This is the second post in my series about records that are not online, and perhaps never will be. In preparing to start compiling my portfolio for certification, I decided on the family I want to write about: my paternal grandmother Ruby Chase Reed, her father Henry Hickox Chase and his mother Mary Ann Hickox Chase. Each of them have fascinating stories, and I'm fortunate to have lots of original records that I received from my grandfather's estate in 1974. In looking over the records, I realized that I didn't have some basic information - such as wills or probate records. So I wrote, and then called the Manistee County Probate Clerk to see about getting those.
I had known that Henry Hickox Chase died in the Traverse City State Hospital in 1940; what I didn't know was that the Manistee County Clerk had a treasure chest of papers, waiting to be discovered. She described it on the phone as a packet of guardianship records, and just said that there were "lots" of papers. It would have cost me $1 per page to have them photocopied, so I emailed my cousin (who lives in Benzonia County, the next county north to Manistee County), and asked if she could do me a huge favor and go the courthouse to take digital photos. She and her husband drove down that very afternoon, and took 75 digital photos of the papers, some of which were too fragile to be photocopied.
Courthouses all across the country are filled with papers like these!