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Isabella County, Michigan Genealogy

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


Isabella County, Michigan
Map of the U.S. highlighting Michigan
Location of Michigan in the U.S.
Founded March 2, 1831
County Seat Mount Pleasant
Address Isabella County Courthouse
200 N Main St.
Mt. Pleasant, MI 48858
Phone: (989) 772-0911
Isabella County Website

County Information[edit | edit source]

Description[edit | edit source]

The County was named for Queen Isabella I of Castile. The County has Mount Pleasant as its seat and the County was created 1859. The County is located in the central area of the state.[1]

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

Known Beginning Dates for Major County Records[2]
Birth* Marriage Death* Court Land Probate Census
1880 1880 1880 1880 1838 1859 1820
Statewide registration started in 1867 for births and deaths. General compliance by 1915.

County Courthouse[edit | edit source]

County Clerk has birth, marriage, death, divorce and court records from 1880. [3]

History[edit | edit source]

Isabella County
The county is located close to the geographic center of the lower peninsula of Michigan. While primarily rural in nature, Isabella County is also noted for it's oil and gas production and the manufacturing of machinery for industry, food service and wood products. Mt. Pleasant is the home of Central Michigan University and the Clarke Historical Library, the second largest genealogy and historical library in the state. Central Michigan University was opened in 1893 as the Central Normal School and Business Institute. The school was operated by the city of Mt. Pleasant until 1895 when it was taken over by the State of Michigan and became Central Michigan Normal School. CMU became a four year institution in 1918 and a university in 1959. The county also encompasses the Saginaw Chippewa Indian Reservation, home of the Soaring Eagle Casino. City, Town and Village Names

Parent County[edit | edit source]

1831--Isabella County was created 2 March 1831 from Mackinac County and unorganized territory. It was attached to Saginaw, Ionia, and Midland Counties prior to organization 11 February 1859.
County seat: Mount Pleasant [4]

Boundary Changes[edit | edit source]

See COUNTY EVOLUTION IN MICHIGAN, 1790-1897 by Richard W. Welch for the development of the counties in the state. This will help you to determine place of residence of your ancestors and under whose civil jurisdiction they resided. It is also useful for when you start to read the census records.

For animated maps illustrating Michigan county boundary changes, "Rotating Formation Michigan County Boundary Maps" (1790-1897) may be viewed for free at the website.

Record Loss[edit | edit source]

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

Places/Localities[edit | edit source]

Populated Places[edit | edit source]

The following is an alphabetical listing of cities, towns, and villages in Isabella County:

Many population places have several names that they were known by. Often, especially in Northern Michigan where the population was sparse and isolated, towns were named after places the people came from in southern Michigan, or their home state. When a post office was established another name was given to avoid mailing confusion. Places may also have been known by a prominent landmark, such as a saloon, hotel or sawmill. Towns and villages were often named after the person who first platted the land, and then later changed. In the 1870's railroad stations became local meeting places and appeared on plat maps as population centers. The railroad station served as a shipping and commerce point for the local area.

Isabella County has had 37 post offices (listing of Post Offices with postmasters) since incorporation of the county.

