French-Canadian Genealogical Research
in Houghton County, Michigan
|Part I: Introduction and Historical Background|
|Part II: Houghton County Courthouse|
|Part III: Copper Country Historical Collections|
|Part IV: Roman Catholic Church Records and Cemeteries|
|Part V: Conclusion and Bibliography|
|Part VI: Addresses and Links|
I would like to acknowledge the assistance of several people in helping me with this article. Theresa Sanderson Spence, former University Archivist, Michigan Technological University, was very helpful in preparation of this article and has facilitated my own genealogical research over the years. The current archivist, Eric C. Nordberg, has continued this helpful tradition and has always warmly welcomed me to the archives. All the archives staff has consistently provided high quality assistance. Several local parish priest who answered my many questions about their records deserve my thanks. In particular, I want to remember the late Fr. Weber of St. Ignatius Loyola in Houghton who was always gracious in making the parish registers so accessible to me. I want to thank the clerks at the courthouse for their patience with me, especially Elizabeth M. Rompf, the retired Deputy Clerk. I have pestered these clerks almost every Summer since I was twelve years old. Clarence J. Monette and Dr. Charles K. Hyde were also kind enough to comment on an earlier draft of this paper. My mother and father, now both deceased, were helpful with background details and clues. Lastly, I want to thank my wife and daughters who allowed me to collect the information I needed for this paper on our Summer vacations. The material for this article is in great part based on my own research efforts in the Copper County. Any errors are of course mine.
I dedicate this article to my own Copper Country immigrant
French-Canadian and Acadian ancestors, Augustin Monette and Lucie Riel,
Joseph Prince and Angeline Allie, Henry Bourbonnais and Stéphonie Monette,
and Édouard Dulong and Elise Mercier. Thank you for coming to America.
Mill near Lake Linden,
Many family historians in Michigan are aware of the French-Canadian
settlements along the Detroit River. However, few of these researchers
realize that Houghton County has a large population of French-Canadian
descendants. Located on the Keweenaw Peninsula in the far north of Michigan,
Houghton County has a rich
history of French-Canadian communities. At the turn of the century Houghton
County ranked second only to Detroit and surrounding Wayne County in
the number of French-Canadian residents (4,426 vs. 3,114). [U.S. Census
Office, Department of Interior. Census Reports, Population, Twelfth
Census of the U.S. (Washington, D.C., 1901), Vol. I, Part I, Table
34, p. 760.]
Houghton is one of three counties comprising the Copper Country. The other two are Keweenaw to the north and Ontonagon to the south. Baraga County, to the southeast is also often considered part of the Copper Country. The region gained its name from the deposits of copper mined from 1844 to 1968. Although French Canadians also migrated to these neighboring Copper Country counties, most of them lived in Houghton County.
The French-Canadian communities in Houghton County were a thriving part of Franco-American culture in the Midwest. These communities never reached the same level of importance as other French-Canadian settlements in the Midwest, such as Kankakee, Illinois, or those in New England. [D. Aidan McQuillan, "French-Canadian Communities in the American Upper Midwest During the Nineteenth Century," Cahiers de Géographie du Québec 23:58 (April 1979): 53-72.] Nevertheless, they nourished French newspapers, French parishes and schools, French professionals, French businesses, and French mutual benefit societies. Houghton County made a real contribution to Franco-American culture and history.
Many French Canadians in Michigan trace descent from these nineteenth century settlers along the shores of Lake Superior. This series of five articles discusses French-Canadian genealogical research in Houghton County and pays particular attention to patterns of migration, the communities they lived in, and the identification of records and depositories. I also discuss briefly techniques for making the leap back to Québec to continue research. Lastly, I provide a bibliography of relevant publications.
Michigan has experienced two distinct waves of French-Canadian
migration. The first wave occurred before the American Revolution and
the second after the Civil War. In the first wave of migration Michigan
was under the control of the French during the seventeenth and eighteenth
centuries. Michilimackinac and Detroit were the centers of settlement.
Both communities were deeply involved in the fur trade and closely tied
to neighboring Indians through business and family relationships. After
1796 Michilimackinac gradually dwindled as the fur trade crumbled. The
French Canadians in Detroit also faced the death of the fur trade and
rapid urbanization. Many of them fled Yankee advancement in Detroit
for more rural communities on the Ontario side of the river or in Frenchtown
(Monroe), Michigan. Most French Canadians in the Detroit River area
claim descent from these early settlers.
Unlike the first wave of French Canadian immigrants, the second wave did not participate in the fur trade. Nor were they closely associated with the native tribes and even fewer in this wave intermarried with Indians. Most of them came to Michigan to work in the lumber trade or as surface workers in the copper or iron mines. The regions they moved to were Saginaw and Alpena in the lower peninsula and the western end of the upper peninsula. The largest numbers settling in Houghton County.
Although the Jesuits had a mission at Keweenaw Bay in the seventeenth century, and the French made several efforts to mine copper during their rule, the Copper Country had not been an area of settlement for colonial French Canadians as was the Detroit River region. Some adventurous French Canadians deserted the dying fur trade and moved into the Copper Country in the mid-1840's, as soon as the copper range was opened. However, most of them did not start to migrate to Houghton County until the end of the Civil War. The peak of French-Canadian immigration in the United States was between 1880 and 1890. Migration slowly tapered off and then dropped dramatically after the Great Depression of the 1930's. [Yolande Lavoie, L'Émigration des Québécois aux États-Unis de 1840 à 1930 (Québec: Éditeur officiel du Québec, 1981), p. 52.]
There were several factors behind this nineteenth century wave of immigration. The dismal agricultural situation was perhaps the single most important motivator. Agriculture in Québec was shifting from crops to dairy which required fewer laborers. Also, due to inefficient cultivation techniques employed during the colonial period, much of the land's productivity was inadequate. Moreover, there was a shortage of virgin land for new families to start on. As the amount of available land was decreasing, the population was increasing due to sustained high levels of fertility among the French Canadians. Lastly, Québec had little industrialization to support the growing number of surplus farm laborers. [Elliot Robert Barkan, "French Canadians," in The Harvard Encyclopedia of American Ethnic Groups, ed. Stephan Thernstrom (Cambridge, MA: Harvard Univ. Press, 1980), pp. 391-392. Fernand Ouellet, Economic and Social History of Québec, 1760-1850 (Ottawa: Institute of Canadian Studies, Carleton University, 1980), passim.]
While Québec industrialized at a painfully slow pace, across the border, in New England, there were abundant employment opportunities in the textile mills. Railroad lines connecting Québec and New England made emigration easy. However, the Catholic hierarchy in Québec and lay French-Canadian leaders tried to discourage migration to New England. They saw it as a hostile environment which was urban, industrial, and overwhelmingly Protestant. Instead, they encouraged migration to the American Midwest and Canadian West. Robert Painchaud, a scholar of French-Canadian western migration, noted:
Essentially, all shared in the belief that French Canadians belonged to an agricultural society, and that taking up homesteads in Western Canada was preferable to the corrupting influence of factory towns in New England. Furthermore, given their romantic attachment to the Northwest as the land first brought under European control by French Canadians during the French régime, they clung to the notion that French Canadians must remain strongly attached to and present in that part of the continent. [Robert Painchaud, "French-Canadian Historiography and Franco-Catholic Settlement in Western Canada, 1870-1915," Canadian Historical Review 59:4 (December 1978): 447-466, p.455.]
Although he was speaking in particular about the Canadian
West, Painchaud's comments also hold true for the American Midwest.
The belief among French-Canadian intellectuals was that their emigrants
should move into the old areas developed by the fur trade and work in
lumbering and farming. They would then be more likely to maintain their
language, culture, and religion. It is ironic that now, a hundred years
later, the French-Canadian communities in heathen New England have done
a far better job of preserving their language and culture then those
in the Midwest.
The lure of jobs associated with the copper mines attracted many French Canadians to Houghton County. Few of them ever worked inside the mines, rather they found jobs as railroaders, mine surface workers, carpenters, lumberjacks, teamsters, or worked in the stamp mill or smelters processing the copper ore. [Donald Chaput, The Cliff: America's First Great Copper Mine (Kalamazoo, MI: Sequoia Press, 1971), p. 97.]
|Acadians and Métis
In your Copper Country research you might find Acadian or Métis ancestors mixed in with your French-Canadian ancestors.
Acadians are descendants of the original French settlers of the Canadian Maritime provinces (Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, and Prince Edward Island). The British brutally exiled them in 1755. Eventually, many of them returned to the Maritimes, settled in Québec, or moved to Louisiana where they are known as Cajuns. Some Acadian families from Québec moved to Michigan's Copper Country.
Métis means of mixed ancestry, in this case mixed French and Indian ancestry. You might find some of your ancestors were Métis. However, given the prevalent racism in the nineteenth century, many of these people would only identify themselves as being French Canadian.
The water transportation system of the Great Lakes made it easy for French Canadians to migrate to Houghton County. Many of the first immigrants arrived via steamships that passed through the St. Mary's Falls Ship Canal at Sault Ste. Marie. In 1883 railroad service connected Houghton County with the east. This simplified migration and even made trips home to visit family and friends possible. A 1909 advertisement for the Copper Range Railroad proclaims that passengers can make the pilgrimage from Houghton to Ste. Anne-de-Beaupré via Chicago and the Grand Trunk Railway for only $27.50. [C. Warren Van der Hill, Settling the Great Lakes Frontier: Immigration to Michigan, 1837-1924 (Lansing: Michigan Historical Commission, 1970), p. 11.] The Minneapolis, St. Paul, & Sault Ste. Marie as well as the Duluth, South Shore, & Atlantic railways both offered service from the Copper Country to Québec and the Maritimes. [A. Bourbonnière. Les Guide Français des États Unis (3rd ed., Lowell, MA: La Société de Publications Françaises des États-Unis, 1891), p. 8.]
The French-Canadian pattern of migration was unlike the
typical Irish serial model which many other immigrant groups followed.
The Irish immigrant to America was usually a single male. The arriving
immigrant would work to send money home to bring over siblings, parents,
children, and spouses. For French Canadians immigration was more of
an immediate family affair. [Jay P. Dolan, The American Catholic
Experience: A History from Colonial Times to the Present (Garden
City, NY: Doubleday & Co., 1985), pp. 133-134 and 153-154.]
Although some of the French Canadians undoubtedly sent money home to
bring over other relatives, the typical pattern was to arrive in America
as an intact family unit of father, mother, and children. Consequently,
the French Canadians had fewer difficulties with unattached single men
living in a frontier mining community. They were more concerned with
how to feed their large families.
