Muskegon County, Michigan Genealogy

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Guide to Muskegon County, Michigan ancestry, genealogy and family history, birth records, marriage records, death records, census records, family history, and military records.

County Facts
County seat: Muskegon
Organized: February 4, 1859
Parent County(s): Ottawa[1]
Neighboring Counties
Kent  • Newaygo  • Oceana  • Ottawa
See County Maps
Courthouse
Michigan, Muskegon County Courthouse.png
Location Map
Michigan, Muskegon County Locator Map.png
Adoption

County Information[edit | edit source]

Description[edit | edit source]

The County was named for the Muskegon River. The County is located in the west-central area of the state.[2]

County Courthouse[edit | edit source]

Muskegon County Courthouse
990 Terrace St.
Muskegon, MI 49442
Phone: 616-724-6221
Muskegon County Website

County Clerk has birth, marriage, death, divorce and court records from 1859.
Probate Court has probate records.
Register of Deeds has land records. [3]

Muskegon County, Michigan Record Dates[edit | edit source]

Information for this chart was taken from various sources, often containing conflicting dates. This information should be taken as a guide and should be verified by contacting the county and/or the state government agency.

Known Beginning Dates for Major County Records[4]
Birth* Marriage Death* Court Land Probate Census
1859 1859 1859 1959 1839 1867 1820
Statewide registration started in 1867 for births and deaths. General compliance by 1915.

Record Loss[edit | edit source]

1874 A fire in 1874, destroying a quarter of the business district and 200 homes. 1887 A fire destroying many buildings on Pine Street at Webster. 1891 known as the Pine Street fire, destroyed 17 city blocks and 250 buildings including the original court house.

For suggestions about research in places that suffered historic record losses, see:


Boundary Changes[edit | edit source]

Populated Places[edit | edit source]

For a complete list of populated places, including small neighborhoods and suburbs, visit HomeTown Locator. The following are the most historically and genealogically relevant populated places in this county:[6]

Cities
Villages
Unincorporated communities
Census-designated places
Townships


History Timeline[edit | edit source]

Additional Information
Muskegon County is located on the western side of the Lower Peninsula of Michigan and borders Lake Michigan. Muskegon County was originally inhabited by the Ottawa Indians. The first visitors to the area now known as Muskegon County were the fur traders and missionaries in the late 1700s and early 1800s. The trading posts came and went during this period but regard is given to Jean Baptiste Recollett's trading post that was opened near the mouth of Bear Lake in 1812. Louis Baddeau bought a trading post in 1834 which is the present site of the Indian Cemetery on Morris Ave. Mr. Baddeau is generally given the distinction of being the first permanent white settler in the area. Muskegon's name comes from the Chippewa word - Muskego - meaning "river with marshes".
The fur trading era, 1810 thru the late 1830's, was followed by a booming lumbering era from the late 1830's until 1900. The first sawmill construction, built by Benjamin H. Wheelock, began in 1837 on Muskegon Lake with operations commencing in 1838 and by the 1870s 26 mills were in operation .

Resources[edit | edit source]

Bible Records[edit | edit source]

Biographies[edit | edit source]

Business, Commerce, and Occupations[edit | edit source]

Cemeteries[edit | edit source]

Cemeteries of Muskegon County, Michigan online and in print
Tombstone Transcriptions Online
Tombstone Transcriptions in Print (Often more complete)
List of Cemeteries in the County
See Michigan Cemeteries for more information

 

Census Records[edit | edit source]

State Census

Church Records[edit | edit source]

Church records and the information they provide vary significantly depending on the denomination and the record keeper. They may contain information about members of the congregation, such as age, date of baptism, christening, or birth; marriage information and maiden names; and death date. For general information about Michigan denominations, view the Michigan Church Records wiki page.

Dutch Reformed Church

  • De Eerste Christelijke Gereformeerde Gemeente, 1867-1917, Muskegon, Michigan. Published: Grand Rapids, Mich., The Cargill co., 1917 at babel.hathitrust.org. Free

First Congregational

  • History of First Congregational Church, Muskegon, Michigan, compiled by James W. Verduin, 1959 at babel.hathitrust.org. Free

First Reformed

  • Souvenir history of the First Reformed Church of Muskegon, Diamond Anniversary 1859-1934 at babel.hathitrust.org. Free

Lutheran

  • Records of the Our Savior's Lutheran Church, Muskegon, in Evangelical Lutheran Church in America database at Archives.com ($).


List of Churches and Church Parishes

Court Records[edit | edit source]

Directories[edit | edit source]

Muskegon County, Michigan Online Historical Directories - identifies historical city, county, business and other directories available online on both and pay-to-access websites.

