All of the three books listed below have a small section covering each state that includes maps, historical information, vital records coverage and a bibliography of resources for that state.
Family History Library
Bookmark or print out these FHL documents:
Use the catalog at the FHL to find out what has been filmed covering the state of Michigan
- Click View Related Places in the upper right to find sources that have been filmed for the county you are researching
- Once there click View Related Places in the upper right to find sources that have been filmed for the township or city.
- You will want to check for resources in all three jurisdictions, although most people check the county holdings first, township next and state last.
Don't even think aboout starting research without a map at hand !
All County Sites
Next, see what is available for your counties of interest at at one of these multi-county resource sites . For each, use the county selection list to find out what is available for the various counties. Content will vary.
Libraries Archives & Societies
Cemetery * Census * County Histories * Naturalizations * Newspapers * Vital Records
Michigan Cemetery Records:
Michigan Census Records
In addition to federal census records, there are state census schedules for Michigan.
Michigan County Histories
- Michigan Biographical Index -- indexes biographical information in these publications. A publications list specifies what books have been indexed, with links to online copies and purchase information when known. Some of the publications indexed here are not included in the online library mentioned below. This blog lets keeps you updated on this indexing project.
- A searchable digital library of Michigan County Histories is available on line. Once you have a view of the page you want, choose image, pdf or text to view. (The advantage of choosing text is that you can cut and paste.)
Naturalizations: see Your Guide to Naturalization Records for an overview.
Michigan Vital Records
Vital records can be found in bouth county and state records. Some Detroit records can be otained only from the City of Detroit.
- Births and deaths that occurred and were filed with the state since 1867. Some of the records (especially pre-1906 births and pre-1897 deaths) were not filed with the state and can only be obtained from the counties. There are few pre 1867 official birth or death records in Michigan.
- Marriages were recorded in all counties from the beginning of the formation of the couny; state copies begin with 1867. Many marriage pre 1867 records are available from the counties; some marriages (especially pre-1926) were not filed with the state and can only be otained from the county.
- Divorces 1897 can be ordered from the State Vital Records Office. Some divorces (especially pre-1924) were not filed with the state.Records can also be obtained from the county in which the event was recorded and earlier record can only be obtained from the county.
- To get information about vital records, check the Michigan Vital Records (official page) or the Vitalrec Michigan Page.
- The Library of Michigan maintains a Michigan County Clerks Directory.
- A guide to Michigan vital record research lists all records available at the Library of Michigan.
- See what has been filmed by the Family History Library -- all but 9 counties in Michigan allowed filming of some portion of their vital records.
- Online Michigan Death Indexes and Records
- Be sure to check FamilySearch.org's Pilot Project which has these Michigan records online
(NB: if you don't find a record there, don't assume it doesn't exist)
- Seeking Michigan is putting online Michigan Death Records 1897-1920; it is now 99% complete.
- Online Birth and Marriage Indexes (scroll down to the Michigan section)
- But this fails to mention The Dibean Michigan Marriage Index, which covers a massive number of marriages in Michigan. (the link titled "Search the New Marriages" is really a search of all marriages) .
- Search the IGI to see if an birth or marriage has been submitted or extracted. Most will be be 19th or very early 20th century. Limit your search to Region: North America country: United States and then choose Michigan from the drop down in the next box)
- Remember: sometimes records are kept by the city, not the county. In Michigan that is the case with some later Detroit birth and death records, (births since 1894, deaths since 1897) which can only be obtained from the city of Detroit.
Finally, check out Michigan Black Sheep Ancestors
Some Notes on Detroit Research
- History of Detroit: maps (these are early)
- 1807 plan of Detroit (once you have opened it, click to enlarge)
- 1873 map (click on it to enlarge)
- 1885 Atlas of the City of Detroit and Suburbs (you can search this and view it page by page)
- 1891 Detailed Official Atlas (try viewing it full screen, then enlarge or zoom in)
- 1895 map (once you have opened it, click to enlarge)
- 1930 Detroit Map (click on each to enlarge)
Libraries and Archives
- The Detroit Public Library (Burton Collection) has a run of paper copies: 1837,1845, 1848, 1850-1941 and 1953-1974 lacking some years.
- Detroit City Directories available online
- One of the most common questions about Detroit research is how to find the records of Eloise.
- I found this very interesting 2006 blog on the topic. There are two links in the blog, neither of which is now active.
- This is from the Archives of Michigan and offers further advice.
- Tales of Eloise doesn't give information about the records of Eloise, but has a lot of information on its history. The various sections are in small print on the picture at the top. You have to look to find them.
- Books about Eloise
Work with Other Reserchers
Leave a query on a Michigan county message board or see if one of the volunteers at Random Acts of Genealogical Kindness: Michigan can help you.