Evening at the Archives: Genealogy

Evening at the Archives Poster

Are you interested in learning about your family history? Do you have roots in the Upper Peninsula area, or are you interested in local history? Are you curious about genealogy methods and resources?

If so, come to Evening at the Archives: Genealogy on November 6th at 7 PM! This  two-hour event is free to the public and there will be refreshments. The presentations will be at the Archives in room 126 of the LRC.

Featured topics will include how to research the history of your house, how to use our microfilm machines, what our new collection of materials from Bethany Lutheran church contains, and what collections might benefit your genealogy. (Spoiler Alert!: Any collection can potentially be useful for your genealogy. However, there are a few types of records that are traditionally quite helpful for genealogists, and we will focus on these records.)

Although the event will focus on Marquette County and Upper Peninsula genealogy, some of the material will be helpful to genealogists regardless of the location of their research. For instance, we will explain what can be found in city directories, naturalization records, church records, plat maps, and other types of resources. We will also talk about what genealogical resources can be accessed through NMU’s Olson Library and the Peter White Library in Marquette.

Common misconceptions about local Ishpeming records and mine locations will be discussed as well as frequently asked questions about naturalization.

If you are definitely coming to the event, please RSVP at archives@nmu.edu or (906) 227-1225. However, no RSVP is required. We look forward to seeing you!

Written by Annika Peterson

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New Student Assistants at the Archives!

The Archives recently hired five new student assistants. Below is a brief introduction to each of them and the specific projects that will be their primary focuses at the Archives:

Kelley Kanon is the new Web Design Specialist for the Archives. She will be maintaining existing websites for the NMU Archives, Beaumier Heritage Center, and other local historical institutions and organizations. She will also be creating new websites, including a new genealogy website and an online exhibit about student protests at Northern.

Kelley hails from the Flint, Michigan area but has cheerfully adapted to her home in the Upper Peninsula. Kelley is a junior Graphic Communications major who would one day like to work for a car company. The things that make Kelley happiest in life are pomegranate juice, mascara, wolves, the Assassin’s Creed series, Game of Thrones, and her sisters in Alpha Gamma Delta.

Jessica Ulrich is the new Accessioning Specialist. She will be accessioning new collections for the Archives. Accessioning is taking physical and intellectual ownership of a group of records. It includes creating an inventory and brief description of the material and making sure that the materials are stored in a state that will preserve them.

Jessica is from Fenton, Michigan, and she is studying Physiology among other thrilling subjects while at Northern Michigan University. When not in class, or dreaming about Vienna, she can be found outside exploring all that the Upper Peninsula has to offer. If she could be any dinosaur, she would be a brontosaurus.

565016_539753982705892_935333341_n_wide.jpgPeter Dewan is the new Educational Outreach Specialist. He will be planning educational outreach events for the Archives and running our social media sites.

Peter is a marketing major from East Lansing, Michigan. On the weekends he can be found exploring the great outdoors. Peter also enjoys playing the guitar, reading, running, eating snicker-doodle cookies and listening to some Norah Jones.

IMG_20141007_162828296_HDR_tall.jpgPrince Parker and Stefan Nelson are our new Records Survey Technicians. They will be helping Records Analyst Sara Kiszka and Records Center Coordinator Morgan Paavola to perform a records survey of campus. This survey will determine which records from each department on campus should be preserved either temporarily or permanently.

Prince is a Psychology major with a minor in biology from Grand Junction, MI. On Monday and Thursday nights he can be found cuddled up on the couch watching The Big Bang Theory and Scandal. He enjoys running, swimming, and hiking. Currently, he is volunteering with the Student Psychological Association (SPA).

Stefan Nelson is a Fisheries and Wildlife Management major from Stillwater, Minnesota. He enjoys playing soccer and tennis and is an avid cross country skier. He likes doing most anything and everything in the outdoors like camping, fishing, hunting, and hiking. Stefan enjoys reading fantasy among other things. He enjoys learning about various historical documents.

 

 

Prepared by Annika Peterson

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History of Student Organizations: Amnesty International, NMU Chapter records

Students and faculty of Northern Michigan University have always engaged in a variety of extracurricular activities on campus. Student organizations at the University have come and gone throughout the years, ranging from special interests to academic advancement. Amnesty International, NMU Chapter is one such student organization. This collection highlights the involvement and dedication of students at Northern Michigan University on a global scale during the 1980’s and 1990’s.

