Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Rival Research Ohio vs Michigan

Library of Congress
The Toledo - Michigan Strip Records
When a war fails to produce even one casualty, and  the only shots fired were warning shots up in the air, not much is written on the conflict. Researchers are accustomed to finding an abundant of documents on wars but the Toledo War, also called the Toledo- Michigan War, or Michigan-Ohio War, 1835-1836, is mostly unknown.  This bloodless war stemmed from the pending ownership of the Toledo Strip.

Researcher Woes
Our ancestors may have settled in the Michigan Territory as early as 1805, with a large settlement encouraged by the 1812 War. But Michigan was not admitted to the Union until 1837. Of course Ohio had been admitted into the Union in 1803, two years before the establishment of the Michigan Territory. For information on the conflict read Settlement of Michigan Territory, George N. Fuller, written in The Mississippi Valley Historical Review.  Additional history can be found in ‘Governor In and Over the Territory Michigan,’ Michigan History Fall 1975, 153:170.

This conflict however has caused family researchers scrambling on both sides of the strips to find ancestral records. To add to the confusion, know that the settlers moved from one county to another and rarely stayed loyal to a community. 

A-B-Cs to Follow the Conflict

Toledo Blade, 26 Apr 2003
A.  Where's your Ancestor?
The first challenge is to locate your ancestors’ movements throughout the region. Starting with a full cluster of family unit names, we suggest you follow the Territorial Papers.  Territorial Papers were full of appeals, petitions and memorials to Congress where our pioneer ancestors signed their names for the records. 

B.  Who has Records / Documents?
Contact local, county and state repositories for possible deeds, wills and probates and land records. Know that they are rarely where you expect, and as usual counties shifted boundaries. 

C.  Star Record Group?
Many of the settlers served in the 1812 war. Fold3.com may have digitized your ancestors’ records.  Interestingly, the soldiers or widows petitions often include births and names of each child. It may also include full names of previous wives or subsequent husbands.  In one case we uncovered that both the husband and oldest son died in war.  These records were the key to unscrambling a pesky common surname research project. The same widow’s pension produced information on the marriage county and date, leading us to obtaining a copy of the original marriage record.

7 Key Research Suggestions

  1. The Territorial Papers of the United States, v.10. 11 and 12
  2. Michigan Pioneer and Historical Collections  vols. 36 and 37.  Other volumes may also be relevant.
  3. U. S. Serial Set. Petitions and memorials were uncovered in the files of the Senate and House of Representatives.
  4. Detroit Gazette. A nice collection for issues published between 1817 to 1827  has been digitized by Google News. There is also a splattering of 1828 issues.
  5. Toledo-Lucas County Public Library
  6. Western Michigan University Archives.
  7. Michigan- Toledo Strip Land Grants / Patents.  Using the “Michigan-Toledo Strip” Meridian for both Ohio and Michigan may give information on your ancestors’ residence and migratory path.
Expand Your Research
Nearby Ohio, Indiana and Wisconsin repositories also proffered relevant documents.
Kathleen Brandt - A Wolverine!
Accurate Accessible Ancestors