As with the rest of the United States, migration from Québec slowly dwindled and eventually stopped. Several factors affected the pattern of migration including bitterness over the 1913 strike, growing industrialization in Québec, and declining mine productivity and job opportunities in the Copper Country. Nevertheless, this wave of Québec immigrants from 1860 to 1920 left behind several thriving French-Canadian communities in Houghton County.
Until recently, no serious scholars have studied French-Canadian
immigrants in Houghton County. However, Jean Lamarre of Montréal did
his doctoral research comparing French-Canadian immigrants in Houghton
County to those who settled in the Saginaw River valley. [Jean Lamarre,
"La Migration des canadiens français ver le Michigan, 1840-1914:
Leur contribution au développement socio-économique de la région"
(Ph.D. dissertation, Université de Montréal, 1996).] His work has now been translated into English and published [Jean Lamarre, The French Canadians of Michigan: Their Contribution to the Development of the Saginaw Valley and the Keweenaw Peninsula, 1840-1914 (Detroit: Wayne State University Press, 2003)]. This is the
only rigorous study to date of our people in Houghton County.
The following table lists the French-Canadian communities in Houghton County, the townships they are located within, and the local Catholic parishes they used:
|Beacon Hill||Stanton||Holy Trinity|
|Dollar Bay||Osceola||St. Francis of Assisi|
|Frenchtown||Franklin||Our Lady of Mount Carmel|
|Houghton||Portage||St. Ignatius Loyola|
|Hubbell||Torch Lake||St. Cecilia|
|Lake Linden||Schoolcraft||St. Joseph|
|Redridge||Stanton||St. Ann ?|
The French Canadians mostly settled in Lake Linden, Hubbell, Dollar Bay, and Chassell. Many also lived in Calumet, Laurium, Hancock, and Houghton where they were surrounded by other ethnic groups. A few also lived in the hamlets of Frenchtown, Hurontown, Mason, Osceola, and Tamarack Mills. Some could be found in the boom towns of Beacon Hill, Edgemere, Freda, and Redridge. All of these settlements were near important surface mining facilities or lumbering operations.
Although the French Canadians might be the majority in
any particular village or neighborhood, they lived in a region with
a tumultuous mixture of ethnic groups including Cornish, Irish, Germans,
Poles, Finns, Italians, Croats, Slavs, Greeks, Arabs, Blacks, and even
Chinese. The only real minority group in Houghton County were Yankees.
French Canadians in New England also lived in heterogeneous communities,
but these cousins were surrounded by constant reminders that they had
settled in the homeland of the Puritan Yankees. French Canadians in
Houghton County lived in a complex ethnic environment, but in a
rural setting and not crowded urban areas like in New England.
Lake Linden became the center of French-Canadian culture in the Copper County due in great part to one man, Joseph Grégoire. Grégoire was born in 1833 at St. Valentine, Québec. He came to the Copper Country in the mid-1850's and moved to Houghton in 1859. In 1867 he established on the shores of Torch Lake the hamlet of Gregoryville, a "suburb" of the village of Lake Linden. From this location he operated a saw mill which made lumber, doors, sashes, and blinds. He was the premier French-Canadian businessman in the region. According to a plaque at St. Joseph's church, he was known as the "Father of the French Canadians of Lake Superior." He earned this title because he offered jobs to immigrants from Québec. Many French Canadians in the Copper Country had their first employment working for Grégoire. Eventually, many of them moved on to working surface jobs at the mining companies. Grégoire never married and died childless in 1895. He was buried in Mount Calvary Cemetery outside of Lake Linden. [Clarence J. Monette, Gregoryville: The History of a Hamlet Located Across from Lake Linden, Michigan (Lake Linden, MI: Privately Printed, 1974).]
"Father of the
Lake Linden was also important because it was the home
of three French-Canadian newspapers: Le Franc-Pionnier: Organe de
la Population Française du Lac Superieur, L'Union Franco-Américaine,
and Le Courier du Michigan. Although the first two papers lasted
only a brief time, the Courier du Michigan was published in Lake Linden
from 1912 to 1919 when it moved to Detroit where it was published until
1959. [George J. Joyaux, "French Press in Michigan: A Bibliography,"
Michigan History 36:3 (September 1952): 260-278, and "French
Press in Michigan," Michigan History 37:2 (June 1953):
155-165. Van der Hill, Settling the Great Lakes, op. cit.,
This key village was also the site of several French-Canadian businesses and professionals. Moreover, its local French-Canadian parish, St. Joseph's, was active in preserving the culture and language of its parishioners. The parish established St. Anne's Academy in 1886 and its teaching nuns were either from Québec or of French-Canadian ancestry. [St. Joseph Church, Lake Linden, Michigan, 1871-1971 (Lake Linden, MI: Privately printed centennial history, 1971), p. 29.] The village was also the site of active French-Canadian mutual benefit societies, such as, La Société St. Jean-Baptiste and L'Association Canado-Américaine.
Although the local inhabitants called Lake Linden "Little Canada" or "Frenchtown," French Canadians were found in large numbers in other Houghton County hamlets as well. [Clarence J. Monette, The History of Lake Linden, Michigan (Lake Linden, MI: Privately Printed, 1975), p. 2.] They dominated Hubbell, the Torch Lake neighbor of Lake Linden, where they worked in the stamp mills. Dollar Bay and Chassell, both on Portage Lake, had substantial French-Canadian populations. Houghton, the county seat, had many French Canadians, as did its sister village of Hancock. However, the French Canadians in Houghton and Hancock were never in control of local parish affairs. Lastly, the French Canadians in Calumet had their own parish, but then so did several other ethnic groups.
Calumet was not only ethnically diverse it was also, strictly speaking, not one village but a confusing combination of mining hamlets including: Red Jacket, Yellow Jacket, Blue Jacket, Hecla, Calumet, Raymbaultown, Osceola, Albion, Tamarack, and Centennial Heights. Adjacent to Calumet you will find the independent town of Laurium.
In its heyday, the Calumet area was the home of the mighty
Calumet and Hecla Mining Company, known as the C&H, and the center
of the world's copper mining. Many French Canadians worked in the stamp
mills, smelters, and surface buildings of C&H,the smaller Quincy
Mining Company located near Hancock or the Copper Range Consolidated
Company situated on the South Range below Houghton. C&H and
Quincy (as well as smaller companies such as Ahmeek, Tamarack, and Osceola)
operated stamp mills along Torch Lake which employed many French Canadians.
These mills crushed the rock and separated the copper from it.
With the reduction in migration from Canada, the influence of French Canadians in their communities gradually declined. Today masses are no longer in French, many of the Catholic schools are closed, St. Anne's parish in Calumet closed several decades ago, there are no French newspapers published anywhere in Michigan, and the mutual benefit societies no longer meet. French is more likely heard in the nursing homes rather than on the street. These communities are now very American with only curious residuals of their past, such as the words "Eglise Saint-Joseph" carved in the Jacobsville sandstone over the doorway of the church or French tombstones in the cemetery.
The copper mines brought French Canadians to Houghton County, when the mines were no longer productive the French Canadians started to leave the area. Besides the falling price of copper, competition from cheaper Western mines, and depleted copper reserves, the tragic 1913 strike also influenced the decision of many Houghton County residents to leave. French Canadians and their children began to migrate from Houghton County to seek better jobs in the industrial areas of Michigan's lower peninsula and in neighboring states. The closing of C&H in 1968 was the end of the copper mining era. By that time many of Houghton County's residents had already moved to Detroit to work in the automobile industry. Descendants of nineteenth century Copper Country French Canadians now live in the same Detroit River area pioneered by eighteenth century French Canadians.
Many valuable records exist which will help family historians
trace their lines through Houghton County and back to Québec. The following
articles in this series will discuss the available records. Among these
records are: county and township vital records, naturalization records,
wills and probate records, land records, newspapers and obituaries,
city directories, mining company records, cemetery records, parish registers,
and lastly, state and federal censuses. Most of these sources have survived
rather well despite the ravages of time and neglect. Moreover, they
are accessible at several locations, including: Houghton County Courthouse,
Michigan Technological University, the Library of Michigan, the State
of Michigan Archives, local Catholic parishes, Houghton County cemeteries,
and the branch Family History Centers and the Family History Library
of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (the Mormons). The
Burton Historical Collection of the Detroit Public Library, the Grand
Rapids Public Library, and the Allen County Public Library in Fort Wayne,
Indiana, are also important research sites. I shall deal with the record
depositories in Houghton County and will only make passing mention of
the other locations.
A warning is in order at this point. Although much research can be done through correspondence or at your local Family History Center, you might still wish to visit the Copper Country to extend your investigation. You should plan your research trip to Houghton County carefully. Always call ahead to make sure that the office, library, or church you want to visit will be open and the records are accessible. It is a beautiful but long trip to the Copper Country. Do not spoil it when you find out that you can not use a facility because it is closed for spring break, for repairs, or because of rule changes.
The next article in this series discusses the records available in the Houghton County courthouse. For the French-Canadian family historian this is a treasure house of vital records and should be visited first.
Courthouse, still looks
The county courthouse is located at 401 E. Houghton, Houghton,
MI 49931. The phone number is (906) 482-1150. The building is an impressive
Victorian structure on top of a steep hill overlooking Portage Lake.
It was built between 1886 and 1887. There is parking available in the
front. Hours are Monday through Friday from 8:00am to 4:30pm. The County
Clerk's Office prefers researchers to come Tuesday through Thursday.
Written requests for birth, marriage, divorce, and death records are
charged a basic $5.00 fee for a three year search and a $1.00 for each
additional year. A certified copy is sent if a record is found and the
fee is kept regardless of the success of the search.
Houghton County was created in 1845 and organized in 1846. The village of Houghton became the county seat in 1852. Both the county and the village were named for Dr. Douglas Houghton. He was the State Geologist of Michigan whose explorations prompted the mining of copper in the region. The county was formed from Marquette and Ontonagon Counties. Keweenaw County was drawn from Houghton County in 1861 and Baraga County was separated from it in 1875. [Carol McGinnis, Michigan Genealogy: Sources & Resources (Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Co., Inc., 1987), pp. 7, 16, & 13-14.] The county now consists of fourteen townships and five incorporated villages.
The County Clerk's Office holds most of the records of interest for family historians. This office is on the first floor of the east wing. You should call ahead for an appointment, otherwise, it is on a first-come-first-serve basis. Like any archives, you should only use a pencil while working in the courthouse. Due to limited staff and space the courthouse has established the following rules: (1) only one person at a time will be permitted to search records; (2) only one book at a time may be used; (3) extreme care must be used at all time because the books are fragile; (4) office employees must be given books when requested; (5) books must be returned to the County Clerk's Office no later than 4:20pm; and (6) no smoking, eating, or drinking while using records. Lastly, posted on brass plaques throughout the building is the following admonition:
ON WALLS OR WOODWORK
The Clerk's Office has a well-preserved set of vital records
for the County. These include births, delayed registration of births,
marriages, divorces, and deaths. The indexes available for these records
are not strictly in alphabetical order. They are organized by the first
letter of the surname and then by the first following vowel.
