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Researchers & Visitors

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
Kent County Michigan GenWeb Project
http://kent.migenweb.net/
Q. My family is from Kent County. Can you help me find them?
A. Our entire site is designed to help you in this task, but we probably won't have the complete, or even a partial, answer. The most important thing for you to do is know what you are looking for, and to understand some of the basic tools of genealogical research. County Coordinator Ronnie Aungst has prepared a guide to get you started -- "The Family History Book: A Guide to Beginning Your Genealogical Research." Some other good introductions can be found at Cyndi's List in her Handy Online Starting Points and How To categories. Once you are familiar with these ideas, you can start effectively using some of the tools on our site, and we have a better chance of delivering the information you need. Good luck!
Q. How can I find out if there is any information about my ancestors on these pages?
A. The best way to do this is use the various search engines. We have several kinds of search engines, all of which search different data repositories. We have one for all the pages located at the http://kent.migenweb.net/ URL, one for the documents in the USGenWeb archives, which is an FTP archive, one for the mailing list archives, and one for the GenConnect boards. Just type in the surname(s) you are looking for and review the results, which will link to pages with the actual information.
Q. How can I found out about a cemetery or about the burials of my relatives?
A. You'll want to visit our Kent County Michigan Master Cemetery List which has information on the locations, histories, maps and available transcriptions for all of the cemeteries in Kent County. This is the most important thing to do if you have any questions about cemeteries. Be forewarned, however, that it is a large page and may take a while to download on a slow connection. You can also visit the main page of our site, which has a drop-down menu of links to all the available online transcriptions in the middle of the right-hand column of the body, in the section labeled "Cemetery Transcriptions." Just click where it says "select here." We also have a list of quick links to cemetery transcriptions.
Q. I know my ancestor is buried in Cemetery X. Why isn't he or she listed in your records?
The cemetery transcriptions only have gravestone listings for stones that were there at the time of the reading. So cemetery readings from the 1930s, for example, will not have records of graves placed in the 1960s. We will not be able to add your ancestors to existing readings. This is not intended to disrespect your relatives or friends in any way, but to preserve the historical integrity of each cemetery reading, which has significance in its own right. If you would like to post your family burial records to the Internet, we suggest you use Interment.net's Kent County page.
Q. Where can I find obituary or death notice records for my relatives and ancestors?
A. Please visit our obituaries guide for a complete run-down of the various available online resources for full-text obituaries and obituary index lists. The most important is the WMGS Obituary Index which covers the period 1910 to present.
Q. I'd like to ask some of the other local researchers about my family. What's the best way to do that?
A. You'll want to post a query (another word for "question") on a number of places designed to accept them, and then cross your fingers that someone recognizes your family. The main place to do this is the Kent County Michigan Genealogy Message Board. Another place to post queries and discuss your relatives is on the Kent County mailing list.
Q. Where can I post my Kent County surnames?
A. You'll want to use the Message Board board discussed above. Put the surnames of interest to you in the surname box, one to a line, and in all caps. The query and the surnames box will indexed and included in the Kent Co. GenWeb Surname Index.
Q. How can I find out about a place in Kent County?
A. You'll want to start by visiting our Resources. There we have a list of all the townships, cities, towns, hamlets, crossroads', post-offices and settlements that we know of in Kent County, and all the geographical information we have for those places. Once you've ascertained that a place exists, you might want to visit our historical and contemporary maps of Kent County, to see if you can get a feel for the location of the place. Still can't find it? Let the County Coordinator know -- we'd love to learn more about the location for the benefit of future researchers.
Q. I found a post about a relative on the Biographies board. Who posted it? How can I contact this person to exchange information?
A. It depends on the biography. If the biography subject line ends in (Chapman 1881) it was probably posted as part of our biographies project by a volunteer. The designation (Chapman 1881) means that the biography was from the History of Kent County, published by Chas. C. Chapman & Co. in 1881. This person is probably not a relation, just someone who is interested in bringing this information online. The best way to tell whether the person who posted the information is interested in exchanging is if an email address is included with the message. However, whether or not there is an email address, if you find a relative, it is always a good idea to reply to the post with whatever additional information you have, and let future researchers that you have a mutual connection with the subject of the biography.
Q. Where can I get the portrait of my ancestor mentioned in his Chapman biography?
A. There are two options. The first is to contact the MIKENT-L mailing list and request that someone be so kind as to go to the library or to their personal copy of the book and photocopy the image and send it to you. The second is to use the WMGS research service and pay them to scan or photocopy the image and send it to you.
Q. Where can I find out about hospitals in the Grand Rapids area?
A. We have a page about Grand Rapids Hospitals under Medical for more recent information or you can read Chapter LXII: Medicine and Surgery from Baxter's 1891 history of the City of Grand Rapids. We also have several pages of helpful information -- current and historic -- in the hospitals and medicine section of our More Kent County Michigan History Links.
Q. Where can I found more about the Kent County Poor Farm (aka Kent County Community Hospital) and my ancestors who may have lived there?
A. We have some information on the Kent County Poor Farm as well as some background on the Kent County Poor Farm Cemetery, and a transcription of the stones from 1931.
Q. My ancestor was in the Old Soldiers' Home, Old Soldiers' Hospital or is buried at the Old Soldiers Home Cemetery in Grand Rapids. Where can I look for more information on him?
A. We do not have complete information on researching a resident of the Soldiers' Home, but we do have some starting points listed our Veterans' Home index page.
Q. How can I found out more about the history of my house?
A. The Grand Rapids Public Library has a circular on researching the history of houses in Grand Rapids and environs. It ought to get you started. In addition, you might want to visit our maps page, and see if any of the Kent County plat maps can offer you some clues.
Q. How can I find out more about the manufacturers of a piece of furniture made by a Grand Rapids area company?
A. The best thing for you to do is visit an art library or bookstore, but we do have some research resources online at our furniture resource page.  The Grand Rapids Public Library, 3rd Floor, has limited information on some of the furniture companies.
Q. How can I find out more about my Kent County ancestor who was in the armed forces?
A. You might want to stop by our military resource page and see if we have any links that are use to you.
Q. Where can I find school records to develop my genealogical research?
A. We have a school index page which includes links to contemporary school websites, school records and school histories.
Q. I found an item at a rummage sale which is from Kent County and I want to return it to its proper home. What can I do?
If it belongs with a particular family, and you want to try and find descendants who'd like it. We will place the information on our website for a limited time.  The Grand Rapids Public Library accepts most objects of genealogical and historical significance for their regional archives. They do a great job with things, and will send you a receipt for a tax deduction. You can inquire about the acceptability of your item by contacting the folks at GRPL.
Q. Where can I go to add a link to my genealogy home from your site?
A. You may submit genealogy online links to the county coordinator -  evlynsaw@comcast.net
Q. How can I get someone to do research for me in Kent County?
A. You will want to see if someone on our lookup list has volunteered to help researchers with the records you are interested in. Alternatively, you could pay a person or organization who offers a professional research services.
Q. What if I have additional questions?
A. Address them to County Coordinator, Evelyn Sawyer, by e-mail at:   evlynsaw@comcast.net

URL: http://kent.migenweb.net/admin/faq.html 
Created: 26 August 1999[an error occurred while processing this directive]