Little or nothing is given away for free though. The search results indicate only that your search term was found in an article on such-and-such a date, and you might get the headline of the article and, if the article is more than a couple hundred words, you might get the first sentence or two. You won't get the part that includes your search term unless it happens to be in either of those two snippets.
You must purchase access to see the full article. A single article is $3.95, and there's a range of other purchase options. I purchased the right to access 10 articles during a 24-hour period for $11.95, but before I did so, I had searched and chosen all ten articles, leaving each search result open in a browser tab. I then made my purchase and returned to each tab to download the PDF of each article.
Three of them were exactly what I had expected (two marriage notices for which I already had documentation and a real estate transaction around the time of my great-grandfather's death); four were shot-in-the-dark (sort of) research about other possible descendants of my ancestors which turned out to be pretty interesting; the rest seem to be irrelevant so, while I did keep a digital copy of each, I did not bother to print those out for my hard files.
On the whole, I found this less than user-friendly for general info-hunting, considering the cost. If you don't know exactly what you're looking for and when it happened, you could pump a small fortune into this method of finding out, and still not find out. If you have a small fortune to spend, I will say it's quicker than reeling through ninety years of microfilms scanning every page for names of interest to you. If you have more time than money and free access to microfilms of these archives, you could certainly search here first and take notes on what dates to look up in the microfilm, because these search results include do the page numbers.
The marriage notices I found were simply announcements of marriage license applications. They included nothing but the names and ages of brides and grooms.
The real estate transaction was something I did not expect. Although the article title was "Real Estate Transfers," the date was a week or two after the death of my great-grandfather, Felix Hauer, so I suspected I would find a death notice in the same column directly below the real estate transactions. However, there were indeed not one but two real estate transactions between Felix and J. N. Wolfslayer, the first and last in a list of sixteen:
- Felix J. Hauer to J. N. Wolfslayer, lot 22 of Wesson's sub of p. cs. 644 and 723 (April 20)... $400
- J. N. Wolfslayer to Felix Haure [sic], lot 22 of Wesson's sub of p. cs. 644 and 723 (April 24)... $400
I'm not sure, but I think J. N. Wolfslayer was John Wolfschlager, the brother of Felix's mother, i.e., his uncle. [Update: I now think J. N. Wolfslayer was Felix's cousin John N., son of Andrew Anton Wolfslayer, another of Felix's uncles.]
Over the years, I've seen a number of these back-and-forth real estate transfers in my family history research. I'm not sure what's accomplished by them. Leave a comment if you can enlighten me!
This is my first encounter with Detroit real estate records--I've never looked for deeds in Detroit, despite having several ancestors who lived there. Reader, if you've done any deed research in Detroit, I'd like to hear about your experience, particularly pertaining to deeds in the 1800s-early 1900s.