am fortunate to have easy access to the Burton Historical Collection at the Detroit Public Library, 5201 Woodward Avenue, Detroit, Michigan (313-481-1401). While the library emphasizes records on the history of Detroit and Michigan, there are countless resources on the Great Lakes region, New England, the South, the Mid-Atlantic states, as well as foreign countries. There are books, microfilm, maps, photographs, business records, scrapbooks, military records, manuscripts, census schedules, vital records, church records, family histories, newspapers and more. For a list of the many resources, see the PDF files located at the bottom of the page on this link: http://www.detroit.lib.mi.us/featuredcollection/burton-historical-collection
When you first enter the Burton collection you will see banks of card catalog drawers—just like in the old days. (You can, of course, search for items online.)
I stopped here to perform some surname searches. After jotting down my findings on a piece of paper, I entered the main room and asked a librarian for guidance. She needed to obtain a few of the items offsite.
In the meantime, I browsed the stacks. Some of the books I chose to review were:
- 7,000 Hudson-Mohawk Valley (NY) Vital Records: 1808-1850 by Fred Bowman and Thomas J. Lynch
- A Brashear(s) Family History, Descendants of Robert and Benois Brasseur by Charles Brashear
- History of the Town of Stonington, County of New London, Connecticut by Richard Anson Wheeler
- The Roster of Confederate Soldiers: 1861-1865 by Janet B. Hewett
- State of Vermont: Roster of Soldiers in the War of 1812-14 by Herbert T. Johnson
- Vital Records of Putney, Vermont to the Year 1900 by Ken Stevens
Some periodical articles I found of interest were:
- “Early Church Records in Madison County, New York” by Roberta Kincaid, Tree Talks, March 2006, Vol. 46, no. 1, p. 3.
- “Genealogical Research in Oneida County, New York” by Mary Anne Buteux, Tree Talks, March 2007, Vol. 47, No. 1, p. 3.
- “How to Write a Page Turning, But True, Family History” by Leslie Albrecht Huber, Crossroads, September 2010, Vol. 5, p. 10.
- “Mug Books: Boon or Bane?” by Joyce H. Cook, Tree Talks, March 2009, Vol. 49, No. 1, p. 3.
- “Seventh-Day Baptist Church of Brookfield,” Tree Talks, Sep 2009, Vol. 49, no. 3, p. 149. (Here I found a number of references to my Crandalls, Burdicks, Babcocks and Clarks.)
At my request, a librarian brought me a clipping file containing references to the surname “Scripture.” In the clipping file, I discovered a newspaper article about Dulcie Scripture, a former Detroit resident, who was Miss Illinois in 1969. In this article I learned, among other things, that she was the daughter of Rev. and Mrs. George Scripture of Hamilton, Ohio. (1) Because the Scripture surname is so unique, it is possible that Dulcie is a distant cousin.
A quick Google search turned up a picture of Dulcie. See http://missillinois.homestead.com/Formers.html.
Another Google search found an obituary for Rev. George Scripture who, apparently, was born in Chittenango, Madison County, New York, five miles from my home town. See http://www.redpathfruthfuneralhome.com/obits/obituary.php?id=372409
Another article from the clipping file was an obituary for Charles M. Scripture, a Detroit architect, who died in 1982. (2) This was filled with genealogical information and will be a great source for further research.
As you can see, The Burton Historical Collection does not just contain Michigan information.
If you don’t live near Detroit, you can still enjoy some of the benefits of the Burton via the Internet. For example, if you look at the right side of their Biography and Genealogy page (http://www.detroit.lib.mi.us/research-resources/databases/biography-and-genealogy), you will see a database search box. Click the drop down menu to Biography and Genealogy. Here you will find a Biography and Genealogy Master Index. Enter the surname you are searching. I used “Scripture” and received 8 hits. One of them was a citation to Who’s Who in America for William Ellis Scripture, my 1st cousin 4 X removed. Another database you can search from home is Heritage Quest Online (http://www.heritagequestonline.com/hqoweb/library/do/index). Here you can search census records, books, PERSI, Revolutionary War records, Freedman’s Bank and the U.S. Serial Set.
Brief, factual questions can be answered via the Ask-A-Librarian link: http://www.detroit.lib.mi.us/specialservice/ask-librarian
If you would like newspaper articles, see this link: http://www.detroit.lib.mi.us/specialservice/detroit-newspaper-search-0
As a courtesy, the Burton provides a list of researchers you can hire:
I can’t wait to go back and explore more of the Burton’s holdings.
Dover Publications, Inc., Mineola, New York, Electronic Clip Art, Early American Design Motifs, 2003.
Dover Publications, Inc., Mineola, New York, Electronic Clip Art, 1200 Ornamental Letters, 2007.
(1) "Miss Illinois Honored," Detroit News, Detroit, Michigan, September 8, 1969.
(2) “Charles M. Scripture,” Detroit News, Detroit, Michigan, August 17, 1982.