Emigration and Immigration[edit | edit source]

Ethnic, Political, and Religious Groups[edit | edit source]

Funeral Homes[edit | edit source]

Genealogies[edit | edit source]

Guardianship[edit | edit source]

Land and Property Records[edit | edit source]

Land and property records can place an ancestor in a particular location, provide economic information, and reveal family relationships. Land records include: deeds, abstracts and indexes, mortgages, leases, grants and land patents.

See Michigan Land and Property for additional information about early Michigan land grants. After land was transferred to private ownership, subsequent transactions were usually recorded at the Muskegon County courthouse and where records are currently housed.

Local Histories[edit | edit source]

Local histories are available for Muskegon County. County histories may include biographies, church, school and government history, and military information. For more information about local histories, see the wiki page section Michigan Local Histories.

Maps and Gazetteers[edit | edit source]

Oceana CountyNewaygo CountyKent CountyOttawa CountyMI MUSKEGON.PNG
Click a neighboring county
for more resources

Migration[edit | edit source]

Military Records[edit | edit source]

Civil War

Online Indexes and Records

World War I

Naturalization and Citizenship[edit | edit source]

Newspapers[edit | edit source]

Obituaries[edit | edit source]

Other Records[edit | edit source]

Periodicals[edit | edit source]

Probate Records[edit | edit source]

In most counties in Michigan, probate records have been kept by the county judge. They include wills, fee books, claim registers, legacy records, inheritance records, probate packets, and dockets. The records are available at the county courthouse.

Online Indexes and Records

School Records[edit | edit source]

Social Security Records[edit | edit source]

Tax Records[edit | edit source]

Michigan tax records complement land records and can be used to supplement the years between censuses. Because only persons who owned taxable property were listed, many residents were not included in tax lists. There may also be gaps of several years in the tax records of some counties. For more information see the Wiki page, Michigan Taxation.

Vital Records[edit | edit source]

  • Birth Records and Death Records from 1867 can be obtained from the Michigan Department of Community Health or the County Clerk's office of the county where the event occurred.
  • Marriage Records from 1867 and Divorce Records from 1897 can be obtained from the County Clerk.

Birth[edit | edit source]

Marriage[edit | edit source]

Death[edit | edit source]

Divorce[edit | edit source]

Research Facilities[edit | edit source]

Archives[edit | edit source]

Listed below are archives in Muskegon County. For state-wide archival repositories, see Michigan Archives and Libraries.

Family History Centers[edit | edit source]

Family History Centers provide one-on-one assistance, free access to center-only databases, and to premium genealogical websites.
FamilySearch Affiliate Libraries have access to most center-only databases, but may not always have full services normally provided by a family history center.

Local Centers and Libraries

Libraries[edit | edit source]

Listed below are libraries in Muskegon County. For state-wide library facilities, see Michigan Archives and Libraries.

Museums[edit | edit source]

  • Lakeshore Museum Center
    430 West Clay Avenue
    Muskegon, MI 49440
    Phone: 231-722-0278
    Website
There are 6 different museums to visit.

Societies[edit | edit source]

Listed below are societies in Muskegon County. For state-wide genealogical societies, see Michigan Societies.
Muskegon County Genealogical Society
316 Webster Ave.
Muskegon MI 49440
Website Facebook

Montague Historical Society
c/o Montague City Hall
8778 Ferry Street
Montague, MI 49437
Website

Muskegon County Historical Society
173 E. Apple Ave.
Muskegon, MI 49442
Phone: 231-724-6271
Website

Websites[edit | edit source]

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The usage of "Mormon" and "LDS" on this page is approved according to current policy.


Research Guides[edit | edit source]

References[edit | edit source]

  1. Handybook for Genealogists: United States of America, 10th ed. (Draper, Utah: Everton Pub., 2002), Michigan.At various libraries (WorldCat); FHL Book 973 D27e 2002.
  2. Wikipedia contributors, "Muskegon County, Michigan" in Wikipedia: the Free Encyclopedia, wikipedia
  3. Handybook for Genealogists: United States of America, 10th ed. (Draper, Utah: Everton Pub., 2002), Michigan.At various libraries (WorldCat); FHL Book 973 D27e 2002.
  4. Handybook for Genealogists: United States of America, 10th ed. (Draper, Utah: Everton Pub., 2002), Michigan.At various libraries (WorldCat); FHL Book 973 D27e 2002.
  5. Handybook for Genealogists: United States of America, 10th ed. (Draper, Utah: Everton Pub., 2002), Michigan.At various libraries (WorldCat); FHL Book 973 D27e 2002.
  6. Wikipedia contributors, "Muskegon County, Michigan," in Wikipedia: the Free Encyclopedia, wikipedia accessed 06 November 2019.