The Map


The Map

A Map of Fiddlers (from the OMFA 1986 book) Born or Operating in Michigan Prior to 1940 

By A. Trae McMaken

The creation of this map was an excercise in demonstrating the extent of fiddling in Michigan during the period in question. Fiddling was a ubiquitous aspect of social life. It becomes apparent from an examination of the historical and secondary accounts that there were likely many, many more fiddlers than shown on the map. Countless fiddlers lived and died in relative obscurity. The apparent lack of fiddlers in the Upper Peninsula is the result of a lack of written sources, not necessarily a lack of fiddlers. The presence of the lumber industry in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan as well as lively traditions of French and Finnish fiddling and common fiddle gatherings indicate that there is also a big history of fiddling in the UP.

I claim no ownership or authorship of the information contained in the map. The "entries" derive from other sources, primarily the 1986 Original Michigan Fiddlers Association book. I merely used the information from other sources to create the map.



My Criterion

  • Leave out people who obviously learned in old age, despite being born prior to the cut off.
  • Estimate at the lowest possible point -- i.e., if "fiddlers" are mentioned it can be counted as no more than two.
  • Fiddlers are only used if I can locate them somewhere, even if I have a name, I must have some kind of location. Locations are sometimes supplemented from the census records.
  • Obviously, people move, so I locate according to census locations or a place they lived early in their life. Some of these people moved sooner rather than later, but I err to a location from early in their life except for those people who moved to Michigan from far away, such as those from Tennessee or Finland, simply because they would be off the map, or because they spent the majority of their lives in Michigan. In those cases, I used where they located in Michigan.
  • Relatives mentioned are located in the "homeplace" of the person, unless other information available.
  • Parents with unknown birth dates are simply moved back 20 years from the date of their child and slapped with a "ca." Grandparents are moved 40 years. I treat each generation as an assumed 20 year gap. This is highly arbitrary and problematic, so keep this in mind.
  • Locations are approximate, spaced enough to be individually discernable at the default map zoom distance.

Tips for Understanding Historical References

  • The old-timers in Michigan used violin and fiddle interchangeably, or even tended towards violin. In some cases, a person played the violin, but the act of playing was "fiddling."
  • An orchestra could be a different concept than the use of the word, now. An organized dance band could be called an orchestra. See Robert Murphy, OMFA 1986, 140-141 for one example.

Fiddlers from Places Outside Default Range of Map Who Played or Lived in Michigan

1. "Hart" Snider. Perry County, Indiana. See near Kalamazoo.
2. J. Homer Rayburn, Morrison Tennessee. See near Niles.
3. Fred J. Schultz, Essen Germany. See near Imlay City.
4. Dorsey and Iola May "Peg" Lawrence. North Carolina. See near Detroit.
5. Restore A. Douglass. Ca. Pittsburgh, PA. See in Mecosta County.
6. Ray Shepherd. Royalton Kentucky. See in area of Adrian, MI.
7. Forest Warren. Kitchen, Milan, Missouri. See in Wayne CO. area.
8. Aarre K. Lahti. Helsinki, Finland. See in Ironwood, Gogebic Co. area.


(click on a red marker on the map to see the source used to identify the fiddler)  

Michigan Fiddler Map

Michigan Fiddler Map

Michigan Fiddler Map

Created by A. Trae McMaken

Created using

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