For example, Prince is listed under PI. Within each grouping the names
Birth: The birth records are closed to the public. To get information from the birth records you must prove that you are an heir and pay a $5.00 fee for a three year search. The staff must do the searching for you. Many of these records are also available through the Mormon Family History Center. The birth records run from 1867 to the present, however, the index does not begin until 1893. The Mormons have microfilmed the birth records and index from their respective beginnings up to 1910. Delayed birth records also exist from 1931 to the present. These records deal with births that took place in the mid-1800's to the early 1900's but which were registered well after the births took place. The Mormons have also microfilmed these delayed birth records and an index that covers those registered from 1931 to 1976.
Marriage and Divorce: The marriage records range from 1848 to the present. Indexes are available for these records. Unfortunately, the early records do not record the name of the parents and many are less than accurate about other details. The Mormons microfilmed the marriage records and indexes from 1848 to 1912. The divorce records start around 1848 and go to the present. They are no longer kept in the County Clerk's Office. These divorce records are now in the Circuit Court Clerk's Office. Divorce records are indexed with the other civil cases. The Mormons did not microfilm any of the divorce records.
Deaths: The death records range from 1867 to the present. However, the index does not start until 1911. Researchers can use the index, but the clerks are suppose to search the records. The Mormons only microfilmed the death records covering 1867 to 1910.
Naturalization: Intention and naturalization papers exist for the county from 1848 until the present. The papers contain very little information until 1906. Nevertheless, even the earlier papers have the date of the record and an ancestor's signature or mark. There are indexes for these records. There is also a separate index to naturalizations which occurred during local court proceedings. Be aware that few French Canadians bothered to become citizens. [Barkan, "French Canadians," op. cit., p. 397. Although many French Canadians never became American citizens, and a large number of them traveled back and forth between Québec and America, the repatriation movement never succeeded among the French Canadians, see Donald Chaput, "Some Repatriement Dilemmas," Canadian Historical Review 44:4 (December 1968): 400-412.]
Township Vital Records: Besides records that the state mandated be kept by the county, the courthouse also contains vital records which the townships generated. The townships use to maintain their own birth and death records and issue certificates. The state laws have changed and this no longer occurs. The township vital records for Duncan Township, Lake Linden Village, Osceola Township, and Franklin Township are now stored at the courthouse. They start in the early 1900's and go until at least the 1930's if not latter. Other township and village records might still exist and be at their local offices.
Wills and Probate Records: The Probate Court Office is now in the back remodeled section of the courthouse. The records of wills and probate proceedings start in 1872 and run to the present. According to the probate clerk, there is no index available until 1963. Individuals may not search through the records. To use them you must give the clerk the date of death and name of an ancestor. The clerk will then do the searching. The Mormons have microfilmed a "General Probate Index, 1872-1889" and a "Probate Calendar, 1881-1904." I am unsure as to what is contained on these microfilmed indexes.
Land Records: The Registrar's Office is across the hall from the County Clerk's Office. It contains records of deeds, mortgages, discharge of mortgages, land contracts, loans, financing statements, and bills of sale. You can view these records under supervision. The deeds start in 1848 and run to the present. A grantee and grantor (seller and buyer) index is available. There is also a book of Sheriff's deeds which includes property that was auctioned off after foreclosures due to defaulting on loans. The Mormons microfilmed the deed records from 1848 to 1886 and the index from to 1848 to 1931. The mortgages also start in 1848 and are indexed. The Mormons microfilmed the mortgages and index from 1848 to 1887. The Registrar's Office also contains maps to help you locate your ancestor's property. Do not be surprised if you fail to find any land records for your ancestor. Much of the housing in Houghton County was company housing provided by C&H, Quincy, the Copper Range, or one of the other mining companies. The houses were rented and not purchased.
Court Records: The courthouse also contains judicial offices and their records. I am not sure what records of genealogical value they possess. Nor am I aware of any rules concerning their accessibility. If you find your ancestor in any legal trouble, then you might want to contact the local court for information about their records. The courthouse also contains adoption records, but these are in general closed to the public for privacy reasons.
Summary: Besides these vital and property records the courthouse also has County Supervisors Proceedings since 1861 and Mine Inspector's Reports since 1889. The County Clerk's Office also has some military records relating to returning veterans from the Civil War to the present. These veterans records are indexed but closed to the public. Only the veteran or his heirs can have access to them.
Because so many of Houghton County's records have survived you can not ignore the courthouse in your research. A visit to the courthouse first will usually give you a wealth of facts and clues you can follow-up on at the other research sites.
As I was preparing this article for publication in 1990, I learned that many of the non-vital records at the courthouse would be transferred over to the Copper Country Historical Collections. For example, the court calendars and indexes from 1853 to 1949, circuit court case files from 1863 to 1949, and other miscellaneous local government documents from the mid-nineteenth century to the mid-twentieth centuries were all slated to be moved. If you can not find what you seek at the courthouse, then make sure you check to see if the papers have been moved to the Copper Country Historical Collections. Despite this move of records, the courthouse remains an important research site as long as it continues to hold the birth, marriage, divorce, death, probate, and land records.
The next article in this series discusses the Copper Country Historical Collections located at Michigan Technological University.
Osceola Mining Company
Stamp Mill on Torch Lake,
The courthouse covered in the last part of this series is an excellent record depository, but it was not established for researchers. In contrast, the Michigan Technological University Archives and Copper Country Historical Collection, otherwise known as the Copper Country Historical Collections, is devoted to historical researchers. It is located on the third floor of the Michigan Technological University's J. Robert Van Pelt Library, Houghton, MI 49931. The Archives' web site is located at http://www.lib.mtu.edu/mtuarchives/guide.aspx. The phone number is (906) 487-2505. Its hours are 8:00am to 5:00pm Monday through Friday during the regular school year and from 7:30am to 4:15pm during the Summer. It is closed during the Christmas holiday season and other University holidays. You are advised to call and verify hours of operation before your visit.
This facility is well-equipped with nearby machines for
making photocopies and microform copies. The stacks are closed and you
have to rely on the staff to retrieve the items you seek. There are
several finding aids for the manuscript collections in black binders
at the counter. There is also a card catalog for the published collection.
A few of the books are on shelves in the reading room, but most of the
collection is in closed stacks. The card catalogue for the whole library,
including the archives, is also available through computers on the first
floor. The web address is http://catalog.lib.mtu.edu/cgi-bin/Pwebrecon.cgi?DB=local&PAGE=First.
The Copper Country Historical Collections contains a wide variety of sources which will interest a family historian. It has several valuable collections dealing with Isle Royale, photographs of the region and its people, papers dealing with Michigan Technological University, a special collection on Copper Country railroads, and annual reports of the copper mining companies. It also has thousands of cubic feet of records and maps from C&H, the Quincy Mining Company, and the Copper Range Company. Furthermore, the collection deals with all three Copper Country counties (Houghton, Keweenaw, and Ontonagon), as well as many other areas in the western upper peninsula district.
Another important Upper Peninsula photographic collection is in the hands of Jack Deo, Superior View, 137 1/2 W. Washington, Marquette, MI 49855 (906) 225-1952. He is a professional photographer who specializes in Copper Country history. Unless your French-Canadian kin were famous, it is unlikely that he will have a picture of your ancestors. However, he will have pictures of the community they lived in, the mills they worked at, and meetings or parades of the organizations they belonged too.
For family historians the most valuable parts of the collection
are the microfilmed newspapers and censuses, the city directories, the
maps, the papers of the mining companies, the county records on deposit,
and an extensive clippings file. The Copper Country Historical Collections
also contains many of the local community and parish histories mentioned
in the bibliography to be printed at the end of this series.
Newspapers: Fortunately for family historians the Copper Country had a wide variety of newspapers. Moreover, the editors of these papers frequently published detailed obituaries, even for people with humble backgrounds. There are no surname indexes for any of these papers.
The following table lists the Houghton County newspapers available on microfilm in the Copper Country Historical Collections. [Bennet Kilpel, "Copper Country Newspapers: A History," Copper Country Anthem 4:4 (Fall 1979): 27-31. Michigan Newspapers on Microfilm (Lansing: Library of Michigan, 1986). Also see the "Newspaper" folder in the Copper Country Vertical File, Copper Country Historical Collections.] The holding column indicates when and where the newspapers were published. The date ranges show the beginning and ending dates of the microfilm. In all most every case there are gaps in between these dates. In fact, only a handful of issues have survived from the French-Canadian L'Union Franco-Américaine and Le Courier du Michigan. None of the issues of Le Franc-Pionnier: Organe de la Population Française du Lac Superieur, are still in existence.
