Sources of Proof
A Thumbnail Biography by David C. Procuniar
Copyright 1997-1998-1999-2000-2001
All Rights Reserved Last updated: 31 Aug 2001

Below is the Sources of Proof for the state of Michigan, it can serve as a guide for all states to give you an idea of what you should have for proof in your research. Hand or typed notes from a cousin is considered a secondary source, and can be used until a primary source is found!

"Primary Sources" are defined as contemporary and/or government records made at the time of the event by the parties involved. These records are deemed acceptable sources in proving relationship from one generation to another:

1. Birth Records Michigan official records began in 1867
      Available from:

2. Marriage Records
a) County clerk of the county where event occurred.
b) Michigan Dept. of Public Health
       PO. Box 30035, Lansing MI 48909

3. Death Records
Usually recorded near the date of each county formation to the present.

4, Census Records
a) Territorial Census (federal) available 1820 to 1830
b) Federal Census available 1840, 1850, 1860, 1870, 1880, 1900 & 1910
      Note: Census indexes are available for 1820, 1830, 1840, 1850, & 1860 for the entire state. Indexes are located in major                   Michigan Libraries.
c) State census were taken in 1834, 1845, 1854, 1864, 1874, 1884, 1894, & 1904.
       Note: Only fragments of these remain. For availability send SASE to Michigan State Archives, 717 W. Allegan, Lansing,                   MI 48918

5. Probate Records
Wills/estates(testate-with will; intestate-without will); Guardianships; Lists of heirs and relationship; Name changes; and sometimes transfer of real estate.  Records begin at the formation of the county and are found in the Probate Court where the event occurred.

6. Land Records & Plats Purchase and sale of property often shows residency and marital relationship. Available from the county where the land was owned. Records may be maintained by the Register of Deeds.

7. Tax Records Taxes were paid on property owned on a yearly basis. Records are available from the time of the county's formation. Records may be located in the Register of Deed's and/or Treasurer's office in county where the land was located.

8. Military Records
Records include muster-in and muster-out, pay vouchers, pension papers, and military bounty land warrants (before 1856) for: W.W.I (1914-1918); Spanish-American War (1898-1899); Civil War (1861-1865); Indian & Other Wars (1816-1898); Mexican War (1845-1849); War of 1812 (1812-1815): Revolutionary War (1775-1783). Records are available from the National Archives & Records Service, 8th & Pennsylvania Avenue, NW., Washington, DC, 20408; or Michigan History Division, 717 W. Allegan, Lansing, Ml, 48918, Indexes of Michigan Civil War soldiers are available at most major Michigan libraries.

9. Church Records
Church records often contain birth, death, marriage, and funeral information of their membership.

10. Cemetery Records Actual records of church, city or township sextons.

11. Mortuary Records Actual records of funeral home may include death date, burial date, location of interment, obituaries & n-dscellany.

12. Burial & Transport Permits Found in village, city, and township halls or county health departments.
Information varies from death date to personal comments.

13. Court Records Civil, criminal, divorce, and naturalization records begin from formation of the county and may be located in circuit or superior court where the event occurred.

"Secondary Sources" are any sources in print that do not come from a contemporary or government record. These records may not be acceptable as proof:

1. Bible Records Dated and/or undated. Include a photocopy of the page showing the publisher, date of publication, and the actual pages showing names, dates, and events. Identify current owners of the Bible when known.

2. Obituaries Dated & identified, when known, name of newspaper & Location. Most libraries contain copies of local newspapers. The Library of Michigan has extensive holdings of micro-filmed Michigan newspapers, which are available through interlibrary loan.

3. Newspaper Clippings Dated & identified, when known name of newspaper & location.  Clippings may include anniversaries, biographical sketches, awards, marriage notices, reminiscences, etc.

4. Family Histories/ Genealogies, Published When submitting this type of material include a copy of the title page, photocopies showing direct ancestral descent and state location of the book. The library of Michigan has a large statewide collection. Local libraries may have some local genealogies.

5. County Histories/ Portrait & Biographical Histories Published Almost every county in Michigan has at least one county history with biographical sketches. The Library of Michigan has every Michigan county history printed. Some local libraries will have county histories for the local and surrounding counties.

6. City/County Directories The Library of Michigan has an extensive statewide collection of directories. Local libraries may have local directories.

7. Personal Papers Unpublished written data include letters, diaries, journals, reunion records, and manuscripts. Please include dates when known.

8. Tombstone Inscriptions
Submit photographs or transcriptions of the stone. The Library of Michigan has an extensive collection of tombstone recordings.

9. Atlas/Landowners
The Library of Michigan has an extensive statewide collection of landowner plat books. Local libraries may have local plat books.

Even though the above is the Sources of Proof for Michigan, it can serve as a guide for all states to give you an idea of what you should have for proof in your research. Hand or typed notes from a cousin is considered a secondary source, and can be used until a primary source is found!

Other Sources:
David C Procuniar 3598 Harry Truman Drive, Beavercreek, Ohio 45432
The Bragonier Family by Georgiana H. Randall 1969.
The Bragunier Family in America by Brittain Bragunier Robinson 1969.
First Reformed Church of Hagerstown Maryland church records on LDS micro-film.

Note:  Anything not copyrighted in this publication can be reprinted with permission from the author David C. Procuniar. (It is appreciated if a credit line be given) Certain advertisers and writers may retain copyright on material which will be clearly marked as such. You must contact them about use of their material. Information in this publication was/is obtained from correspondence, newsletters and miscellaneous sources, which, in many cases cannot be verified 100%. In cases where you need to write the author for material, please send along a SASE (Self Addressed Stamped Envelope).

© Copyright 2001 David C. Procuniar … This page can be Reprinted only with Permission …