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Amnesty International was created in 1961, after two Portuguese students were arrested and sentenced to seven years in prison for allegedly making a toast to “liberty”. The organization quickly became a global movement in opposition to “the imposition and infliction of death penalties and torture or other cruel, inhumane or degrading treatment or punishment of prisoners or others detained or restricted persons whether or not they have used or advocated violence.”(Amnesty International Statute, Article 1, 1981). Amnesty International does not, however, impede the prosecution of alleged crimes or provide legal representation; their focus is solely on the humane treatment of prisoners abroad.

The Northern Michigan University Archives contains the Amnesty International, NMU Chapter records dating from 1980 to 1987. The collection consists of meeting minutes, news releases, articles, and audio tapes of speakers. The Chapter held public lectures, bake sales, petitions, and public video showings to raise awareness on campus and in the community. Guest speakers included Alexander Ginzburg, a Soviet dissident and advocate for nonviolent resistance against human rights violations. During the week of December 18, 1981, NMU hosted Human rights week with a program that included a lecture presentation by 1976 Nobel Peace Prize winner, Betty Williams, panel discussions, and documentaries on human rights violations. Williams was awarded the prize for her efforts to end the violence between the Catholics and Protestants in Northern Ireland. She also discussed the uprisings in Ireland at the time. The Archives’ audio collections include related presentations by Senator Raul Manglapus (December 10, 1982), and Savana Malachowski (April 4, 1982, and December 10, 1983), and other human rights panel discussions from 1981. The public may access these recordings at any time during the Archives’ normal business hours.

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Support for NMU student John Peirce was the Amnesty International, NMU Chapter’s most important campaign. Peirce was imprisoned on May 15, 1981, in Lima, Peru, and charged with a narcotics offense. In a memo describing his situation, Peirce stated that he had been severely tortured, was suffering from hepatitis and severe gastro-intestinal problems, and threatened with death. The prison was built to hold only 1,500 inmates but was crammed full with 6,000. NMU students took action by urging fellow students, faculty, and politicians to send telegrams and airmail letters expressing serious concern. As reports of poor health and torture persisted, student letters began urging the Peruvian government to immediately transfer Peirce to a hospital for medical treatment. They also began to express concern for the health and well-being of other detainees in the Peruvian prison.

Click the link for the finding aid to the NMU Chapter of Amnesty International

Prepared by Morgan Paavola

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Homecoming through the Years

This week is homecoming at Northern Michigan University. To celebrate, we thought we would share some photos from past homecomings.

Northern held its first “homecoming” in 1924 when the school invited alumni to come to a Northern-Tech football game. However, homecoming did not become an annual tradition until 1935. Activities at this time included a king and queen competition, tug of war, pep meeting, parade, bonfire, football game, and dance.

Two of the quirkier homecoming traditions were the bonfire and the snake dance. In the snake dance, students joined hands and ran across campus. This usually ended in the bonfire location. Over time, the bonfire became a “mourning ceremony” in which the “coffin” of the opposing team was burnt.

Below are two pictures from the 1950s, one of the bonfire and another of a homecoming float against Michigan Tech.

19531957At Northern, homecoming, despite occurring in September or October, can sometimes be a wintry event. For instance, this picture from the homecoming game of 1971 shows Jamrich greeting the homecoming court in a snowstorm.

1971In this photo from 1976, students participate in a tug-of-war event in a cold pond. Note the snow on the ground and the winter jackets.

1976Traditionally, homecoming also included a dance. This photo from 1972 shows one such dance.

1972 5Over the years, Northern students have invented many interesting floats. Below is one such creation from 1980 (apparently, the “underwater basket weaving” joke is older than many may have thought).

1980 6 - 2Another parade photo (no date) shows us an older and more ferocious conception of Wildcat Willy.

n.d.Another tradition at Northern is the Dead River Games, held on the Sunday before Homecoming Week. The earliest photos we have which explicitly call the event the “Dead River Games” are from the 1990s. However, we do have photos from 1979 which depict a very similar event:

1979 - 11979 - 2Below are two more possible “Dead River Games” photo from 1980 and 1982 respectively:

1980 6 - 31982During the 1977 and 1978 homecomings, Northern landed in the Guiness Book of World Records twice. In 1977, Northern played the largest ever game of musical chairs on Memorial Field. This is what the early rounds of the game looked like:

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1977The winner of the game was Mary Lynn Webster, pictured below in her winning moment.

