Category Archives: Michigan


Which Court Do I Go To?

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Let’s say you need to file for divorce, or want to sue someone in small claims court, or need to probate an estate – when you try to get started, you quickly realize that there are several or even dozens of different courts in your county! Which court should you go to?

In most states, each county has a variety of different types of courts to handle different types of cases. These courts may all be located in one Courthouse, or they may be located in different buildings across the county. In other states, such as California, there is … Read More

Interactive Maps for Everyone

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If you are looking online for a map either for a city, county or state, there is a good chance that there will be an interactive GIS (Geographic Information System) map that will meet your needs.  GIS maps are interactive maps that combine geographic information with a variety of data such as assessed values, neighborhood information, political boundaries, crime statistics, utilities, natural features, topography, police and fire services including many more categories. 

Not too many years ago, GIS maps were still in the development phase and available only at a limited number of agencies.  However, GIS maps are now wonderful … Read More

Do You Need a Lawyer?

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Since most people go through most of their lives without interacting with the court system, it can be confusing when one is suddenly forced to interact with that system. Imagine that tomorrow you discover you have a legal problem. “Do I need a lawyer?” may well be your first reaction. The easy answer for any legal problem is yes, you should talk to a lawyer, even if the lawyer then says you don’t really need a lawyer. But you don’t know any lawyers – this being your first encounter with a legal problem – and lawyers cost money. Maybe you … Read More

Trace Your Oakland County, Michigan Ancestors Online

The Oakland County, Michigan Clerk has recently added a new online genealogy research service. This service allows you to search for and order marriage and death records that have occurred in Oakland County. This site currently provides access to records dating back to 1941; however older records are gradually being added into the system.

You can search for marriage and death records by name. To narrow your results, you can enter the year of death or marriage. Marriage index results provide the names of the bride and groom as well as the date of marriage. Death index results show … Read More

Online Tools Take Some Pain Out of Parking Tickets

Recently, I returned to my car after running an errand and discovered one of those dreaded parking ticket envelopes under my windshield wiper. Yes, the meter had expired, but when I opened the envelope, it was empty. Elation mixed with confusion – had I received a parking ticket or not? Was the empty envelope some sort of parking ticket “warning?” Unsure of whether and how to submit payment without a citation number, I forgot about the incident, and two weeks later a Second Notice of Parking Ticket came in the mail with a $25.00 late charge on top of the … Read More

Using National and State Archives to Find Public Records

The internet is a treasure trove of public record information.  Great sources for such information are national and state archives. Archives often store valuable geneology material such as vital records, military records and naturalization records, as well as historic photos, maps, land records, surveys, and voter and political records.

A number of the archives offer some of their collections for online review, while other items must be reviewed in person. For example,  the National Archives offers for online viewing photos from World War II, historic documents such as the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution, as well as census records … Read More

Conservatorships and Guardianships

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This week in the news, conservertorships and guardianships were a regular topic for discussion as one of the world’s biggest pop stars was placed under a conservatorship run by her father.  What exactly is a conservatorship, and how does it work?  A conservatorship occurs when a court issues an order allowing a person, business, or entity to have control over another person or entity.

In a conservatorship, the person with the control is called the conservator, while the person or entity being controlled is called the conservatee. A court will only appoint someone as a conservator if it is shown … Read More

Public Record and Social Security Numbers

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Identity theft could happen to any one of us at any time. According to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), about 9 million Americans become victims of identity theft every year. Identity theft is when someone steals your personal information and uses this information to commit further crimes. The type of personal information typically stolen includes social security numbers and credit card numbers. These thieves may use your stolen identity to write bad checks under your name, take out loans, apply for credit cards, get government benefits, or even get a job.

Identity theft is such a serious crime because it … Read More

Two Big FOIA Rulings Made By The Michigan Supreme Court

This month the Michigan Supreme Court ruled on two issues that could have a serious influence on the rights provided through the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA). As with most FOIA cases, the issues of privacy vs. access to information engaged in battle. In this round, it appears the privacy won. Many have called these decisions a “blow to the FOIA.

Both decisions involved public universities. The first decision involved state employee contact information. A case brought against the University of Michigan by the American Federation of Teachers (AFT) Michigan for being refused access to certain employee information. In that … Read More