Thursday, February 26, 2015

Looking in Michigan Marriages


       My Great-Grandparents lived in Michigan, specifically the Hungarian neighborhood of Del Ray. They married in 1899. I have been looking for their marriage record since 1980. Over a cup of coffee and coffeecake one morning at her kitchen table, my Grandmother suddenly brought out a slip of paper from her dresser with the family dates on it that were copied from a book from my Great-Grandparent's house. It was not a family Bible like most Hungarians kept in their homes. It was either a lexicon, geography or encyclopedia, probably published in Hungary, as my Great-Grandfather was not Catholic. He supposedly eschewed all manners of institutionalized religions.

I have never seen the original data or the "book" so I was looking at secondary evidence, copied by my Grandmother. I did not weigh that date too heavily until I saw the same marriage date for them in his naturalization records. TIP : Naturalization records for immigrants MAY CONTAIN their marriage date and place.

With that marriage data in hand, letters flew back and fourth to many government levels of Michigan looking for a marriage registration with no results. Simultaneously, there were many years of letter-writing with various ecclesiastical locations trying to pinpoint their marriage record. They did not marry in Hungary either.

So imagine my delight when Ancestry released the Michigan marriage database ! See Michigan Marriage Records, 1867-1952
The original images are wonderfully preserved and detailed. They have couples' birthplaces, parents, occupations and the name of the pastor/minister who registered the marriage ( which one can cross index with city directories to locate the actual parish to receive more marriage data).
There is an index but with Eastern European searches, I heavily use the side panel BROWSE THIS COLLECTION.
1) Click a record type group ( Certificates or Registers)
2) Decide on a range of dates
3) Under the Description label, choose a location.
Happy Hunting !