1977 3In 1978, Northern created a distinctly Yooper world record: the largest pasty. Here is an image of the creation of the dough and the cooking of the finished product:

1978 21978Written by Annika Peterson

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Churches of Marquette and other Religious Affiliated Collections at the Archives

The Central Upper Peninsula and Northern Michigan University Archives contains several collections relating to history of Christian religious organizations in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. These manuscript records document the different stories through original correspondence, journals and reports of financial and sacramental records. The number and variety of collections are suitable for extensive research on the history of religious conviction in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan.

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St. Peters Cathedral, Marquette, Michigan

                      

Majority of the collections pertain to the history of Catholic groups and Churches in Marquette. Before the city of Marquette was established the area had been explored by Missionaries with the intent to convert natives and immigrants in the area. Marquette, Michigan, was named in honor of a French Jesuit missionary Father Jacques Marquette (1637-1675). Father Marquette founded Michigan’s first European settlement, Sault Ste. Marie, and explored much of what is known today as Upper Peninsula. Today, a large number of Christian denominations are active in the region, including, Presbyterian, Methodist, Lutheran, Episcopalian, Catholic, Greek Orthodox, and Jehovah witness.

Participation in religious associations and activates eased the transitions to a new land. Italian’s are just one of many nationalities to settle in the mining and lumber towns. In 1965, Msgr. David Spelegatti founded the Paisano Club as a benevolent society for Italian immigrants and their children. The Msgr. David P. Spelgatti papers document the early years of the Pisano Club and the activities of St. John’s Catholic Church of Ishpeming, Michigan. Msgr. Spelgatti served the St. John the Evangelist parish from 1958 to 1991.

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In 2005 a presentation commemorating St. Louis the King Catholic Church describes the history of the St. Louis the King Catholic Parish in Harvey, Michigan from 1955 to 2005. St. Louis the King Catholic Church was formed in 1954 in Harvey, Michigan, just south of Marquette. After a groundbreaking ceremony for the first church structure in 1955, the congregation grew to nearly 700 families by 1999. A new church structure was opened in 2000 and he original church building became the church social hall. The church operates the Annual Chocolay Summerfest, contributes to the local parish school system, and has had six pastors since its inception. The Episcopal Diocese of Northern Michigan records detail the history and the growth of the Church in the Upper Peninsula. The Archives maintains related religious collections, such as; the St. Paul’s Episcopal Church records, St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church records, and First Methodist Church records.

Within other collections you can find leading figures in Marquette’s history including Peter White, Which can be found in the St. Paul’s Episcopal Church records. Peter White is well-known for his contributions to the building of the city of Marquette and major contributions establishing the Peter White Public Library.

Shortly after the Civil War, immigrants from all over Europe began to settle in the Upper Peninsula forming close communities based a similar background’s and common language. Immigrants from Cornwall and other areas of Great Britain began arriving in the Upper Peninsula in the 1840s. They took jobs as iron and copper miners and were members of the Anglican Church. In 1854, the Episcopal Diocese of Michigan expanded to the Upper Peninsula and built two churches in Houghton and Ontonagon, Michigan, to address the religions needs of Cornish miners. In 1891, the Dioceses appointed Gershom Mott Williams as the first Archdeacon of the Upper Peninsula. Later in 1895, the archdeaconry became the Episcopal Diocese of Marquette with Archdeacon Williams consecrated as the first Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Northern Michigan.

For more information The Archivist File is open for browsing or scroll through the Manuscript Finding Aids or contact the Archives staff.

Written by Morgan Paavola

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Collection Spotlight: The Cambium Club Records

CambiumThe Cambium Club was a student organization for Biology majors and minors at Northern. The name cambium “refers to the vital tissue in the stems of trees and shrubs which makes possible continued growth and development over a period of years” and was supposed to symbolize the students, who were the “cambium of the biological future”.

It was formed in December of 1938 at a meeting at the house of Dr. Luther West (the namesake of the West Science building). A 1960s pamphlet described the activities of the club:

“They socialize–you know, eat cookies, drink Hawaiian Punch and talk semi-intelligently with one another. Sometimes they climb Hogsback Mountain, and sometimes they have camp parties with lots of food, horseshoes, and Pepsi Cola. Sometimes they get serious and listen to speakers who know something about careers in teaching, in medicine, in pharmaceuticals, in microbiology, in fish and wildlife, in forestry. They watch good movies about biology. They pick up litter or plant trees or just make themselves useful in other ways. In other words, the Cambium Club is sort of a coed Biological Boy Scouts. The Cambium Club doesn’t give merit badges, but coed Boy Scouts can be fun, anyhow.”