Houghton County Newspapers
|Calumet and Red Jacket News||22 February 1889 to 5 February 1892, weekly, Calumet.|
||23 October 1907 to 25 June 1938, daily, Calumet. Continuation of the Copper Country Evening News. It became the Evening News Journal.|
|Copper Country Evening News||Established 1892, 4 January 1896 to 22 October 1907, daily, Calumet. It was continued by the Calumet News.|
|Copper Country News||3 September 1959 to 24 September 1964.|
|Copper Country Review||December 1965 to May 1966.|
|Copper Island Sentinel||4 April 1978 to August 1986, weekly, Calumet.|
|Copper Miner's Journal||September 1981 to December 1982.|
|Le Courier du Michigan
||Established 1912, December 1916 to 16 May 1956, monthly, Lake Linden. It was published in Lake Linden until 1920 when it was moved to Detroit. It ceased publication in 1957. Only a handful of scattered issues have survived to be microfilmed.|
|Daily Mining Gazette
||2 October 1899 to 31 December 1986, daily, Houghton. Still in publication and the Copper Country's leading newspaper. The original Houghton newspaper was called the Mining Gazette, it became the Portage Lake Mining Gazette in 1859. This eventually became the Daily Mining Gazette in 1899. It merged with the Calumet Evening News Journal in 1943 and retained its title.|
||6 June 1904 to 14 May 1909, daily, Hancock. Formerly the Hancock Evening Journal and changed to the Hancock Evening Copper Journal.|
|Evening News Journal||27 June 1938 to 1 May 1943, daily, Calumet. Continuation of the Calumet News.|
|Hancock Evening Copper Journal||Established 1909, 30 August 1909 to 6 June 1938, weekly, Hancock. Title changed from the Hancock Evening Journal.|
|Hancock Evening Journal
||Founded 1884, 2 July 1901 to 4 June 1904, daily, Hancock. Title changed to the Evening Journal.|
|Hancock Mining Herald||11 February 1885 to 24 February 1886, Hancock.|
|Michigan Copper Journal
||12 May 1891 to 29 July 1893, Hancock. Previously known as the Hancock Mining Herald. It became the Semi-Weekly Copper Journal.|
||From 14 August 1913 to 14 August 1914, weekly publication of the Western Federation of Miners created during the 1913 strike.|
|Native Copper Times||28 February 1893 to 26 May 1971, weekly, Lake Linden. Title changed from Torch Lake Times. A great source for French-Canadian families living in Lake Linden and nearby Hubbell.|
|Portage Lake Herald
||Established 1884, 13 May 1884 to 28 January 1885, Hancock. It became the Hancock Mining Herald.|
|Portage Lake Mining Gazette||Started in 1859, 26 July 1862 to 28 October 1897, weekly, Houghton. It became the Daily Mining Gazette.|
|Semi-Weekly Copper Journal
||22 March 1893 to December 1893, Hancock. It eventually became the Hancock Evening Journal.|
|Sidnaw Journal||From 1898 to 1900, weekly, only 17 February 1889 was microfilmed, Sidnaw.|
|Sidnaw Record||16 December 1889 to 31 March 1900, Sidnaw.|
|Torch Lake Times
||Established 1882, 24 May 1887 to 21 February 1893, weekly, Lake Linden. Title changed to Native Copper Times. An excellent source for Lake Linden French Canadians.|
|Truth||From 27 November 1913 to 28 July 1917, the newspaper of the anti-union Citizen's Alliance and a by-product of the 1913 strike.|
||From 1889 to 1891, only the 24 June 1890 issue survived to be microfilmed, weekly, Lake Linden.|
||20 March 1908 to 19 June 1908, weekly, socialist newspaper.|
The Copper Country Historical Collections also has on microfilm newspapers for the surrounding counties (Baraga, Gogebic, Keweenaw, Marquette, and Ontonagon) and technical journals on copper mining. Many of these newspapers are also available on microfilm at the Library of Michigan in Lansing.
In my own research I have found the obituaries of my Houghton County ancestors in the various Copper Country papers invaluable. The obituaries often mention their birthplace, exact birth date, year of immigration, employers, cause of death, funeral arrangements, and surviving family members. For example, the Daily Mining Gazette, 7 March 1917, p. 2, had an obituary for my great-grandfather, Henry Bourbonnais. This obituary reports that he was born in Coteau-du-Lac, Québec, on 21 March 1838. It states that he arrived in the Copper Country by boat in 1859 and that he worked as a lumberjack for the Quincy Mining Company. He returned to Québec that same year and came back to Houghton in April 1861. He became a carpenter and worked mostly for the Huron and Isle Royal Mining Company. The obituary also gives the maiden name of his wife, Stéphanie Monette, and the date of their marriage 1 October 1864. This is a wealth of information.
The family of Henry
Once you find the obituary of an ancestor in a hometown
newspaper try to find other notices in neighboring newspapers. When
Henry Bourbonnais died in 1917, his obituary was published in the Houghton
Daily Mining Gazette, the Calumet News, and the Hancock
Evening Journal. Occasionally, a few days after an obituary appears
a short piece about the funeral was printed noting the names of relatives
and friends who attended the service. Like many other nineteenth century
newspapers the gossip column might mention that a resident has left
for a funeral or that relatives from out of town have arrived for a
Also, do not neglect marriage and anniversary coverage. For example, from the Daily Mining Gazette, 4 October 1914, p. 15, I learned that my grandmother attended the fiftieth wedding anniversary of her parents, Henry Bourbonnais and Stéphanie Monette. This article states that her father remembered trading with the Indians in the 1860's, carried mail on dog sleds in the winter, and assisting Fr. Jacker in his missionary work among the Indians.
The Daily Mining Gazette maintains a morgue for their back issues and those of its predecessor the Portage Lake Mining Gazette. The newspapers are in bond volumes and in mixed condition. Some of the newspapers fall apart as you turn the pages. Researchers may use this collection during regular business hours Monday through Friday 8:00am to 5:00pm and on Saturday from 8:00am to noon. The office is located at 206 Sheldon Ave., Houghton, MI 49931-0368 (906) 482-1500.
Not all surviving issues of the Daily Mining Gazette have been microfilmed!. For instance, I know that the issues covering the Spanish American War in 1898 are not on microfilm. These 1898 newspapers are in sad condition and should be microfilmed as soon as possible.
The Houghton County Historical Society in Lake Linden also have back issues of the Daily Mining Gazette.
Lastly, be aware that journalists are often in error.
The piece on my ancestor's wedding anniversary records my grandmother,
Julia Bourbonnais, as Mrs. William DuLong. However, she was married
to Meo DuLong. Despite these errors and the chance that not everyone
will be lucky enough to find an obituary, you would be foolish to ignore
newspapers as a source of data.
Census Records: The Copper Country Historical Collections has all the federal censuses for Houghton County from 1850 to 1920 except for the 1890 census. A fire destroyed most of the 1890 Federal census for all of the United States. However, fragments have survived. The Copper Country Historical Collections does have the special enumeration made of Civil War veterans and their widows. No soundexes or other indexes are available at the archives. The censuses on microfilm are convenient, but the lack of indexes makes them less accessible. These census and their soundexes are also available at the Grand Rapids Public Library, the Library of Michigan, the Burton Historical Collection, and the Allen County Public Library. Also, the archives has microfilmed copies of the state censuses. Only the 1864 and 1874 state censuses have survived for Houghton County. They are also available at the State of Michigan Archives and the Library of Michigan. Although all of these censuses are valuable genealogical tools, the 1900 federal census is especially worthwhile because it indicates when immigrants came to the United States.
Since I originally wrote this article several firms now sell federal and state census returns on CD-ROM. I purchased copies of the 1870 and 1900 Houghton County federal census from Heritage Quest at http://www.heritagequest.com/genealogy/CD-ROM/index.html. I am confident that census records on CD-ROM are now provided by other companies as well. You can also access the federal census through a subscription to Ancestry.com.
Directories: The R. L. Polk Company of
Detroit published several Houghton County directories of residents and
businesses. The Copper Country Historical Collections has copies of
these Polk directories for the entire county for the following years:
1895-1896, 1897-1898, 1899-1900, 1901-1902, 1903-1904, 1905-1906, 1907-1908,
1910, 1912, and 1916-1917. The Polk directories went from covering the
whole county to just the principal towns. As the towns became smaller
with the decline of copper mining, fewer of them were included until
the directories contained only Hancock, Houghton, and nearby Hurontown
and Ripley. The Copper Country Historical Collections has these partial
directories for the following years: 1930, 1939, 1947-1948, 1973, 1975,
1976-1977, 1979, 1980, 1983, and 1985. The archives also has copies
of the Michigan State Gazetteer and Business Directory for
the years: 1863-1864, 1917-1918, and 1927-1928. Lastly, there is also
a copy of A.H. Holland's Handbook and Guide to Hancock & Houghton,
Michigan, 1887-1888. Many of these directories are also available
at the Houghton County Museum in Lake Linden and at the Library of Michigan.
The Polk directories are useful tools to identify the residence of ancestors. You can then more easily locate them on land and census records. For ancestors involved in business, these directories provide some interesting insights, especially if your ancestor had an advertisement in the directory. Directories often provide a sketch of family connections by showing who else was living in the same household or nearby under the same surname. Lastly, the directories also list the leaders of the local mutual benefit societies, such as the Foresters and La Société St. Jean-Baptiste.
For French Canadians the Copper Country Historical Collections has an extremely valuable directory, a copy of the 1891 Le Guide Français des États-Unis, 3rd. edition. This is a business directory for all Franco-Americans and includes not only Michigan, but the rest of the Midwest and New England as well. If your French-Canadian ancestor was any kind of businessman or professional, then you will probably find him listed here. This directory is also valuable because it gives you an idea of the kinds of products and services your French-Canadian ancestors purchased. There are also several biographies included in this guide. Joseph Grégoire, the father of Houghton Country French Canadians, has a biography in the guide as well as an advertisement for his lumber mill on the spine.
In Copper Country vernacular, a location is an unincorporated neighborhood usually in the vicinity of a mine or mill. They were often short lived and frequently no longer appear on modern road maps. Some examples, would be Tamerack Mills location near Hubbell, the Florida location outside of Calumet, or Frenchtown location near Franklin Mine on top of Quincy Hill.
Maps: For family historians maps are always valuable tools, for Houghton County researchers they are essential because Houghton County is a mining region with many ghost towns and locations. For example, according to family tradition my great-grandfather, Édouard DuLong, lived in a company house at Osceola, near Calumet, in the shadow of the Osceola Consolidated Mining Company's shaft number three. The shaft house was torn down years ago as were many of the neighboring company houses. Throughout their years of operation the various mining companies created maps of their properties. The Copper Country Historical Collections has many of these maps in their collection. Among their map collection is a "Map of Osceola Service" which the Osceola Consolidated Mining Company made in April 1923. This map clearly shows the landmark shaft house, the adjoining mine buildings, railroad tracks, roads, businesses, and residences including the home of my DuLong ancestor.
The Copper Country Historical Collections also has the
Sanborn Fire Insurance maps for various villages in Houghton County
from the 1880's to the 1920's. The Sanborn company drew these detailed
maps for insurance purposes and therefore they show the most industrialized
areas. However, they also include nearby residential areas. The maps
show the size of the lots, the shapes of the buildings, and the locations
of exterior stairways. If you want to know more about the railroad yard
or stamp mill your ancestor worked in, then this is an excellent source.
Many of the features shown in these maps have disappeared with time.
The Sanborn maps located in the Copper Country Historical Collections
are originals and have notes on them as well as cut-out sections. Intact
versions of these maps are available on microfilm at the Library of
Michigan and the Burton Historical Collection.
Lastly, the Copper Country Historical Collections has a wide variety of village, township, and tourism maps.
Mining Company Records: For several years the Copper Country Historical Collections has been the home of the C&H documents. This collection contains the papers of other mining companies which eventually became part of the mighty C&H, for example, the Osceola Consolidated Mining Company. Many of these papers deal with the day-to-day operations of the copper industry. However, some are of great interest to family historians. Among these are papers dealing with employees. There are lists of special employees who received awards for long time service, documents relating to accidents and rescues, payroll records, and individual employment records.
