Berrien County, Michigan Genealogy
Guide to Berrien County, Michigan ancestry, family history, and genealogy birth records, marriage records, death records, census records, family history, and military records.
|Berrien County, Michigan|
Location of Michigan in the U.S.
|Founded||October 29, 1829|
|Address|| Berrien County Courthouse|
811 Port St.
St. Joseph, MI 49085
Phone: (269) 983-7111
Berrien County Website
- 1 County Information
- 2 County Courthouse
- 3 History
- 4 Places/Localities
- 5 Resources
- 5.1 Cemeteries
- 5.2 Census
- 5.3 Church
- 5.4 Court
- 5.5 Emigration and Immigration
- 5.6 Land
- 5.7 Local Histories
- 5.8 Maps
- 5.9 Military
- 5.10 Newspapers
- 5.11 Obituaries
- 5.12 Probate
- 5.13 Taxation
- 5.14 Vital Records
- 6 Societies and Libraries
- 7 Websites
- 8 References
The County was named for John M. Berrien. The County has St.Joseph as its seat and the County was created October 29, 1829. The County is located in the southwest area of the state.
Berrien County, Michigan Record Dates
County Clerk has birth and death records from 1867,
marriage records from 1831, naturalization records 1835-1985
and military records from 1918.
Probate Court has probate records from 1832.
Register of Deeds has land records from 1831.
Clerk Circuit Court has divorce and
court records from 1835. 
- Berrien County is in the far southwest corner of the lower peninsula of Michigan, and includes the towns of Berrien Springs, Benton Harbor, St. Joseph, and Stephensville.
1829--Berrien County was created 29 October 1829 from unorganized territory. It was attached to Cass County prior to organization 1 September 1831. County seat: St.Joseph 
For animated maps illustrating Michigan county boundary changes, "Rotating Formation Michigan County Boundary Maps" (1790-1897) may be viewed for free at the MapofUS.org website.
There is no known history of courthouse disasters in this county.
|Tombstone Transcriptions Online||Tombstone Transcriptions in Print||List of Cemeteries in the county|
|Findagrave.com||Family History Library||Findagrave.com|
|See Michigan Cemeteries for more information.|
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.
- Records of the American Lutheran Church, Baroda, in Evangelical Lutheran Church in America database at Archives.com ($).
Emigration and Immigration
Land and property records can place an ancestor in a particular location, provide economic information, and reveal family relationships. Land records include: deeds, abstracts and indexes, mortgages, leases, grants and land patents.
See Michigan Land and Property for additional information about early Michigan land grants. After land was transferred to private ownership, subsequent transactions were usually recorded at the county courthouse and where records are currently housed.
Local histories are available for Berrien County, Michigan Genealogy. County histories may include biographies, church, school and government history, and military information. For more information about local histories, see the wiki page section Michigan Local Histories.
- Maps of Michigan (1790-1897)
- Family Maps of Berrien County, Michigan Genealogy (land patent maps) at HistoryGeo.com ($). Free surname search.
Civil War service men from Berrien 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 Berrien County.
- - 12th Regiment, Michigan Infantry, Companies B, C, E, I, and K
- - 17th Regiment, Michigan Infantry, Company B
Finding More Michigan Newspapers
Additional newspapers abstracts can sometimes be found using search phrases such as Berrien County, Michigan Genealogy newspapers in online catalogs like:
- Southwest Michigan Obituary Index from the earliest date to 2000.
- 1820-2006 - Michigan Obituaries, 1820-2006 at FamilySearch — index and images
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.
The FamilySearch Catalog lists films of probate records. To find the records for this county, use the Place Search for Michigan, Berrien and search for Probate records in the list.
- Note: Not every county in Michigan will have Probate Records in the FamilySearch Catalog.
Online Probate Records
- 1784 – 1980 Michigan Wills and Probate Records 1784-1980 at Ancestry.com — index and images $
- 1797 – 1973 Michigan Probate Records 1797-1973 at FamilySearch — images
Vital Records consist of births, adoptions, marriages, divorces, and deaths recorded on registers, certificates, and documents. A copy or an extract of most original records can be purchased as shown below:
- Birth Records and Death Records from the Michigan Department of Community Health (from 1867) or the County Clerk's office of the county where the event occurred.
- Marriage Records (from 1867) and Divorce Records (from 1897) from the County Clerk.
- Marriage Records (from 1867) and Divorce Records (from 1897) from the County Clerk.
- 1867-1917 - Michigan, County Births, 1867-1917 at FamilySearch — index and images
- 1867-1902 - Michigan Birth Registrations, 1867-1902-- Free name indexes and images at FamilySearch. Records include such information as name of child, birthdate and place, if still-born, illegitimate or twin, gender, race and record number.
- 1585-1945 - Michigan, United States Marriages at FindMyPast — index $
- 1820-1937 - Michigan, County Marriages Index, 1820-1937 at FamilySearch — index
- 1820-1940 - Michigan, County Marriages, 1820-1940 at FamilySearch — index and images
- 1868-1925 - Michigan Marriage Registrations, 1868-1925 -- Free name indexes at FamilySearch. Records include such information as names of bride and groom, date of license, ages, race, residences, birthplaces, occupations and names of the fathers of the bride and groom.
- 1850-1880 - Michigan Mortality Schedules, 1850-1880 at FamilySearch — index and images
- 1867-1897 - Michigan Death Registrations, 1867-1897 -- Free name indexes and images at FamilySearch. Records include such information as name of deceased, date and place of death, gender, color, marital status, age in years, months and days, disease or apparent cause of death, birthplace, names and occupations of parents, and the date the record was made.
Societies and Libraries
Berrien County Genealogical Society
PO Box 8808
Benton Harbor 49023-8808
Four Flags Area Genealogical Society
PO Box 414
Niles MI 49120-0414
Ft. Miami Heritage Society Of Michigan
708 State St.
St. Joseph 49085
Galien Woods Historical Society
708 Galien-Buchanan Rd.
North Berrien Historical Society
300 Coloma Ave
PO Box 207
Coloma MI 49038
Family History Centers
Family history centers provide one-on-one assistance and free access to premium genealogical websites. In addition, many centers have free how-to genealogy classes. See family history center for more information. Search the online FHC directory for a nearby family history center.
- St Joseph Michigan Family History Center 3653 Niles Ave, St Joseph, MI 49085 United States
- Berrien County, MI History, Records, Facts and Genealogy
- Michigan Genealogy Network Community on Google+
- Michigan Genealogy Network Group on Facebook
- FamilySearch Catalog
- The Berrien County MIGenWeb Project, an member of The MIGenWeb Project, an affiliate of The USGenWeb Project.
- Berrien County MI Genealogy (Michigan Genealogy)
- Wikipedia contributors, "Berrien County, Michigan" in Wikipedia: the Free Encyclopedia, "https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Berrien_County,_Michigan."
- Handybook for Genealogists: United States of America, 10th ed. (Draper, Utah: Everton Pub., 2002), Berrien County, Michigan . Page 343-351 At various libraries (WorldCat); FHL Book 973 D27e 2002; Alice Eichholz, ed. Ancestry’s Red Book: American State, County, and Town Sources, Third ed. (Provo, Utah: Ancestry, 2004), 346-349.
- Handybook for Genealogists: United States of America, 10th ed. (Draper, Utah: Everton Pub., 2002), Berrien County, Michigan page 344, At various libraries (WorldCat); FHL Book 973 D27e 2002.
- The Handybook for Genealogists: United States of America,10th ed. (Draper, UT:Everton Publishers, 2002).