Members attended talks given by Northern professors and guests on topics such as “Some of my Worst Experiences in Biology”, “The Fishing Habits of the Huron Mountain Club”, “Insects Affecting Farm Animals”, “How Not to Get Lost”, and “The One-Celled Animals of Michigan”. One presentation by Dr. Hunt, “Magic in Chemistry”, “consisted of interesting chemical experiments that were enjoyed by all”. They also watched movies such as “How to Construct a Sanitary Pit Privy” and “The Budding of Yeast”.

The Cambium Club went on collecting trips to Little Presque, Seney, and Saint Ignace and planned environmental teach-ins.  They were also responsible for creating and maintaining trails in Longyear Forest and for running an annual science fair and science newsletter for UP high school and NMU students. The Cambium Club also ran an exhibit every year. Over the years, their exhibits included a Foucault pendulum showing the rotation of the Earth and a vivisected turtle whose heart was subjected to salts while students watched.

Perhaps the most intriguing aspect of the Cambium Club was their strange initiation ritual. Prospective members had to write an essay on a topic assigned to them by Cambium members. Topics included “Theories of Causes of Monsters and Anomolies”, “Recent Developments in Hydroponics”, and the “Histogenesis of Leukocytes”. If the paper was approved, students were admitted into the club. During the initiation ritual, Cambium members played the roles of various tree parts, such as “Worthy Cork Cambium”, “Worthy Chloroplast”, “Faithful Keeper of the Annual Rings”, “Epidermal Stoma”, “Medulary Ray”, and the “Principal Storage Cell”. Then, a quartet consisting of a Song Sparrow, Tree Toad, Snowy Tree Cricket, and a Katydid (played by Dr. West) sang a song entitled “The Sad Fate of a Youthful Sponge”. The new members became “undifferentiated parenchyma” who could progress to more specialized roles in the club as time went on.

Sadly, interest in the Cambium Club and its bizarre rituals waned over time, and the club ceased to exist in 1970.

The Cambium Club records include financial records, meeting minutes, publicity and events materials, and photographs. For more information about this collection, check out our finding aid!

Blog PictureWritten by Annika Peterson

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Collection Highlight: Seney National Wildlife Refuge collection

If you have ever traveled down state highways 28 or 77 to get to Marquette, you have driven along the borders of the Seney National Wildlife Refuge. Located between the small town of Seney, Michigan, and the Hiawatha National Forest, the Refuge is just one of the many beautiful national parks in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan.morganone

In 1935, the Michigan Conservation Department recommended that the Federal Government redevelop the heavily logged area near Seney as a wildlife refuge. Today the 95,238 acres includes the 25,150 acres of the Seney Wilderness Area as well as Whitefish Point, Harbor Island, and other scattered National Wildlife Refuges that harbor migratory birds and other wildlife.
The Seney National Wildlife Refuge collection contains the Annual Narrative Reports from 1938-1982 highlighting the rebuilding of the area. These reports provide extensive and detailed descriptions of climate conditions, resource management, fire control, types of species and their condition, land use planning, pesticide studies, water management practices, and habitat management. The collection also includes brief histories of the towns of Germfask and Grand Marais which are located near the refuge.

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Harvey C. Saunders papers are also included in the collection. Harvey Saunders spent 16 years working for the Refuge and as a supervisor for the Civilian Public Service (CPS). During World War II the federal government operated CPS camps for conscientious objectors. The Seney National Wildlife Refuge was also the site for federally funded programs such as the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) and the Works Progress Administration (WPA). Saunders began writing about his time as a supervisor and working for the Wildlife Refuge in detailed letters and journals. His memoirs, for example, offer researchers a unique window into the workings of the CPS camps and the life of their inhabitants.

The Seney Wildlife collection contains many photographs from the rebuilding of the wetlands and the preservation center. For more information about this collection see the finding aid.

Another collection at the Archives, the Elizabeth Losey Papers, also concerns the Seney National Wildlife Refuge. Betty Losey was the first female field biologist for the National Wildlife Service. For more information, see the finding aid to her collection or our blog post about her.

To learn more about the Seney wildlife refuge, click here.

Written by: Morgan Paavola

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