The process of mining copper in Michigan involved several steps and facilities. At the mine site a shaft was sunk into the ground at a favorable angle to follow the copper load. On top of the shaft was usually a combination shaft-rockhouse. Other surface buildings would include boiler houses, hoist houses, dry houses, warehouses, stables, machine shops, etc. The rock would be brought to the surface, poor rock would be discarded, and copper bearing rock would then be moved to the stamp mills. Here huge stamp heads were used to crush the rock and, in combination with several other processes, the copper ore was separated from the stamp sands. The stamp sands were usually dumped into nearby lakes. From here the ore would be delivered to the smelter where it would be melted and formed into ingots and other products before being shipped out to markets across the world.
Eventually, C&H and Quincy found they could get more copper out of the stamp sands. Huge dredges were used to bring the stamp sands to the surface and move them to a reclamation plant.
This is of couse a very simply summary of a complex process. The key point to remember is that you will find French Canadians working in the stamp mills, the smelters, the reclamation plants, and mine surface buildings, including the shaft-rockhouse, but rarely working inside the mines.
The employment record contains a wealth of information including: the person's name, date and place of birth, residence, nationality, marital status, names of children and date of their birth, name of wife, names of parents, names of relatives working in Michigan copper mines, last employer, reason for leaving, physical description, placement and pay rate record within C&H, date and place of death, and after the 1913 strike, a signed oath that the employee is not connected with the Western Federation of Miners. These records are extremely valuable. However, they are rarely filled out completely. For example, the information about parents is seldom found on the records of older mine workers. Researchers are not allowed to go through these records. You must give the name of your ancestors to a staff member who will search for their records and bring them out to you.
The Quincy Mining Company kept similar but less detailed
information about its employees. I can not comment on the Copper Range
Company records as I have not yet used them.
Lastly, the archives holds Mine Inspector's Reports for Houghton County, Michigan, published since 1889. These detail accidents and deaths occurring in the mines with the names of the injured, witnesses, date and time, and results of the investigation. These reports are also available at the courthouse. [For a discussion of these often fatal accidents see Larry D. Lankton, "Died in the Mines," Michigan History 67:6 (November-December 1983): 33-41.]
County Records: Local government records which are no longer being used are now sent to the Copper Country Historical Collections. Among these are tax rolls, assessment records, school board records, oaths of office, public work records, and voter lists. Not all villages and townships have deposited there records. Also, the time periods covered vary with record type. Several finding aids are available at the front desk to help you locate which records might be of interest to you.
By far the most intriguing local government item is the Houghton County Sheriff's Office, Jail Records, 1874-1963, 14 vols., RG 77-105, Lot 4. The volumes from 1909 to 1963 are indexed. Curiously, the years near the great strike, 1913-1917, are missing. Microfilm copies of the jail house books are also available at the State of Michigan Archives. [State of Michigan Archives, Houghton County Sheriff, Jail Records, RG 77-105, reels 1510-1514. These five reels are available for purchase from the State of Michigan Archives.] I am fond of suggesting this as a possible source for information about your ancestor. If you find your ancestors here, then you will also discover the reasons for their arrest, date and time of arrest, place arrested, name of the arresting officer, physical description, sex, age, color, marital status, place of birth and parents' birthplace, occupation, literacy, and their temperament, (for example, if the sheriff considered the accused a drunkard). Finding an entry about your ancestor in the jail house book automatically sends you rushing back to the county courthouse to explore the outcome of your ancestor's arrest. Do not foget to check the newspapers also for the story.
As alluded to in the County Courthouse discussion, some administrative records have been moved to the Copper Country Historical Collections. Also, some records associated with the State of Michigan Archives have been deposited at the Copper Country Historical Collections because they deal with the region. The State of Michigan Archives has several Office of the Clerk collections from Houghton County including: Board of Supervisor Records, 1861-1963 (including some documents relating to the Newberry State Hospital); Clerk's Official Records, 1855-1976 (mostly professional certification for physicians and others); Copper Country Sanatorium Records, 1932-1952; Records of Inquests, 1890-1967 (records on violent and accidental deaths); and more Registered Professions Records, 1891-1982. I am not sure if these records are in Lansing or Houghton at the Copper Country Historical Collections. I would think that the Inquest Records would be of particular value for people who have ancestors who died from domestic violence, drowning, exposure, and accidents whether in the mine, on the railroad, or in an automobile. I have not yet used these records.
Copper Country Vertical File: The archives
staff has done an excellent job clipping newspaper items and photocopying
articles on a wide variety of topics relating to the Copper Country.
The staff will retrieve these clippings from their file cabinet at your
Local Histories: The Copper Country Historical Collections has a large collection of published histories about Houghton County and the copper mining industry. Among these are many local and parish histories that will be of interest to French-Canadian family historians. In the 1960's and 1970's many of the communities and parishes had centennial celebrations. These local histories often have pictures of early settlers and officials. Also, as of 1989, Clarence J. Monette, the resident local historian, has published over thirty booklets dealing with various Copper Country communities and topics. It is now 2000 and I have lost count of how many books Monette has completed. I understand that he is now going back and updating some of his earlier books. The bibliography at the end of this series will list many, but certainly not all, of these local histories of interest to French-Canadian family historians.
Summary: The Copper Country Historical Collections is a great place for doing genealogical research in Houghton County. Michigan Technological University established the archives in 1966 for the purpose of maintaining records about the school. It has rapidly become a center for regional historical research. This collection has made genealogical research in Houghton County easy and pleasurable. Every visit I make to it I notice the improvements. Its major weak point is that it lacks vital records. However, you can find these in the nearby courthouse and in parish registers.
Local Catholic church records and cemeteries are covered in the next article in this series.
St. Ignatius Loyola
Catholic Church and
French Canadians are overwhelmingly Catholic. Due in part
to apostasy among French Canadians in Illinois, the Catholic hierarchy
took an interest in encouraging French-Canadian parishes to maintain
not only the French language and culture, but also their Catholic faith.
[McQuillan, "French-Canadian Communities," op. cit., p. 59.]
One of the top priorities for any French-Canadian community in the Copper
Country was to set up its own ethnic parish. The French Canadians achieved
this goal as soon as possible in polyglot Calumet with their own parish.
French Canadians also dominated the parishes in Lake Linden, Hubbell,
Dollar Bay, and Chassell. However, in Houghton and Hancock they shared
the parish with Irish, Germans, and others.
The priest and nuns for many of these French-Canadian parishes were from Québec or of French-Canadian ancestry. Masses were in French, the Catholic school nuns taught in French, and several French societies existed like the Foresters and St. Jean-Baptiste, as well as the Jeanne d'Arc club for girls and the Lafayette club for boys. Masses are no longer in French and many of the schools are now closed, but the parishes remain as reminders of the once thriving French-Canadian communities. The records of these parishes also still exist.
All Catholic parishes maintained records of baptism, communion, confirmation, marriage, and burial. Marriage and baptismal records contain the most valuable genealogical information. Burial records rarely show the name of parents or spouses and usually do not mention the cause of death. These records prove helpful in situations where the comparable civil vital records are missing or incomplete. Some parishes have these records indexed, but these are the exceptional ones. You should expect to find the information recorded in these registries in a mixture of Latin, French, English, or even German depending on the priest and the time period you are searching. The precision of the information recorded also varies with time and the officiating priest. Although baptism and marriage records are usually well preserved, the survival of the other records in a parish is not always guaranteed.
A few parishes have printed centennial parish histories which mention ancestors, especially those prominent in parish affairs.
These registers are under the control of the local parish
priest and he is under no obligation to allow you to search through
them. Furthermore, his religious duties leave him little time to assist
family historians. Despite these limitations, most priests will reply
to written requests for specific information. There is no mandatory fee for a record, but please consider including a
donation to cover his service and a self-addressed and stamped envelope.
[For more information about access to parish records see John P. Dulong,
"French Canadian Genealogical Research in American Roman Catholic
Parish Records: An Editorial," Michigan's Habitant Heritage
12:4 (October 1991):84-96.]
The following information identifies the predominately
French-Canadian parishes in Houghton County and provides details about
their years of operation, location, and records. [The following parish
vignettes are based on information from Msgr. Antoine (J.) Ivan Rezek,
History of the Diocese of Sault Ste. Marie and Marquette, (2
vols., Chicago: M. A. Donohue & Co., 1906-1907), vol. I, pp. 249-301;
The Official Catholic Directory, 1912 (New York: P. J. Kenedy
& Sons, 1912), pp. 516-521; The Official Catholic Directory,
1986 (New York: P. J. Kenedy & Sons, 1986), pp. 496-499; St.
Cecilia Parish, Hubbell, Michigan: Diamond Jubilee, 1893-1968 (no
place or publisher, 1968); St. Ignatius Loyola Church, Houghton,
Michigan: A Visitor's Guide (no place, publisher, or date); St.
Joseph Church, Lake Linden, Michigan, 1871-1971 (no place or publisher,
1971); "The Parish Family Tree," Our Sunday Visitor: The
Northern Michigan Edition XLII:18 (30 August 1953): 65A [lists
parishes and dates established in the Diocese of Marquette]; Souvenir
Booklet: The Catholic Church in the Hancock Area: 125th Jubilee, 4 August
1861 to 2-3 August 1986 (Hancock: Church of the Resurrection, 1986);
as well as telephone interviews conducted with several local priests
in August 1988 and a letter from the Very Rev. Howard J. Brown, V.F.,
Archivist-Historian, Diocese of Marquette, to John P. DuLong, 29 January
Church of the Resurrection, Hancock: All the Catholic parishes in Hancock were consolidated into the parish of Resurrection in 1976. The records for St. Anne's, St. Joseph's, St. Patrick's, and Our Lady of Mount Carmel are now kept at the modern parish of the Church of the Resurrection, 900 Quincy St., Hancock, MI 49930 (906) 482-0215. The public is allowed to view the registers which were rebound and all the parishes have been indexed. Specific written queries will also be answered. Resurrection is built on the site of the Hancock Catholic Cemetery. The tombstones were removed and placed in a gully next to the church. They were subsequently buried to protect them from vandals. A list was made of the grave makers prior to the move and is kept in the parish office. The list of tombstones is available online at http://www.mfhn.com/houghton/archivestemp/stjosburials.txt. Most of the surnames are Irish.
Holy Trinity, Beacon Hill: I know little about this church except that it was operating in 1912 and may have had several French-Canadian families in the area. Its records are now kept at St. Ignatius in Houghton.
Our Lady of Mount Carmel, Franklin Mine: This small parish was founded in 1910 and served many Italian, Irish, and Slavic families who worked for Quincy Mining Company. It was also the parish the French Canadians of the Frenchtown location used. It closed in 1981 and became part of Resurrection parish in Hancock.
