The Slovenes represent a small but important microcosm of Michigan history. Thousands followed the pioneering missionary Frederic Baraga and settled in the mining regions and forests of the Upper Peninsula before many of them scattered to the auto industry of the Lower Peninsula in the early twentieth century. Everywhere they traveled and settled, they left a detectable imprint that was clearly Slovene. The first Slovene in Michigan, Bishop Frederic Baraga, traveled extensively throughout the state. In his wake, families such as the Vertins and Ruppes followed, each playing an important role in their communities. In many regions of the state, the most recognizable names, buildings, and businesses bear their names and illustrate the long-lasting influences of Slovenes on the history of Michigan. To understand the history of Slovene immigration in the Great Lakes is to better understand Michigan history.