Some background information on the Michigan Legislature may be important in searching this database.

Length of sessions: 1st and 2nd sessions were 2 years; 3rd -16th were 1 year; those following were generally 2 years but occasionally they only met during one of the years. See Michigan Manuals for details on sessions. Many Manuals, from 1836-1922, are available in full text online via the HathiTrust at http://catalog.hathitrust.org/Record/000060510. The first Michigan Manual to include a biographical sketch of each legislator was the 1873 edition. Manuals from 1999 forward are available at http://mileg.org or http://www.legislature.mi.gov/(S(lv12xko5rixlnmnuyst3oafj))/mileg.aspx?page=MichiganManual

Terms of Office: The 1963 Constitution changed the senate term from 2 years to 4 years [Article 4 section 2] elected in the same year as the governor.

An amendment to the 1963 Constitution, in 1992, Section 54 of Article IV, which became effective in 1993, limits the length of time any individual may serve as a member of the Legislature. Since its enactment one may not be elected to the Senate more than twice or to the House of Representatives more than three times. Consequently, the turnover in membership in both houses of the Legislature is markedly higher than in past decades.

Many thanks to the volunteers that have helped to make this database more complete!

Notes on Data fields:

All information is culled from publicly available sources.

Name: The full first name is entered whenever possible even though some legislators often used their initials.

AKA name: Some names are found with different spellings even in ‘official’ sources, such as the Michigan Manuals. This field offers the opportunity to identify variations.

Gender: The gender of a legislator is generally not specified in sources. One must surmise the information based on name, photo, when available, pronouns used by contemporary writers or census records. Lacking those indicators, the field is left blank.

Age at Election: This figure is calculated by the program based on birth year entered and the first election date. If no birth year is available this will be blank.

Birth, Death and Burial information: The entry form date requires mm/dd/yyyy. If only a year is entered, 01/01/yyyy is the default. In such instances, a note is made in the Notable Facts field to clarify the information.

Marital Information: Spousal and children’s names are gathered from various sources, such as US Census records and local histories. This may cause individuals to be missed or counted more than once; for example, the name the census taker was given for a person changed from one census to another.

Religion: Some standardization has been attempted. For example, Catholic has been used for Roman Catholic, otherwise the term used in a bibliographic source has been utilized in the record.

Military Service: Some sources name military conflicts, some give years in the service without naming a place of service. Information was entered as stated in the source(s) used.

Occupation: Some standardized terms have been used. Lawyer and physician are consistently used for attorney and doctor. However, it is difficult to be consistent with those engaged in various forms of business without, perhaps, distorting what an individual did. Terms change over time and contemporary terms were maintained rather than misrepresent an occupation by applying a modern term in place of an archaic one. Therefore, there are merchants and businessmen, manufacturers, people in insurance, lumbermen (vs. woodsmen) ... Many biographies describe business-like activities without quite naming an occupation. If someone dealt in real estate, were they a realtor or a land speculator?...

Race: Race is not always indicated in literature on legislators and, therefore, cannot always be included in an entry. Races used on the data entry form include: African American, Negro or Black; Aleut; American Indian or Native American; Asian or Pacific Islander; Caucasian or White; Eskimo or Inuit; Hispanic; and Other.

Education: names of schools are entered as they appear in the sources used. Some school names have changed over time; for example, the Michigan Agricultural College became Michigan State University; Michigan University became University of Michigan…

Reason For Leaving: Reason for leaving includes: Chose not to run; Died; Expelled; Lost Election; Lost Primary; Resigned; and Term Limited.

Keyword searching: Keyword only searches a few fields. It searches Notable facts; Marital Information; Biographical sketch; Education; Religion; and Cemetery. It does not do Boolean searching. Rather it does character string searching, matching the word or phrase exactly as entered on the search form.