NMU is a local government records depository for the state of Michigan, which means the Archives maintains archival records of local governments in the central UP. Rather than these permanent historical records going to Lansing, they remain here in the UP accessible to the public. Ishpeming’s former City Clerk contacted Marcus about old city records that they had on file. She wanted them transferred to the Archives to be properly cared for. Marcus, the former City Clerk, and the former City Manager of Ishpeming had a meeting about these records. Shortly after the meeting, the city clerk retired and the city manager left for a new job.
A few months ago, Marcus contacted Mark Slown, the current City Manager, about the old city records. On Tuesday, July 14th, University Archivist Marcus Robyns, Records Analyst, Sara Kiszka, and student employees Annika Peterson and Prince Parker, took a trip to Ishpeming City Hall. We were on a mission to look through the ledgers and books that contained information about the city. We met up with Karen Kasper, our Genealogy Specialist and Research Consultant, at ten o’clock at City Hall.
Shortly after a small greeting with the wonderful staff in the building, the archives team went straight to work. Mark Slown took us to the basement of the building where most of their records are kept so we could begin our search. Marcus pointed out that we were looking for information that would be of use to historians and genealogist. The records were in a back room. The door was closed, which had caused a lot of dust to accumulate. We only looked through the ledgers and books that City Hall had no space for.
Marcus determining which records we should keep
After two hours of hard work finding the information that was of use to the archives, the team went to lunch with the very nice Mark Slown, who offered to buy us lunch. Ending our break, we got back to work transferring all the materials from the building to the van. After moving many books and ledgers, it was time to head back to the Records Center in Marquette where the records were put in storage for inventory. Annika just finished an inventory of the material and will be completing the accession record shortly. The collection will be processed at some point in the hopefully near future.
Some of the materials in the collection are voter registration records dating from the 1880’s–1930’s, a registration book enrolling women to vote right after the 19th amendment, cemetery records from 1900-1940, birth records for the year 1900, correspondence about local government issues, Many volumes are from the Public Works department, which was in charge of the water, the sewers, and the highways. They contain general correspondence, payroll, and specifications for the sewers.
It was a very dirty job, but someone had to do it, so we took on the challenge and won.
The end result: boxes and ledgers neatly stacked on temporary shelving at the Records Center until the collection can be processed
Written by Prince Parker