Helen Collar Biographical Papers

In the late 1940s Helen Collar began researching Beaver Island's history. Over the next fifty years, she continued her project, using research in records as well as conversation with Island residents to amass a trove of information. After Ms. Collar's death in 1996, her research material was donated by her family to the Clarke Historical Library.

The Biographical card are the largest group of material that were obtained and are arranged alphabetically by family surname and represent information gathered from various sources. 

Editors' Notes

  • (Letters Q, U, X, & Y have no entries)
  • The information is written on approximately 1,300 5" x 7" index cards, which are each labeled with a family name. Because of the large Irish population, there are many cards with the same surnames. The editors have arranged these entries alphabetically by surname, then by first name. The original order of the cards within the boxes has been preserved; however, some rearrangement of the entries has been necessary.
  • It is clear that information was entered over a period of many years, but it isn't always obvious which information is first. Sometimes, the author asked questions and later they were answered. This can often be determined by the different writing style or pen. Researchers are encouraged to examine the original manuscript if possible, in addition to this transcript.
  • Strikethroughs are in the original.
  • Brackets [ ] are used by the editors for clarity; italics within the brackets are editors' comments and not those of Ms. Collar.
  • and are sometimes difficult to distinguish, as well as G, D, and I.
  • Often names are spelled in more than one way, sometimes due to differences found in the records the author consulted. The editors have reproduced the spellings as found in the original manuscript.
  • All question marks are the work of the Ms. Collar, unless in brackets.
  • Punctuation has been added for clarity.
  • Where the author used ditto marks, the editors have written out the word.
  • The collection includes some duplicate entries that were not repeated in the typescript.
  • The author used the word over to indicate information continued on the back of the card. This word was not included in the typescript.
  • Gall is often used as an abbreviation for Gallagher, and sometimes Gill for Gillespie.
  • Where the author used arrows to connect information the editors have indicated this in a footnote.
  • The author used several people as sources. These names are noted at the beginning of the information attributed to that source. For instance, "Maria," " Lawrence," and "Protar." Several written sources were used, for example, Northern MichiganHistory of the GrandTraverse Region, and Milwaukee Journal.
  • There are frequent references to page numbers, but it cannot always be determined what they reference. These page numbers are commonly found at the top of the index card.
  • The words By and Before often appear at the top of a card, followed by a date. The author means that the family arrived on Beaver Island by this date or before this date.