Sacred Heart, Calumet: This Calumet parish was not devoted to French Canadians. However, it was the first Catholic parish in the Calumet area, established in 1868, and many early French-Canadian residents attended it until the creation of St. Louis. A few years ago a tragic fire destroyed the church and rectory. The parish registers survived the fire with only slight water damage. The registers are not open to the public. Parish volunteers will handle written requests for information. The new rebuilt church is located at the same site as the old one near US-41. The address of the rectory is P.O. Box 546, Calumet, MI 49913 (906) 337-0810.
St. Anne, Calumet: This parish no longer exists. It was created in 1901 and merged with several other Calumet parishes in 1966 to form the parish of St. Paul the Apostle. The records of St. Louis's and St. Anne's, as well as the other ethnic parishes, are now housed at St. Paul's which was formerly called St. Joseph's, the Slovene or Austrian church. The rectory of St. Paul's is located on Eighth St., Calumet, MI 49913 (906) 337-2044. Several years ago a surname card index for all the various parish registers was created and is kept at the rectory.
St. Anne, Chassell: The parish of St. Anne's in Chassell was established in 1890 for the benefit of the French-Canadian lumberjacks working the timber along the Sturgeon River system. The address is Chassell, MI 49916 (906) 523-4912.
St. Anne, Hancock: This was the parish the French Canadians used between 1861 and 1884. In 1889 it became St. Patrick's an Irish parish. The French Canadians switched over to nearby St. Joseph's.
St. Anne, Redridge: Known to be in operation in 1912. Like Holy Trinity in Beacon Hill, I do not know its date of creation or closing, nor the location of its records.
St. Cecilia, Hubbell: The parish of St. Cecilia's was created in 1893. It was an out growth of St. Joseph's parish in Lake Linden. These parishioners were predominately French Canadian many of whom worked in the nearby C&H stamp mills. St. Cecilia no longer has a resident priest and is now serviced by the priest from St. Joseph in Lake Linden. The records are also now at St. Joseph.
St. Francis of Assisi, Dollar Bay: This parish emerged from Lake Linden's in 1892. Its parishioners included Slovene, German, and Irish families, as well as French Canadians. It is now operated as a mission. For several years it was under the care of the priests at Sacred Heart in Calumet. Then the priest at St. Cecilia's in Hubbell had care of both the mission and the parish register. Now it is under the care of the Church of the Resurrection in Hancock and its records are located there.
St. Ignatius Loyola, Houghton: This is the oldest parish in Houghton County and it had a substantial French-Canadian population, but it also had many Irish and German parishioners. The rectory address is 305 Portage St., Houghton, MI 49931 (906) 482-0212. The parish was established in 1858. The records are well preserved and contain an unusual amount of information. For example, the burial record of my great-grandmother, Angeline Allie, shows that she was born at Baie-du-Febvre in Québec. [St. Ignatius Loyola, Burial Register, vol. II, 1877-1923, pp. 46-47, 12 November 1891.] Detailed birthplace information is often provided in both the marriage and death records.
St. Joseph, Hancock: Most of the Catholics in Hancock were Irish, but, there were some French-Canadian families. This parish derived from St. Anne's and was created in 1885. It catered to the Germans and French Canadians in town. In 1937 a fire destroyed St. Patrick's, the Irish church, and these parishioners then went to St. Joseph's which operated as a joint parish. St. Patrick's was officially merged under St. Joseph's in 1953. In 1976 St. Joseph's parish became Resurrection.
St. Joseph, Lake Linden: Lake Linden is the leading French-Canadian community in Houghton County and its parish is the most important one in the region for French-Canadian family historians. St. Joseph's rectory is located at 701 Calumet St., Lake Linden, MI 49945 (906) 296-6851. The parish was founded in 1871. Schoolcraft township now operates Mount Calvary the parish's former cemetery.
St. Louis, Calumet: This parish existed in Red Jacket, near Calumet, from about 1883 to 1901. It became the parish of St. Anne's. St. Louis's and St. Anne's were the French-Canadian parishes in Calumet.
There are many other Catholic parishes in Houghton County which may have been the home of your French-Canadian ancestors. In 1912 there were a total of eighteen operating Catholic parishes in Houghton County of which five were predominantly French Canadian, six had a substantial number of French-Canadian parishioners, and the other seven were dedicated to other ethnic groups. [See, The Official Catholic Directory, 1912, op. cit., pp. 517-520.] The ones discussed here had a majority of French-Canadian parishioners or at least a substantial minority. For information about the other parishes consult the most recent version of The Official Catholic Directory. [Published annually since 1911 by P. J. Kennedy & Sons of New York, op. cit.] Be aware that this reference work only list ongoing parishes.
These Houghton County parishes are part of the Diocese of Marquette. The Bishop Baraga Association in Marquette was established in 1930 to promote the canonization of Bishop Frederic Baraga, the missionary snowshoe priest. The archival collection of this organization holds the papers of Bishop Baraga and other materials relating to Michigan, Wisconsin, and Minnesota from 1830 to 1890. Some Office of Indian Affairs and American Fur Company papers are also available here on microfilm. It also serves as the archives for the Diocese of Marquette. Researchers are welcome, but by appointment only. The association is located at The St. Joseph Center, 347 Rock St., P. O. Box 550, Marquette, MI 49855, (906) 227-9117, (906) 228-2469 fax. For more information see the write-up at the U. S. Catholic Historical Society at: http://cf.catholic.org/uschs/phase1.cfm?id=149.
Contrary to what I have written in the past, the Bishop Baraga Association does NOT hold microfilm or microfiche copies of the parish registers for the Diocese of Marquette. If you are unsure of which parish to contact for a record, then the archivist of the Bishop Baraga Association, Ms. Elizabeth Delene, will help guide you to the parish that might hold the records you seek. However, you will still have to make contact with the pastor at that parish to retrieve a record.
There are at least twenty-seven cemeteries in Houghton County, but I only known of the following four with large concentrations of French-Canadian graves. [Michigan Technological University Library, Copper Country Historical Collection, "Cemeteries of Houghton County," Kalamazoo Valley Family News Letter 5:4 (June 1976): 348-349. David H. Thomas, Cemeteries of the Copper Country (Houghton: Michigan Technological University, 1973).] In general, these cemeteries are well groomed and the tombstones are in reasonable condition. I am sure of the existence of Sexton's records for only two of these cemeteries. Both Forest Hill and Lake View have excellent records. I suspect the others have also maintained records of the burial sites. Lastly, Clarence J. Monette has reminded me that funeral homes are another source of valuable information. There records contain information about date and place of death, insurance, burial arrangements, family relationships, etc. The obituary often mentions the name of the funeral home. With this information and some telephone calls you should be able to track down the current owner of the funeral home. Access to these records is entirely dependent upon the funeral director. Keep in mind that many funeral directors discard old records.
Forest Hill: This cemetery is located
in Houghton on Upland Rd. in section 31 of Portage Township. The township
owns the cemetery and there is a Sexton's office at the location. The
records of the Sexton are in large ledgers and a surname card index
is available. The address is Park Addition, Houghton, MI 49931 (906)
482-3580 or 482-4310.
Lake View: This cemetery is found just outside of Calumet on M-203 in Section 15 of Calumet Township. It is corporation owned and a Sexton's office is located at the entrance. Before 1920 the records are kept separately for Catholics and Protestants since the cemetery was divided between the two groups. The Detroit Society for Genealogical Research published information about burials between 1894 and 1899 in this cemetery. [Bertha Malone, "Lakeview Cemetery, Calumet, Michigan 1894-1899," Detroit Society for Genealogical Research Magazine 8:5 (May-June 1945): 125-126, 9:1 (September-October 1945): 23-26, 9:2 (November-December 1945): 49-52, 9:3 (January-February 1946): 79-82, 9:4 (March-April 1946): 105-108, and 9:5 (May-June 1946): 132-137.] The address is P.O. Box 544, Calumet, MI 49913 (906) 337-2510.
Mount Calvary: This cemetery formally belonged to St. Joseph's in Lake Linden. Schoolcraft Township now owns it. The location is on CR S-10, north of Lake Linden, in section 32. The earliest grave dates from 1876.
Chassell Township Cemetery: Located in section 32, the village of Chassell owns this cemetery.
This series concludes with the next article which will discuss how to take the data you collect from your Houghton County research and use it to find your ancestors in Québec.
View of Lake Linden
from the C&H
The aim of your genealogical research in Houghton County
is to find information that will allow you to trace your ancestry back
to Québec and eventually to France. To do this you must find at least
one of two things. Either the birth date and place of an ancestor back
in Québec or the full names of an ancestral couple married back in
Québec as well as an approximate date for their marriage. With accurate
birth information you can use standard vital records in Québec to trace
your ancestry. If you only have the names of an immigrant couple who
you suspect were married in Québec, then you can use the Loiselle Marriage
Index. This index is organized by surname and covers most of Québec
from about the seventeenth to the mid-twentieth century. It is available
on microfilm through the branch Family History Library system of the
Mormons. The Burton Historical Collection in Detroit has recently acquired
the Loiselle Marriage Index.
Another valuable set of tools are the published marriage repertories. A repertoire is an indexed list of marriages for particular a parish. Most parishes across Québec now have a published repertoire. A few French-Canadian parishes in the United States have also been done, but unfortunately, none in the Copper Country. You will need to know your ancestor's place of marriage to use this resource. Nearly complete collections of these marriage repertories can be found in the Burton Historical Collection and the Allen County Public Library. The Library of Michigan and the Grand Rapids Public Library also have some repertoires. The finest collection of marriage repertoires in the Detroit area is at the library of the Société franco-ontarienne d'histoire et de généalogie near Windsor. The address for this group is C.P. 1021, 267 rue Meunier, Belle Rivière, Ontario N0R 1A0. Volunteers staff this library and it has very limited hours. You should definitely contact them before making the trip to the library. Although non-members are allowed to use the library, the society strongly encourages you to join.
Once you make a connection between a French Canadian in Houghton County and his or her home in Québec you are on the right path for doing French-Canadian research. By using Houghton County vital records, parish registers, obituaries, and tombstones you should be able to find the information you need to pursue your ancestry into Québec. You will discover that the records back in Québec are well preserved and accessible. Using them will enable you to easily trace your lineage back to your seventeenth century French immigrant ancestors.
Despite the lack of published genealogical works, Houghton County is an excellent area to do research in because so many records have survived, are indexed, and made accessible. The Copper Country Genealogical Society is now in the process of forming. For details call the Public Library between 8:00am and 3:00pm at (906) 337-0311 or contact Judy Rowe Jarve in the evenings at (906) 337-3356 between 4:00pm and 8:00pm. There is also a Houghton County Historical Society, M-26, Drawer D., Lake Linden, MI 49945 (906) 296-4121. It operates the local historical museum, has over 300 members, and publishes local histories. It is open from mid-June to mid-September.
