The state of Michigan has made available online actual images of Michigan death certificates for the family history researcher. The site known as Seeking Michigan which is a take-off the state motto; “If you seek a pleasant peninsula, look about you.” SPECIAL NOTE: That site as of July 2012 appears not to be functioning. There remains the Michigan earlier years death index of 1867-1897. Hopefully the one covering 1897-1920 will soon be up and running. With Michigan’s long history and fairly large population over the years, there are many researchers with ancestral ties to this state.
The Seeking Michigan site has many section for research including much relating to Civil War documents and images from those from the state who served in that war. However, one of the most useful databases that the site offers are the images of death records from 1897 to 1920.
True, it only covers some 23 years, but that would cover any grandparents or great grandparents, etc. who died in Michigan during those years. This is the time frame for the Spanish Flu outbreak which killed thousands of citizens of Michigan between 1917 and 1919. That major disease primarily affected young adults, those in their late teens to late twenties. Going to the advance search box, if you are searching a less common surname, place that name and the field of ‘last name’ (death records). For more common names place the given names and select the field of ‘first name’ and in the next box place the surname. In a third box a death year or a father’s name can be placed to help narrow down the search. For each placed, make sure you have the field selected, such as ‘death year’ (death records).
Once you locate a possible ancestor click on the name to call up a scanned image of the original death certificate. Just like all registered death certificates of the period, the full name, their age, the residence, their birth date, occupation, their parents, the cause of death and the name of the informant are all provided. There can be a wealth of information on each certificate. Some of the information is transcribed below the image to help in reading it.
A copy of the image can be made printed or it can be emailed to your own address or someone else’s. The scanned image can be enlarged to view it clearer.
The online site has made it easier to have copies of the actual certificate for your files without writing away to the state capital.