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GENDIS - Genealogical Death Index System (Michigan)
Column published: 13 July 2006.
By: Shirley Gage Hodges   Biography & Archived Articles

If you have ancestors who lived in Michigan and who might have died during the period of 1867-1885 you are doing yourself a great disservice if you don't check this site out. The Michigan Department of Community Health (MDCH) provides information on 170,000 deaths that occurred in Michigan. GENDIS provides Internet access to information from archived death records for individuals who died during that period.

The GENDIS project is a wonderful example of how the genealogist can be of assistance to other agencies and groups. The data in this system was obtained from microfilmed death ledgers for Michigan. This information was transcribed by genealogists from Michigan's local genealogical societies.

Visit the GENDIS web page

If you do not find your ancestor's record there and you firmly believe that they died during that period you will have to check other sources. As with all types of databases and information there are sometimes omissions and errors, but it is an incredible tool for the genealogist with Michigan ancestors.

Suggested sources: Many of the genealogy societies have indexes that can be of help to you in searching for your ancestor. I am going to use as an example the Western Michigan Genealogical Society. Their Western Michigan Obituary Index has almost 600,000 entries. It is an index to the Death Notices and Obituaries published in the Grand Rapids Press and Herald from 1910 to today. By using this, I have been able to find the obituaries of many of my ancestors.

Check out the the Western Michigan Genealogical Society web site for a listing of their databases.

And, no, I am not a member currently, just a big fan of theirs and appreciate all of their good work.

Shirley Hodges

To read back issues of Shirley Hodges' articles, visit her biography & archived Articles

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