Because many records are now available locally or through the mail there
is no absolute need to travel to the Copper Country to do research.
Nevertheless, you must travel there at least once to smell the fresh
air in Spring, enjoy a Summer's hot days and cool nights on Portage
or Torch Lake, see the hills above Houghton and Hancock alive with Fall
colors, or live through a five day blizzard in Winter. Only then will you
understand this area's special appeal to your French-Canadian ancestors.
The following titles are works of interest to French-Canadian
family historians in Houghton County. There is no published Houghton
County history, but there are many local community and parish histories.
These are often the work of neighborhood historians who delight in mentioning
the names of their family, friends, and acquaintances. You should not
be surprised to find ancestors mentioned. Most of the local histories
lack surname indexes. However, they are usually rather short and easy
reading. A few of the works cited are more concerned with the whole
Upper Peninsula and have few if any pages devoted to French Canadians.
Nevertheless, they are valuable guides to the history of your ancestor's
period and the leading citizens of the various communities. This bibliography
also contains a few works relating to the various mining companies and
to the history of the Copper industry. I have annotated several of the
citations, especially the more general historical ones. I suspect that
most of these works are available in the Copper Country Historical Collections,
the Library of Michigan, the Grand Rapids Public Library, the Burton
Historical Collection, or the Allen County Public Library.
"100 Years of Religious Growth, 1853-1953." Our Sunday Visitor: The Northern Michigan Edition XLII:18 (30 August 1953) 128 p.
This is a special edition devoted to recalling the history of all the parishes in the Diocese of Marquette including those in Houghton County. Several of the churches covered are no longer in operation. It is available at the Library of Michigan on microfilm F566.A665z, reel 17, item 6.
125 Anniversary St. Ignatius Loyola Church, 1859-1984.
Houghton: St. Ignatius Loyola Church, 1984.
A 1976 Synopsis, Calumet Township, Calumet, Michigan. No place: No publisher, 1976.
Alexander, Eleanor. East Hancock. No place: No publisher, 1984.
Benedict, C. Harry. Red Metal: The Calumet and Hecla Story. Ann Arbor: Univ. of
Michigan Press, 1952.
This is far from light reading. It is a technical history of C&H, the most important mining operation in the Copper Country. It is the only book published about C&H and deserves your attention if your ancestors worked for the firm. Otherwise, avoid it, since Benedict is more concerned with the bosses and equipment, than with the workers and their communities. Also, the C&H paid for this book to be printed.
__________. Lake Superior Milling Practice. Houghton: Michigan College of Mining and Technology Press, 1955.
Another technical work dedicated to discussing stamp mills.
Bezotte, David, and Theresa J. Semmerling. St. Anne's Church, Chassell, Michigan, 1887-1987. Chassell: St. Anne's Centennial Committee, 1987.
The Copper Country Historical Collections has a paper Bezotte did on this same topic for a Social Science course under Professor D. Halkola at Michigan Technological University in the Fall of 1975, see "History of St. Anne's Parish, Chassell, Michigan," typescript, 18 November 1975.
Biographical Sketches of Leading Citizens of Houghton, Baraga, and Marquette Counties, Michigan. Chicago: Biographical Publishing Company, 1903.
Brusso, Clifton. Calumet & Hecla Reclamation Floatation
Leaching. Laurium: Iroquois Press, 1998.
"Calumet & Hecla Mining Co.: Semi-Centennial Edition, 1866-1916." Keweenaw Miner, special issue, 15 July 1916.
The Copper Island Sentinel reprinted this special issue in 1985. It contains many items of interest, including photographs and lists of employees who worked for C&H for twenty and fifty years and were awarded medals of recognition (see pp. 37, 39, 41, 43, 45, 47, 51, 53, & 79).
Calumet Township Centennial Committee. Calumet Township
Centennial, 1866-1966, Souvenir Program. Calumet: No publisher,
Calumet Village Centennial Committee. Calumet Centennial Souvenir Book, Village of Calumet, 1875-1975. Calumet: No publisher, 1975.
Chaput, Donald. The Cliff: America's First Great Copper Mine. Kalamazoo: Sequoia Press, 1971.
This deals with the early history of the Copper Country and concentrates on Keweenaw County.
__________. Hubbell: A Copper Country Village.
Lansing: Privately printed, 1969. Reprint ed., Hancock: Houghton County
Historical Society, 1986.
The Chassell Book: A Pictorial Survey of Chassell Township as it is Today. Chassell: J. Alain, PSJ Pix, 1984.
Clark, Don H. Copper Mines of the Keweenaw. Series of 18 booklets dealing with various Copper Country mines. No publication data, ca. 1973.
Crane, Walter Richard. Mining Methods and Practice in the Michigan Copper Mines. Washington, DC: U. S. Bureau of Mines Bulletin 306, 1929.
Dersch, Virginia Jonas. "Copper Mining in Northern Michigan: A Social History," Michigan History 61:4 (Winter 1977): 290-321.
For family historians this article is a good introduction to social life and customs in the Copper Country.
Dollar Bay, Michigan, 1887-1987. Dollar Bay: 100 Dollar Bay Centennial Committee, 1987.
Fields, Richard A. Range of Opportunity: A historic Study of the Copper Range Company. Hancock, MI: Quincy Mine Hoist Association in cooperation with the Program in Industrial History and Archaeology, Department of Social Sciences, Michigan Technological University, 1997.
DuLong, John P. "French Canadian Genealogical Research in American Roman Catholic Parish Records: An Editorial." Michigan's Habitant Heritage 12:4 (October 1991):84-96.
__________. French Canadians in Michigan [booklet]. Lansing: Michigan State University Press, 2001.
Engel, Dave, and Gerry Mantel. Calumet: Copper Country Metropolis (Rudolph, WI: River City Memoirs, 2002).
Gates, William B., Jr. Michigan Copper and Boston Dollars. Cambridge: Harvard Univ. Press, 1951.
This is a dry academic work. However, the chapter entitled "Labor and the Community in 1904" (pp. 93-115) is well worth reading for background.
History of the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. Chicago: Western Historical Company, 1883.
Hobart, Henry. Copper Country Journal: The Diary of
Schoolmaster Henry Hobart, 1863-1864. Ed. by Philip P. Mason.
Detroit: Wayne State University Press, 1991.
Houghton Centennial: Souvenir History and Program. No place: No publisher, 1961.
"Houghton County Michigan." The Kalamazoo Valley Family News Letter 5:4 (June 1976): 299-364.
The whole issue deals with genealogical research in Houghton County. Each township and the major villages are covered in detail. A similar issue was done for Keweenaw County in December 1976.
Hyde, Charles K. Copper for America: The United States Copper Industry from Colonial Times to the 1990s. Tucson, AZ: The University of Arizona Press, 1998.
This general history of copper mining in the United States puts developments in Michigan's Copper Country into perspective. It also discusses many of the western mines that some Copper Country residents moved to after the decline of Michigan's mines.
Kipela, Tauno. The Hard Rock Mining Era in the Copper Country: A Chronicle of Operations on the Seven Major Lodes of the Keweenaw Mining District. No place: No publisher, 1995.
Krause, David J. The Making of a Mining District: Keweenaw Native Copper 1500-1870. Detroit: Wayne State University Press, 1992.
Lamarre, Jean. "La Migration des canadiens français ver le Michigan, 1840-1914: Leur contribution au développement socio-économique de la région." Ph.D. dissertation, Université de Montréal, 1996.
__________. The French Canadians of Michigan: Their Contribution to the Development of the Saginaw Valley and the Keweenaw Peninsula, 1840-1914. Detroit: Wayne State University Press, 2003.
Lankton, Larry D. Keweenaw Copper: Mines, Mills, Smelters, and Communities. Houghton: Society for Industrial Archeology and Department of Social Sciences, Michigan Technological University, 1997.
__________. Beyond the Boundaries: Life and Landscape at the Lake Superior Copper Mines, 1840-1875. New York: Oxford University Press, 1997.
__________. Cradle to Grave: Life, Work, and Death at the Lake Superior Copper Mines. New York: Oxford University Press, 1991.
In my estimation this is the single most important book on the Copper Country. It is a good general overview of Copper Country history relying on the best and most recent research as of 1991. Lankton goes into great detail on how the system of paternalism worked.
__________. "Weeping Widows, Generous Juries." Michigan History 75:2 (March/April 1991): 12-23.
This is an excerpt from Lankton's Cradle to Grave (1991).
Lankton, Larry D., and Charles K. Hyde. Old Reliable: An Illustrated History of the Quincy Mining Company. Hancock: Quincy Mine Hoist Association, Inc., 1982.
Many French Canadians were employed in the Quincy stamp mill in Mason just south of Hubbell. Besides covering the history of Quincy, this book provides the reader with a sense of how mining technology influenced the work and community patterns of your ancestors. Excellent drawings, photographs, and narrative brings the Copper Country alive for the reader.
Maki, Wilbert B. Visions of Houghton: Yesterday and Today. Calumet: Greenlee Printing Company, no date, ca. 1987.
Molloy, Larry. Trammers and Tracks of the Quincy Mine: An Historical Tour of the Quincy Mining Company and the Quincy and Torch Lake Railroad (Hubbell: Great Lakes GeoScience, 2001).
Monette, Clarence J. A Brief List of Publications Pertaining to Copper Country History. Lake Linden: Privately printed, 1979.
Monette is a prolific writer of local Copper Country history. The above work is a bibliography of value to all researchers. The author concedes that it is now out of date and he hopes to revise and publish it again soon. Below I have listed a few of his publications dealing with items of interest for French Canadians. Copper World in Calumet carries all of Monette's available titles. Contact them to order a booklet.
__________. Early Red Jacket and Calumet in Pictures.
2 vols. Lake Linden: Privately printed, 1988 & 1991.
__________. Freda, Michigan, End of the Road. Lake Linden: Privately printed, 1989.
__________. Gregoryville: The History of a Hamlet Located Across from Lake Linden, Michigan. Lake Linden: Privately printed, 1974.
__________. Hancock, Michigan, Remembered. 2 vols., Lake Linden: Privately printed, 1982 & 1985.
The second volume deals with churches in Hancock.
__________. The History of Lake Linden, Michigan. Lake Linden: Privately printed, 1975.
__________. Houghton in Pictures. Lake Linden: Privately printed, 1989.
__________. Lake Linden's Disastrous Fire of 1887. Lake Linden: Privately printed, 1988.
This fire destroyed two-thirds of the town. Monette has listed all the people who lost any property in the fire and identifies what they lost, its worth, and its location.
