Ottawa County, Michigan Genealogy

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

County Facts
County seat: Grand Haven
Organized: December 29, 1837
Parent County(s): Mackinac[1]
Neighboring Counties
Allegan  • Kent  • Muskegon
See County Maps
Michigan, Ottawa County Courthouse.png
Location Map
Michigan, Ottawa County Locator Map.png

County Information[edit | edit source]

Description[edit | edit source]

The County was named for an Ottawa Nation. The County is located in the southwest area of the state.[2]

County Courthouse[edit | edit source]

Ottawa County Courthouse
414 Washington Ave.
Grand Haven, MI 49417-1473
Phone: 616-846-8310
Ottawa County Website

County Clerk has birth and death records from 1867, marriage and court records from 1847 and divorce records from 1863.[3]

Ottawa 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
1867 1847 1867 1947 1834 1844 1820
*Statewide registration started in 1867 for births and deaths. General compliance by 1915.

Record Loss[edit | edit source]

There is no known history of courthouse disasters in this county.

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]

Unincorporated communities
Census-designated places

History Timeline[edit | edit source]

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 Ottawa 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]

Historical populations
Census Pop.
1840 208
1850 5,587 2586.1%
1860 13,215 136.5%
1870 26,651 101.7%
1880 33,126 24.3%
1890 35,358 6.7%
1900 39,667 12.2%
1910 45,301 14.2%
1920 47,660 5.2%
1930 54,858 15.1%
1940 59,660 8.8%
1950 73,751 23.6%
1960 98,719 33.9%
1970 128,181 29.8%
1980 157,174 22.6%
1990 187,768 19.5%
2000 238,314 26.9%
2010 263,801 10.7%
Source: "".

1790, 1800, 1810, 1820, 1840, 1850, 1860, 1870, 1880, 1890, 1900, 1910, and 1920 US Federal Censuses for Ottawa, Michigan can be found at FamilySearch Record Search. Free searchable name indexes and images are available for most census years.

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.

First Presbyterian Church

  • The seventy-fifth anniversary of the Organization of the First Presbyterian Church of Spring Lake, Michigan, Rev. A. Meengs, Minister / 1928 at Free online

List of Churches and Church Parishes

Court Records[edit | edit source]

Directories[edit | edit source]

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 Ottawa County courthouse and where records are currently housed.

Local Histories[edit | edit source]

Local histories are available for Ottawa 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]

Muskegon CountyKent CountyAllegan CountyMI OTTAWA.PNG
Click a neighboring county
for more resources

Migration[edit | edit source]

Military Records[edit | edit source]

Civil War
Civil War service men from Ottawa County served in various regiments. Men often joined a regiment or a company (within a regiment)that originated in their county. Listed below are the military units that were formed in or had many men from Ottawa County.

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 Probate 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 Ottawa County. For state-wide archival repositories, see Michigan Archives and Libraries.

Family History Centers[edit | edit source]

Family History Center and Affiliate Library Locator map - search for local Family History Centers or Affiliate Libraries

  • 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 Affiliate Libraries

Libraries[edit | edit source]

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

Museums[edit | edit source]

  • Coopersville Area Historical Society and Museum
    363 Main Street
    Coopersville, MI 49404
    Phone: 616-997-7240

Societies[edit | edit source]

Listed below are societies in Ottawa County. For state-wide genealogical societies, see Michigan Societies.

  • Coopersville Area Historical Society and Museum
    363 Main Street
    Coopersville, MI 49404
    Phone: 616-997-7240
  • Grand Haven Genealogical Society
    c/o Loutit Library
    407 Columbus
    Grand Haven, MI 49417
  • Holland Genealogical Society
    c/o Herrick Public Library
    300 River Avenue
    Holland, MI 49423
  • Western Michigan Genealogical Society
    c/o Grand Rapids Public Library
    111 Library Street NE
    Grand Rapids, MI 49503-3268
    Website Facebook

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, "Ottawa 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, "Ottawa County, Michigan," in Wikipedia: the Free Encyclopedia, wikipedia accessed 10 November 2019.