Guide to Ernie's Site

Keywords - Any name or other word that is on the caption line beneath the picture of a letter is searchable.

By Date - Put in a specific date to find a specific letter.

By Year - Put in a specific year to bring up all of the letters from that year.

County - You can search by county name to find cities we have letters from, or search by the city name directly.  Some cities you will find under their counties:

            Allegan County - Allegan City, Otsego, Saugatuck

            Berrien County - Niles, St. Joseph, Bertrand, Berrien Springs

            Branch County - Coldwater, California, Union City, Quincy

            Calhoun County - Battle Creek, Marshall, Homer, Tekonsha

            Cass County - Cassopolis, Edwardsburg, Dowagiac, Dover

            Genesee County - Flint, Fenton, Grand Blanc

            Hillsdale County - Jonesville, Pittsford, Somerset, Litchfield, Hillsdale

            Jackson County - Jackson, Norvell, Grass Lake, Leoni, Brooklyn, Napoleon

            Kalamazoo County - Kalamazoo, Galesburg, Schoolcraft

            Kent County - Grand Rapids, Kent, Sparta

            Lapeer County - Almont, Bristol, Farmers Creek, North Branch

            Lenawee County - Adrian, Tecumseh, Blissfield, Clinton, Ogden

            Livingston County - Pinckney, Brighton, Livingston, Hamburg, Unadilla

            Macomb County - Armada, Mount Clemens, New Haven, Utica

            Monroe County - Monroe, Bay Settlement, Whiteford

            Oakland County - Birmingham, Commerce, Farmington, Kensington, White Lake

            Ottawa County - Grand Haven

            Saginaw County - Saginaw, Frankenmuth

            Saint Clair County - Port Huron, Fort Gratiot, St. Clair

            Saint Joseph County - Constantine, Centreville, Three Rivers, Sturgis, White Pigeon

            Shiawassee County - Owosso

            Washtenaw County - Ann Arbor, Ypsilanti, Chelsea, Dexter, Manchester, Lima

            Wayne County - Detroit, Dearborn, Borodino, Nankin, Livonia, Northville, Plymouth

Categories - You can search by the following categories:

19th Century Michigan Letters - Letters using stamps to pay postage from April 1,1855, when pre-paid stamps became mandatory, until Dec.31,1900.

20th Century  - Letters written from Jan. 1, 1901 until Dec. 31, 2000.

Michigan Advertising - Letters that have advertising printed on them; many of the most attractive letters in a collection. Also included are what stamp collectors call corner cards -- letters with a decorative printed return address from a business or professional person.

American Home Missionary Society - The largest portion of these letters were written by Michigan missionaries to the home office of the AHMS. Other religious denominations are also included in this category.

Black History - Letters from or about African-Americans.  This history extends into the modern age since it is still being written.  These letters and information are not meant to be offensive; they must be taken in the context of the times in which they were written. It is my hope that these letters will be a help to African-Americans trying to find their genealogical roots and heritage, and also help to promote better understanding and tolerance  between all Americans.

Campbell Family Letters - Letters to or from the Campbell family of Cobblestone Farm, now a museum, in Ann Arbor.

MI Covers -The front of letters, including the address and postal information.

Ernie's Ann Arbor Broken Ring - A series of letters from 1855 to 1863 bearing the Ann Arbor broken ring cancel.  These letters show the change of postage during the Civil War, when the Union changed to a different postage so that the South couldn't use the same postage.

Ernie's Michigan Collection - Letters that are now, or have been, in my personal collection.

MI Fancy Cancels - These letters bear fancy cancels used in Michigan cities.

Letters to Foreign Destinations - Letters sent from a Michigan city to another country that made their way back to Michigan and into a collection.

MI Free Franks - A mark indicating that no postage should be charged for the letter. Postmasters and members of congress were allowed to send letters postage-free.

MI Genealogy - Letters to or from someone with a Michigan connection. I attempt to list as many as names as possible on the caption line so that you may search for a name using the Keyword line to find your target person.

German Language Letters - Letters written in German and sent to or from a Michigan city.  In the future I hope to make translations available.

Hampden-Ann Arbor Cancels - Letters canceled with the straight line machine cancel in the summer of 1888, and letters with the Humpback Hampden cancel from Sept. 16, 1888 until May 1889.

Machine Cancels - Letters that were canceled by a machine instead of by hand.

Manuscripts - Letters where the postal information was written in longhand cursive instead of a Circular Datemarking Device (CDS -- Circular Date Stamp) being used.

Michigan Stampless Letters - Letters written between Jan. 27, 1837 and the date when prepayment of postage became compulsory on April 1, 1855.

Michigan Territorial - Letters written between July 1, 1805 and Jan. 26, 1837.

Northern Michigan - I hope to add letters to this category soon.

Ohio Toledo Strip Letters - Letters sent during the time of the war between Ohio and Michigan over the land in the Toledo Strip.

MI Post Cards - Postal information written on postcards, some of which are colorful and present pictures of Michigan.

Railroads - Letters sent by railroad, or relating to the railroads in Michigan.

Michigan Waterways - Letters carried by ship, boat, or steamboat part of the way to their destination.

Wisconsin/ Michigan Territory - Letters sent from or to cities in what finally became parts of Wisconsin or Iowa, but were a part of the Michigan Territory until July 4, 1836.

Navigating the site - You can use as many of the categories as you choose to search for letters that meet all of your criteria.  You will need to keep your personal list to fewer than 300 complete letters for all of the navigation tools to work correctly. If your list is too large, try to narrow your search. For example, search only one year at a time.