The Detroit Public Library has some free, online collections helpful for genealogy and family history research including:

  • Wayne County Death Record Index For the years 1934-1953. “An index to original records held at the Burton Historical Collection, Detroit Public Library.  These records do not include deaths that occurred within the City of Detroit.  All indexes compiled by Ruth McMahon.”

  •  E. Azalia Hackley Collection  “Many rare books, manuscripts and archives of performing artists are available to serious researchers. The archives include materials on organizations such as the Motown Recording Company, the National Association of Negro Musicians, on dancers Rael Lamb and Lavinia Williams, singer Roland Hayes and many other concert and opera singers. … The Photographic and Print Collection contains items dating from the mid-19th century to the present, including portraits of performers, organizations, vocal and instrumental groups and still photographs from black films and stage productions. Among the many rare items in the collection are an original photograph of the Fisk Jubilee Singers and a large collection of photographs by Carl van Vechten of prominent Black performers.”

  • Burton Historical Collection Portrait collection and photos and archives of the Detroit Public Library


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