Introducing Historic Michigan Law

My ancestor, Captain Dennis Henry McBride, commanded a ship that made hundreds of voyages from Milwaukee, Wisconsin, to Grand Haven, Michigan. It was fun to find an image of the port he so often visited. Like many locations in The Advancing Genealogist’s online law library, a personal research connection prompted me to add Michigan to the collection.

Grand Haven, Michigan, 1868

Grand Haven, Michigan, 1868. Courtesy of the Library of Congress, Geography and Map Division.

Statutory law and case law pages allow genealogists quick access to hundreds of digitized volumes of historic Michigan law.

The statutory law page includes territorial and state law links, and some topical compilations. Browse the territory’s earliest laws or check out current Michigan law with a few clicks. Topical compilations address similar laws in place at the time. The General School Laws of Michigan might be useful for those researching educators. Perhaps the 1871 publication, Laws of Michigan Concerning the Solemnization of Marriages and the Record and Return of Births, Marriages, and Deaths will answer a few questions. Law and Instructions for Taking the Census of the State of Michigan in the Year 1874 is sure to interest someone. Compilations on laws relating to farms, orchards, railroads, labor, and women focus research and act as guides to finding relevant laws in the session books.

The case law page links to case digests, case reporters, and compilations that discuss how case law treated similar topics, such as the 1890 volume Railroad Laws of Michigan and Digest of Decisions of the Supreme Court in Railway Cases to the 1st of December 1889. When using digests, check for a table of cases. You might find familiar names. A digest’s case information leads to the reporter that houses the case.

Have fun hunting for Michigan laws that were in place at a specific time, and in finding case law that will help to further develop a person’s story.

Happy hunting!

© 2021, Debbie Mieszala. All rights reserved.

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2 Responses to Introducing Historic Michigan Law

  1. As someone with generations of Michigan ancestors from before statehood to my parents, I can’t thank you enough for this, Debbie!

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