Homepage | David K Petersen

Mason County Memories


"You can't depend on your eyes if your imagination is out of focus" ~ Mark Twain


History Columns are arranged by year of publication in the Ludington Daily News



david k petersen

There is a tremendous amount of work being uploaded to the internet by volunteers hoping to provide free access to local history and genealogy. One of the more notable efforts is being carried on by the USGenWeb project but it is not only group on the internet that is doing this type of work, they can be found at http://usgenweb.com/

The USGenWeb project started out in 1986 in Kentucky as a statewide project to link databases, and counties, and make it easier for genealogists to share and locate information through a single point of entry. It quickly grew into a National hub of linked and networked websites operated by volunteers who took on the responsibilities of maintaining and uploading free information on to the internet for specific counties.

Much of the material found on the internet is raw information and some caution needs to be taken though by those who seek out information, genealogy and history online. While volunteers and those who transcribe information do strive to put on accurate information the information you find may or may not be factual, and needs to be verified.

There are many genealogy sites on the internet and the site you visit may or may not be free to you. Genealogy is a big business, more then what you might imagine, Genealogy as a hobby has been growing rapidly over the past few years and the competition for your subscriptions and purchases of related research material from for profit sites is fierce and at times intense.

When researching if you suddenly find yourself on an internet page that asks for a credit card or to make a financial contribution before you can have access to the information I would pass over that site until you know if it is legitimate or not. Concentrate on the websites that offer free services and free access first.


Lets take a look at the Cemetery Databases that are important for the leads they can provide for researchers. How do you research a cemetery when you live 2,000 miles away from the county your ancestors were buried in though? Wait for someone to transcribe them?

These records are slowly but surely being uploaded to the internet in a number of projects nationwide by volunteers who are recording the cemeteries where they live and may or may not have family ties to in order to provide free access to help other genealogists. With an estimated 250,000 cemeteries in the United States it's no small task.

USGenweb has The Tombstone Transcription Project which can be found at http://www.rootsweb.com/~cemetery/ Like it's other sites, access is broken down by State and County. Michigan also has a Tombstone photo project with a goal of providing a visual image of tombstones. That project can be accessed from http://www.rootsweb.com/~migenweb/

The cemeteries in Mason County can be accessed online and this database provided by The Mason County District Library contains about 26,000 entries to aid the researcher can be located at this web address http://ludingtonmichigan.net/mason-cem.html

Transcribing the Mason County Database took place over a number of years by volunteers and provides an important resource for researchers. Anyone can help, and volunteers are always welcome.

The database is listed both by cemetery and by alphabetical order and IF KNOWN contains information such as plot numbers, date of birth, date of death, burial date, and cemetery. Every ten years we have information recorded in the census but people moved around, passed away and were buried at times many miles from their home counties. Searching these databases can provide important information.

Another site online that you might enjoy is the http://politicalgraveyard.com it is exactly what the address implies, the most comprehensive listing of burial places of politicians. Look up Mason County, it's certainly interesting if not surprising as to who you will find.

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Every image used in the history columns is available for purchase from CLASSIC VIEWS for as a little as 1.00 for a 4x6 picture. T-Shirts, Mugs, Calendars and a wide assortment of other products are also available. Your purchase helps to support my efforts to place free history and genealogy resources online and offsets the costs associated with this effort.

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