Michigan Legislative Biography Database
The Library of Michigan is pleased to make available the Michigan Legislative Biography Database. Through the efforts of staff and numerous volunteers, we have developed a searchable repository of information, allowing researchers to compile lists such as “How many legislators were born in England?”; “Who were the first African American legislators?” or to discover facts such as when the first woman served in the legislature.
The Legislative Biography Database covers members of the Michigan state legislature from the first session following statehood in 1835 through the current session. Information available for the earliest members is sometimes scant but efforts are being made to gather what can be found. Over 5,500 have served in the legislature as of 2018.
Many thanks to the volunteers that have helped to make this database more complete!
This database is a work in progress. In some instances, default dates populate the birth and death fields. A date of “1/1/1800” or “1/1/1906” … is usually a default date for someone for whom partial data is available. See the notes in the individual’s biography for clarification. In some instances, conflicting information appears in different sources. On those occasions one date may be selected with a note in the 'notable facts' referencing the alternative information. Also, as a work in progress, all data has not yet been entered for all legislators. Occupations or party affiliation may be elusive, etc.
The search engine is very basic. ‘Keyword’ searching is more accurately character string searching and does not search all fields. Results will include only entries that include the exact word order entered in the search box. So, for example, if you want a list of legislators who had been both a lawyer and a physician, 2 searches should be executed and the result lists compared for members appearing on both lists. ‘lawyer, physician’ would only locate those with that string but not those entered as ’physician, lawyer’. Additionally, searches of any element combined with a session should be scrutinized because, for example, if searching for the Speaker of the House in a certain session, you might get multiple hits. They would include legislators that had been Speaker at some point and also served in the session selected, even if that were not the session in which he was the Speaker.
For addition search hints, please see the “About” section.
Thank you for using the database. If you have comments, suggestions or corrections, please share them via firstname.lastname@example.org. Corrections or additional information should be accompanied by source information for verification purposes.