Michigan Map

Your Guide to Finding Michigan Ancestors

Wikipedia's Michigan entry gives facts and information about the state and you can click on any of the links at the bottom of the page for information about a county, city or other local informtion.

Michgian State Facts and Information (My Michigan Genealogy site) Move your cursor over the map to locate a county; Click on a county on the map to get facts and information for that county.

Outline of this page



Basic Guides

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.

  1. Handybook for Genealogists ( 11th edition) (find in a library) (note: some libraries may have earleir editions; those are usable)
  2. Ancestry's Redbook (you'll want the 3rd edition) (find in a library)
  3. The Family Tree Resource Book for Genealogical Research (find in a library)

Books you might purchase or find in a library are listed below

Audio-tapes of lectured given at genealogy conferences :
* Hansen. Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Michigan and Wisconsin: Research in the States of the Old Northwest Territory
* Dearborn. New Englanders to Michigan and Other Great Lake States
* Anderson. Michigan Research (notice this is quite old)
* Hodges. Migration to Michigan
* Riley. Using Michigan Manuscripts for Genealogy Research
* Riley. Treasures in the Library of Michigan's Abrams Foundation Historical Collection and the State Archives of Michigan
* Harvey. Michgan's 30,000,000 Vital Records and their Uses
* Callard. Genealogical Resources at the Library of Michigan (notice this quite old)
* Wiskerman. An overview of Michigan Genealogy (notice this quite old)
* Joslyn. Finding Your Michigan Ancestors in Upstate New York
* Griffin. Ontario Sources for Michigan Genealogists
* Callard. North to Michigan from Virginia and West Virginia
* Thomas. African Americans to Rural Michigan.
* Hodges. Ethnic Migration to Michigan
* Thomas. Michigan Land Records: A New Resourcs Source
* Eichholz. South to Michigan from Vermont, Ontario, New York

Online Guides

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.

Maps (For general information, see my page on Maps, Atlases and Gazetteers)

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

Find Records

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
  • 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


Libraries and Archives

City Directories

  • 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

Eloise Hospital

  • 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

Vital Records

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.

More Links

* Genealogy Today's State Gen Site: Michigan
Rootsweb: U.S. Resources: Michigan
* Genealink's Michigan Page
* Access Genealogy's List of Michigan Links
* Cyndi's List Michigan Page
* Linkpendium's Michigan Page

Return to Bobbie's Genealogy Classroom
This page was last updated May 5, 2018