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Genealogical Society of Monroe County, MI
The Genealogical Society of Monroe County, Michigan
 
Our society was formed in 1977 and in 2012 we launched our new website.
 
Be sure to look around- check out the menu items on the left for many links to local and regional genealogical research sites.  All links found here are for free sites to assist you in your genealogical research.  
 
 
The links for mainly Monroe County items can be found under Monroe Research. Links to many Monroe County (and surrounding area) research sites plus files containing information about Monroe County residents can be found here.
 
Under Links, you will find (sorted by category) websites that contain great genealogical information for areas outside of Monroe County.  Filter by type to speed up your perusal.   
 
 
The Calendar lists our upcoming meetings and events, incuding our Annual Spring Seminar which will be held on Saturday, March 19th.  Cost is $25.  Click on the Seminar menu item for details and to download the registration form.
 
All of the books and research materials housed in GSMC's archives are listed under GSMC Library.  Search by author or title to see if we have a book that will help you with your research.  Our archives are open every Wednesday from 10-5 and copies are only 10 cents!  Other times to research can be arranged with our archivist.
 
Members of our society enjoy access to many other perks (once logged in), including, but not limited to: 
There are several indexes available on our site- no log in necessary!  Check out the Betty Gay Collection.  There is a description of this awesome index under the menu item on the left.  Martha Churchill, a Milan area researcher, generously donated some of her research material to us and that can be found right under the Betty Gay Index item, so if you have ancestors in the Milan area, be sure to check out Martha's information.
 
Check out some of the Projects we are currently working on.  The county will be celebrating its bicentennial next year so we are planning a special publication.  If you have suggestions for other projects to help commemorate our bicentennial (and GSMC's 40th anniverary) let us know!
 
The Miscellaneous Newspaper Items is just what it says... miscellaneous interesting tidbits from the Monroe newspapers that caught our eye.  Some are humorous, others are just strange.  
 
To view the items under Members (and Cemetery Records), you must be a member and log in.  Membership is only $15/year and allows you access to all of our newsletters and databases.
 
Happy Researching!

Genealogical Society of Monroe County

 In the distant past, prehistoric Monroe County was the realm of small groups of wandering hunter-gatherers who made good use of the varied resources found in the marshes, prairies, and woodlands of the area. Culture and technology changed gradually over time until the French arrived in the 17th century, introducing the Native Americans to a host of  European goods and ideas.  Over the course of the 18th century, the River Raisin country passed from French to British and finally to American rule.
   Francois Navarre is credited with sparking the surge of migration into the newly formed District of Erie from the Detroit River region in the 1780's.  The incoming settlers often negotiated directly with the resident Potawatomies, Odawas, and Wyandots for the possession of the long, narrow ribbon farms that stretched outward from the banks of the River Raisin and other local streams.
   Along with the French-Canadians came a mixture of old-time English, Scots, and Irishmen, plus some Yankees and Germans who presaged the massive immigration that would occur after the opening of the Erie Canal in the 1820's through the 1840's.
   In 1817, Monroe was established as a county in honor of President James Monroe.  Although Michigan was then just a territory, it was well on its way to becoming a state.  Statehood was finally granted in 1837, but not before Monroe's southernmost township was ceded to Ohio as a result of the "Toledo War."
   That conflict was relatively bloodless, unlike many of the wars that preceded or followed.  During the War of 1812, French Town became the scene of the disastrous Battle of the River Raisin.  On January 22, 1813, an American army under the command of General James Winchester was entirely destroyed by a combined force of British, Indians, and Canadians.  The settlement was almost destroyed as well, resulting in years of near-starvation and rebuilding.
   Fortunately, other wars were not fought in our backyards.  A large number of Monroe men served in the Civil War, with Norman J. Hall and George Armstrong Custer being among the most exceptional.  General Custer, of course, gained further fame by his extraordinary death at the Battle of the Little Big Horn in 1876.
   As the 19th century turned into the 20th, Monroe County was still mainly agricultural, with pleasant hunting, fishing, and recreational resorts along the Lake Erie shores, and with a reputation for sponsoring public
muskrat dinners.  The establishment of large paper manufacturing complexes, however, set the trend towards industrialization which brought more immigrants, particularly from the southern states and from Europe.
   Today, Monroe County still sits happily on the shore of our big lake, celebrating our heritage, while looking forward and dreaming of the future.      
 
by Ralph Naveaux