__________. Lake Linden's Living History. Lake Linden: Privately printed, 1985.
__________. Lake Linden's Yesterday: A Pictorial History.
3 vols. Lake Linden: Privately printed, 1977,1980, & 1983.
__________. Some Copper Country Names and Places. Lake Linden: Privately printed, 1975.
__________. Some of the Best from C&H News and
Views. 2 vols. Lake Linden: Privately printed, 1985 & 1987.
Murdoch, Angus. Boom Copper: The Story of the First U.S. Mining Boom. Reprint, Calumet: Privately printed, 1964.
This is a popular, but outdated and flawed, history of the Copper Country.
Noces d'or de la paroisse Saint-Joseph, Lake Linden, Michigan, 1871-1921. No place: No publisher, 1921.
A detailed history of this crucial parish with biographical sketches (often accompanied by a photograph) of the parish's priests, pioneers, and benefactors.
Our Lady of Mount Carmel Church, Franklin Mine, 1911-1961.
No place: No publisher, 1961.
Quincy Mine Hoist Association. Quincy Mining Company, Hancock, Michigan, Mine, Mill, Smelter, Community: A Look at the Architecture and Communities of the Quincy Mining Company. Drawings produced by the Historic American Engineering Record, Heritage Conservation & Recreation Service, United States Department of the Interior. Calumet: The Copper Press, 1978.
A collection of very detailed drawings and maps of Quincy Mining Company properties. Some of these drawings appeared in Lankton and Hyde's Old Reliable, 1982.
Rezek, Antoine (J.) Ivan. History of the Diocese of Sault Ste. Marie and Marquette. 2 vols., Chicago: M. A. Donohue & Co., 1906-1907.
This work is of value to French-Canadian researchers because of the Catholic faith of their ancestors. Msgr. Rezek often identifies the key people who helped establish or maintain a parish.
Rockford Map Publishers. Atlas & Plat Book, Houghton County, Michigan. Sponsored by the Houghton County 4-H Council. Revised ed., Rockford, IL: Rockford Map Publishers, 1978.
I believe that more recent issues of this atlas have been printed. It clearly shows the location of all important features including township boundaries and sections, villages, roads, railroads, cemeteries, and land owners. For an earlier version see William J. Weston and C. F. Hancock, comps., Plat book of Houghton County, Michigan (Milwaukee, WI: Foust & Jungblut Map Makers, 1911).
Rosentreter, Roger L. "Michigan's 83 Counties: Houghton County." Michigan History 67:3 (May/June 1983): 8-11.
Sacred Heart Church, Calumet, Michigan: 1868-1968.
Calumet: No publisher, 1968.
Sacred Heart Church Golden Jubilee, 1968-1918. Calumet: Keweenaw Printing Co., 1919.
St. Anne's Church, Chassell, Michigan, Centennial 1887-1987. No place: No publisher, 1987.
St. Cecilia Parish, Hubbell, Michigan: Diamond Jubilee, 1893-1968. No place: No publisher, 1968.
St. Cecilia Parish, Hubbell, Michigan: Centennial
Jubilee, 1893-1993. No place: No publisher, 1993.
St. Ignatius Loyola Church, Houghton, Michigan: A Visitor's Guide. No place: No publisher, No date.
St. Joseph Church, Lake Linden, Michigan, 1871-1971. No Place: No publisher, 1971.
St. Pierre, Télesphore, Histoire des Canadiens de Michigan et du comté d'Essex, Ontario. Montréal: Typographie de le Gazette, 1895.
For French Canadians this is a particularly valuable work done by a former Lake Linden newspaper man. He discusses national societies, local parishes, and provides short biographies of prominent French Canadians.
Sawyer, Alvah L. History of the Northern Peninsula of Michigan and Its People. 3 vols., Chicago: Lewis Publishing Co., 1911.
Ruth Robbins Monteith, Chippewa Chapter, Daughters of the American Revolution, Iron Mountain, abstracted a surname index of this work in 1950. A typescript copy of this index is available in the Burton Historical Collection.
Smith, Edward B & Co. Calumet and Hecla Mining Company. New York: Edward B. Smith & Co., 1923. Reprinted by Robert L. Fox, Oshkosh, WI, 1998.
Smith, G. Walton. Schoolcraft Township Centennial:
History of Schoolcraft Township and the Village of Lake Linden.
No place: No publisher, 1966.
Souvenir Booklet: The Catholic Church in the Hancock Area, 125th Jubilee, 4 August 1861 to 2-3 August 1986. Hancock: Church of the Resurrection, 1986.
Thurner, Arthur W. Calumet Copper and People: History of a Michigan Mining Community, 1864-1970. Hancock: Privately printed, 1974.
__________. Rebels on the Range: The Michigan Copper Miners' Strike of 1913-1914. Lake Linden: John H. Foster Press, 1984.
The 1913 strike was a turning point for all ethnic groups in the Copper Country. It is the critical event of Copper Country history. The strike has left divisions and wounds among the people that are still evident today.
__________. Strangers and Sojourners: A History of Michigan's Keweenaw Peninsula. Detroit: Wayne State University Press, 1994.
Torch Lake Bi-Centennial Committee. Hubbell-Tamarack
Mills: Torch Lake Area Bicentennial, 1776-1976. No place: No publisher,
Welcome to the Village of Laurium's 80th Anniversary, 1889-1969. Laurium: No publisher, 1969.
Yauch, Faye, and Clarence J. Monette. Village of Lake Linden, the Friendly Town, 100 Year Centennial 1885- 1985. Lake Linden: no publisher, 1985.
Most of the illustrations for this web page come from
a curious book my mother gave me just before she died entitled Souvenir
of the Copper Country, Upper Peninsula of Michigan (Houghton: B.
E. Taylor, 1903).
For your convenience I have recorded many of the most important addresses here as well as some web links you might find helpful.
Allen County Public Library
Fred J. Reynolds Historical Genealogy Department
900 Webster St,
Fort Wayne, IN 46802
Tel.: (219) 421-1200
Fax: (219) 422-9688
Baraga County Courthouse
16 N. 3rd St.
L'Anse, MI 49946
Tel.: (906) 524-6183
Note: Baraga County is not strictly part of the Copper Country, but it is adjacent to Houghton County and had many French-Canadian and Métis families.
Bentley Historical Library
1150 Beale St., North Campus
Ann Arbor, MI 48109-2113
Telephone: (313) 764-3482
Fax: (313) 936-1333
Bishop Baraga Association
The St. Joseph Center
347 Rock St.
P. O. Box 550
Marquette, MI 49855
Tel.: (906) 227-9117
Fax: (906) 228-4269
Hours: By appointment only
Burton Historical Collection
Detroit Public Library
5201 Woodward Ave.
Detroit, MI 48202
Tel.: (313) 833-1480
Copper Country Historical Collections
J. Robert Van Pelt Library
Michigan Technological University
Houghton, MI 49931
Tel: (906) 487-2505
101 5th St.
Calumet, MI 49913-1601
Tel.: (906) 337-4016
I would like to recommend that when you visit the Copper Country you make a special trip to Copper World. Not only do they have a fine collection of copper related merchandise, collectibles, and souvenirs, but they also offer the widest choice of books and videos on the region.
Daily Mining Gazette
206 Sheldon Ave.
Houghton, MI 49931-0368
Tel.: (906) 482-1500
Family History Center
Memorial St, Pilgrim Estate
Houghton, MI 47691
Houghton, Houghton County, Michigan, United States
Note: This is not a mailing addresses. Because of limited staff, the Family History Center cannot respond to mail inquiries.
Tel.: (906) 482-7110
Hours: Tuesday 10:00am-4:30pm; Thursday 6:30pm-9:30pm; Saturday 10:00am-2:00pm
Family History Library
35 North West Temple Street
Salt Lake City, Utah 84150
French Canadian Heritage Society of Michigan
c/o Detroit Public Library
Burton Historical Collection
5201 Woodward Ave.
Detroit, MI 48202
Grand Rapids Public Library
60 Library Plaza NE
Grand Rapids, MI 49503
Houghton County Courthouse
401 E. Houghton
Houghton, MI 49931
Tel.: (906) 482-1150
Houghton County Historical Society
M-26, Drawer D.
Lake Linden, MI 49945
Tel.: (906) 296-4121
Keweenaw County Courthouse
HC1 Box 607
Eagle River, MI 49924
Tel.: (906) 337-2229
Note: This is the county north of Houghton County and is part of the Copper Country. Some French Canadians settled here especially when the Copper Boom started in the 1840s.
Library of Michigan
Michigan Department of History, Arts, and Libraries
702 W. Kalamazoo St.
P.O. Box 30007
Lansing, MI 48909-7507
Tel: (517) 373-1580
Fax: (517) 373-4480
Ontonagon County Courthouse
725 Greenland Rd.
Ontonagon, MI 49953
Tel.: (906) 884-4255
Note: This county is to the south of Houghton County and is part of the Copper Country. Many French Canadians settled here.
Société franco-ontarienne d'histoire et de généalogie
267 rue Meunier
Belle Rivière, Ontario N0R 1A0
This little society library has the best collection of marriage repertoires in the Detroit area. They have limited hours so contact them first before trying to visit.
State of Michigan Archives
Michigan Historical Center
717 W. Allegan
Lansing, MI 48918-1837
Tel.: (517) 373-1408
137 1/2 W. Washington
Marquette, MI 49855
Tel.: (906) 225-1952
There exist several other online sources for Copper Country genealogy and history that did not exist when I originally wrote this series:.
The Houghton-Keweenaw County Genealogical Society was formed in 1999 and has a presence on the web at http://www.hkcgs.org. This group is preparing an index of births, marriages, and deaths in the Daily Mining Gazette.
The USGenWeb project hosts a Houghton County, Michigan, web site with some impressive offerings. It is located at http://www.rootsweb.com/~mihought. There you will find a variety of abstracted and indexed records. Patricia Hamp is the maintainer of this valuable web site.
There is a listserv for Houghton County genealogy. For details, point your browser to http://lists.rootsweb.com/index/usa/MI/houghton.html.
Family Tree Maker offers a GenForum for Houghton County at http://genforum.genealogy.com/mi/houghton.
This page, and all contents, are Copyright © 1995 by John P. DuLong, Berkley, MI. Created 8 March 2000. Last modified 19 January 2005. This web site is best viewed with your display set to 800 by 600 pixels, at least 256 colors, and using Netscape 4.x or better. The coordinated graphics for this site come courtesy of Jelane Johnson.