Research with the Search Tab. The video is about 30 minutes long and done very professionally.  There will be time after the video to discuss what we saw and heard and share experiences of those you have discovered the Search Tab and use it regularly.  I discovered that all of New York's land records are on line and available through the Search Tab.  What a find that was.
Stockbridge Newspapers. The digitization of the Stockbridge Newspapers is complete.  The master microfilm and two thumb drives have been returned to ICGS.   All that remains to do is determine a cost for a copy of the digitized records.  With the Ingham County News, a single DVD could be purchased.  Since the Stockbridge files are on one thumb drive instead of multiple DVD's, those who wish to purchase a copy will have to purchase the entire file. 
Election Time.  It is time for elections again and I am asking if anyone is interested in being chair of the Nominations Committee.  So far anyone I've approached has declined.  This year there are four officer positions up for election.  They are:
  • 2 Director Positions
  • Librarian
  • Membership Secretary
The current office holders for the two Director positions and the Membership Secretary position are open.  The current office holders will not be running for re-election.  The term of office will be for two years.  Last year's Bylaws change provides for half the Board to be elected one year and the other half the next year so there is some continuity from one year to the next instead of the possibility of a entirely brand new Board.  If you are willing to serve as Nominations Committee Chair or run for one of the 4 positions available, please contact me either by email or phone (517-719-4737).
Newsletter Deadline.  Articles for the Sept/Oct ICGS Newsletter are due by 5pm Thursday, September 24, 2020.  
Resource Room Move.  An informal poll of members at the August 13th membership meeting indicated that they would prefer, if possible, to keep the ICGS Resource room's collection whole and not break it up by sending items to various other societies.  With that in mind, as I indicated in the August 23rd update to the Resource Room move, the ICGS Board did vote to move the ICGS collection to a temporary office trailer instead of breaking it up and asking other societies to keep parts of it until we found a permanent home. 
The option of storing the collection in a public storage facility was discussed.  Several things were taken into consideration including the cost of climate controlled storage, easy access to the various items in the collection, and the anticipated length of time before a new permanent home can be found and made ready for the collection. Members of the Board felt it might be as much as a year (minimum) before we could move to new permanent home - given the current Covid-19 situation and the economic impact it has had on any possible partner we might find who would be willing to share its space with ICGS.
Independently, Tammy and I both looked at possible climate controlled storage facilities.  We both felt that My Space Self Storage, 5814 S. Pennsylvania Ave best fit our needs in location and price.  The unit sizes were 3.5' x 3.5' or 12.25 sq ft of space ($35/ month); 5' x 10' or 50 sq ft of space ($60/month); and 7.5' x 10' or 75 sq ft of space ($88/month).  The current space in the one room originally designated for ICGS is 500 sq ft.  If we stored the collection in any of the My Space units we would need to stack boxes on top of boxes and move boxes should we need to access anything but the top row of stacked boxes.
A second option was to lease a mobile "office" trailer - similiar to those often seen at a major construction site. This is the option members of the Board approved for storage of the entire ICGS Resource Room collection.  The reasoning follows.
An 8' x 16' office trailer (sold as 8' x 20' because it includes the 4' tongue) would provide 128 square ft of space - but more importantly, it would provide 32' of wall space where ALL of the current ICGS bookcases could be placed and the collection, stored in those bookcases, would be acessible without having to move and search boxes to find an item.  The remaining floor space (approximately 7' x 14' would be open for a desk/tables to hold a computer/etc. and a member or researcher would be able to visit the "office" and conduct research as was possible at the CADL-Mason building - once the COVID-19 restrictions have been eased and ICGS deems it safe to allow visitors and researchers access.
A donor will donate the use of a mobile office trailer at no cost to the Society.  Another donor has offered to cover the first month of the cost of electricity, and I have offered a location where the office trailer can be parked - and will provide the electrical box necessary to providing electrical service to the "office" - both at no cost to the Society.  Toward this end, I have located a company who builds portable classrooms for schools around the country; the owner has agreed to build ICGS an  "office" trailer (brand new) designed for use as our library/resource room. (i.e. 32' of wall for our bookcases, a heating/AC in wall system for climate control, 7' ceilings, etc.). The anticipated delivery date is before the end of September.
I am sure the Board would consider any acceptable alternate location for parking/setting the "office" if one can be found before delivery of the new office is scheduled.  If you are aware of any such alternate location, please let either myself or another Board member know ASAP.  The location must have electrical service and assurances of keeping the ICGS collection safe and secure.  
Lastly, the new office will need steps or a ramp built in front of the door and skirting around the bottom to help keep the cost of heating down.  If any member has time, materials, and/or the skills (or dollars) to donate and help with these items, please let either myself or another Board member know ASAP.  The tentative move out date from the Mason building is early November - before the cold and snow arrive.  
August 23, 2020 By: Audrey Martini
UPDATE: Resource Room Move
Members of the ICGS Executive Board met at a special meeting this past Thursday, August 20, 2020 and voted to move the ICGS collection to a temporary office trailer similar to the one shown here.
The move will allow better access to the records and provide more space so we can keep the collection whole.   Also, since most of the furniture in the resource and newspaper rooms does not belong to ICGS (desk, tables, chairs) it is possible that what we do own will fit nicely in this temporary office space.
The actual physical move is tentatively scheduled for the first part of November.  At this point between CADL and donations of time and equipment by various ICGS members, there are no anticipated costs to ICGS other than the usual expenses incurred by the society (insurance) and a monthly electrical bill for lights/heating/AC in the office structure - which should be less than the cost of leasing a much smaller space at a public storage facility.
Unfortunately, because of COVID we will have the same challenges as a library when it comes to doing onsite work.  Individuals will not be able to visit and research at the location; getting as much of the information on line as possible is still a key factor in our continued existence and growth.  Volunteers are needed to make that happen.  The volunteering will have to take place off site – probably at the volunteer’s home –using a personal computer.  The winter months are a perfect time for this type of volunteer work.
Check the Volunteer Opportunities page on this website under the catelgory Getting ICGS Info online for information on how you can help get our information online.