Newspaper Indexing

The Van Buren Regional Genealogical Society, working with the Van Buren District Library, has spearheaded a project to compile computer indexes to Southwest Michigan area newspapers. The project is entirely volunteer, with some working from their homes and others at the Library.

The project indexes every individual, business, organization, etc., that appears in selected newspapers that are of a local (southwest Michigan) nature.

Currently, there are volunteers working on the following newspapers: Paw Paw, Bangor, Marcellus, Hartford, Gobles and Decatur.There are still many newspapers waiting to be adopted.If you have a computer and would like to work on the project from your home or, if you are able to do in-house indexing at the Van Buren District Library please contact the project coordinator, Toni I. Benson by email:

The Decatur (volunteer, Joan Jaco), Bangor (volunteer, Gail Snow) Marcellus, Paw Paw ( volunteer, Roxann Wilkinson) and South Haven (volunteer, (Karen Clinard) newspaper indexing projects are well under way and a database of the indexes are being made available on this website.Each database includes a surname (or proper name), given name, issue date, page number, column, and a code for the type of information indexed.Below is a list of the types of items indexed and their respective codes.

B - Birth
D - Death
V - Divorce
M - Marriage
E - Engagement
C - Correspondence
S - Business (not ad)
O - Organization
M - Miscellaneous
T - Obituary
R - Real estate transfer
L - Legal notices
A - Classified ads
G - Government
X - Miscellaneous
H - History
N - Military
Q - Taxes

Most early newspapers not only reported their own local news but that of surrounding communities.This community news is also indexed in the project and each locale also has a code.Below is a list of those communities that are represented in the project to date.

1 - Lawton 2 - Keeler 3 - Paw Paw 4 - Lawrence 5 - Hamilton
6 - Hartford 7 - Volinia 8 - Prospect Lake 9 - Little Prairie Ronde 10 - Barnes District
11 - Porter 12 - Sunny Lane 13 - Breedsville 14 - South Haven 15 - Cassopolis
16 - Decatur 17 - Holland 18 - Columbia 19 - Grand Junction 20 - Waverly
21 - Kalamazoo 22 - Pine Grove 23 - Bloomingdale 24 - Almena 25 - Jericho
26 - Kendall 27 - McDonald 28 - Benton 29 - Schoolcraft 30 - St. Joseph
31 - Geneva Station 32 -Bangor 33 - Casco 34 - Dowagiac 35 - Antwerp
36 - Silver Creek 37 - Marcellus 38 - Arlington 39 - Mattawan 40 - Niles
41 - Gobles 42 - Pine Plains 43 - Buchanan 44 - Galine 45 - Kalamazoo
46 - Berlamont 47 - Benton Harbor 48 - Cass County 49 -Sturgis 50 -Nicholsville
51 - Decatur Valley 52 - East Decatur 53 -  Allegan 54 - Glenwood 55 - Battle Creek

When correspondence produces a birth, death, marriage, engagement or divorce, it will need to be ended with a letter code.For example, the Keeler correspondence reports that Mrs. Anna Abbott passed away at her home last week; this would be coded as C2D:

C = Correspondence
2 = Keeler
D = Death

The databases are organized in alphabetical order by surname (or proper name) for ease in browsing.Searches may also be made using your windows editor.

Following is a list of those items that are indexed in the project:

Personal names
Real Estate Transfers
Organizations, groups, clubs, etc.
Legal Notices (not judges or other officials)
Stories and editorials (if of a non-fictional nature)
Authors of fictional stories if local
Anything for the following counties: Allegan, Berrien, Cass,
Kalamazoo, St. Joseph, Van Buren Counties

Things that are NOT indexed:
World, National or State news (outside listed counties above)
Fictional stories or poems
Celebrities or famous persons (such as Thomas Jefferson, Tom Mix)
Editorials of a general nature
Places (towns, villages, etc.)
General news, such as weather


Once an entry of interest is located, you can refer to the appropriate newspaper on microfilm at the Van Buren District Library, Decatur, or the Library of Michigan, Lansing.Unfortunately, there is no inter-library loan of newspapers on microfilm to any individual or library outside of Michigan from either facility.Requests for copies of the original page of the entry from the newspaper can be made to the Van Buren Regional Genealogical Society.There is a $3.00 fee for each request.A bulk rate discount fee for requests of 4 or more made at one time can be arranged.For quotes on bulk requests, send an e-mail enquiry to:Toni Benson .

Please send your request for copies with check or money order to:

Van Buren Regional Genealogical Society - NIP
P.O. Box 143
Decatur, MI49045

Links to newspapers that have been indexed -

Van Buren Republican - Decatur, Michigan

The Bangor Reflector - The Bangor Advance

The South Haven Daily Tribune

The Marcellus News

Paw Paw Newspapers

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