Albany - Post Office1857 to 1861
Alembic - Post Office 1874 to 1905
Beal City - Post Office 1892 to 1910
Blanchard - Post Office 1878 to the present
Boyden - also called Deerfield Center, there was a Post Office there in 1893,closed in 1902, located 7 miles west of Mt. Pleasant; in 1905 there were two general stores, a lath factory and cooper shop.
Blunt - Post Office1863 to 1865
Boyden - Post Office 1892 to 1906; Deerfield Township
Brinton - Coal City or Coal Town, Post Office 1888 to 1906; Coldwater Township
Bristol - Post Office 1872 to 1873; across the river from the Horr P.O.; Wm. K. Gibbs, Post Master; Sherman Township
Broomfield - Post Office 1871 to 1907
Bundy - Post Office 1894 to 1898; Broomfield Township
Burnham Station or Burnham Crossing - situated in Vernon Township, 2 miles to the south of Clare; Post Office official name was Russell; mill and depot were closed in 1896 after a fire destroyed the mill; Post Office was also closed at this time
Cahoon - Post Office 1891 to 1892; Coe Township
Caldwell - also called Two Rivers; Shingle mill operation; Post Office 1884 to 1906; Deerfield Township
Calkinsville - see Rosebush - Post Office 1873 to 1903; Isabella Township
Coe - Post Office in Coe Township in 1891 to 1904
Coomer - Post Office in 1892 to 1906; 8.5 miles southwest of Mt. Pleasant in Deerfield Township
Crawford - Post Office 1883 to 1904
Delwin - on the P.M. (Pere Marquette) Railroad 7 miles south of Coleman; Post Office established in 1880 to 1906
Denver -
Drew - Post Office 1899 to 1904; Sherman Township, Edward W. Benn, Post Master
Dushville - later renamed Winn in 1895; platted by Wm. Wiley Dush on 26 October, 1876. Part of Dushville was called by the name Hardscrabble; listed as a Post Office in 1890 in Fremont Township
Ellaville - Post Office 1878 to 1879
Floyd - Post Office 1891 to 1905
Gilmore - Post Office 1891 to 1906
Gough - Post Office 1882 to 1882; Deerfield Township
Herrick - village three miles east of Clare near US-10 in Wise Township, original settlement about 1875 named Lansingville; when the Post Office was established in 1895 (through 1908) the name was changed to Herrick. There was a saw mill, charcoal kilns and a blacksmith shop.
Horr - Section 16, Sherman Township, Corner of Weidman and Wyman Roads; Post Office 1884 through 1904
Indian Mills- also known as Isabella City and Longwood;
Isabella - Post Office 1865 through 1869
Isabella Centre - Post Office 1860 through 1863
Isabella City - also known as Indian Mills, name changed to Longwood in 1877; Post Office 1861 through 1871
Jerseyville - in 1897 it was a Post Office 8 miles south of Mt. Pleasant, by 1910 the P.O. was closed and mail was to RFD Shepherd; Post Office 1892 through 1906
Jordan - in 1910 it was a station on the P.M. (Pere Marquette) Railroad, located 10 miles southwest of Coleman
Leaton - Post Office 1880 through 1915
Letson - Post Office 1886 through 1888; Coldwater Township
Loomis - also known as Buchtel; Post Office 1871 through 1915
Longwood - also known as Indian Mills and Isabella City; Post Office 1871 through 1878
Matlock - Isabella County Enterprise, April 1, 1898. (front page). "A new postoffice is being established near the dam east of the county line in Midland county. It will be supplied from Mt. Pleasant and is named Matlock". From the January 6, 1899 issue of the Isabella County Enterprise. "The post office recently established at Matlock, east of Alembic, has been discontinued." contributed by Joyce McClain.
Mount Pleasant - Post Office 1869 through the present
Nero - Martin Ryerson Post Master; 1 mile south and 1/2 mile east of Brinton; Post Office 18771 through 1877
Rand - on the P.M. (Pere Marquette) Railroad; 1910 the postal address was RFD Wyman (Montcalm County)
Remick - Post Office 1879 through 1887; Rolland Township
Rosebush - also called Calkinsville; Post Office 1889 through the present
Rowland - Saw mill settlement given a P.O., February 26, 1868. Name is derived from the township of Rolland; 1st Postmaster was William Patterson. The Post office operated until April 29, 1905.
Russell - Post Office 1890 through 1902
Shepherd - also called Salt River or Salt River Corners; platted in 1866; became a village in
1887 and destroyed by fire in December of 1887; named after I. N. Shepherd.
Sherman City - Post Office 1871 through 1913
Stone Outlots
Strickland - Post Office 1870 through 1904
Summerton - Post Office 1882 through 1905
Vandecar - Post Office 1880 through 1905
Vernon City -
Weidman- lumbering town organized by John Sylvester Weidman; incorporated 4 July 1894; Post Office 1894 through the present Whiteville - Post Office 1884 through 1902; Isabella Township
Winn - also called Dushville; first post office established 19 December 1867;
Wiota - Post Office 1857 through 1871
Wise - Denver Township, 11 miles northeast of Mt. Pleasant on the P.M. Railroad, 4 miles from Coleman; Post Office 1884 through 1906
Woodin's Mill - Post Office 1886 through 1890

Neighboring Counties[edit | edit source]

Clare  • Gladwin  • Gratiot  • Mecosta  • Midland  • Montcalm  • Osceola

Resources[edit | edit source]

Cemeteries[edit | edit source]

Tombstone Transcriptions Online Tombstone Transcriptions in Print List of Cemeteries in the county Family History Library
USGenWeb WorldCat Billion Graves
Tombstone Project
Billion Graves
See Michigan Cemeteries for more information.

Census[edit | edit source]

State Census

Church[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.

Court[edit | edit source]

Emigration and Immigration[edit | edit source]

Land[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 county courthouse and where records are currently housed.

Local Histories[edit | edit source]

Local histories are available for Isabella 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[edit | edit source]

Osceola CountyClare CountyGladwin CountyMidland CountyMecosta CountyMontcalm CountyGratiot CountyMI ISABELLA.PNG
About this image
Click a neighboring county
for more resources

Military[edit | edit source]

Civil War[edit | edit source]
World War I[edit | edit source]

Newspapers[edit | edit source]

Finding More Michigan Newspapers[edit source]

Additional newspapers abstracts can sometimes be found using search phrases such as Isabella County, Michigan Genealogy newspapers in online catalogs like:

Obituaries[edit | edit source]

Probate[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.

The FamilySearch Catalog lists films of probate records. To find the records for this county, use the Place Search for Michigan, Isabella 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

Taxation[edit | edit source]

Vital Records[edit | edit source]

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.

Birth[edit | edit source]
Marriage[edit | edit source]
Death[edit | edit source]

Societies and Libraries[edit | edit source]

Isabella County, Genealogical Society Of
523 N. Fancher
Mt. Pleasant 48858

Genealogical Society of Isabella County
PO Box 117
Century House, 522 N Fancher
Mt. Pleasant, MI 48804-0117

Shepherd Area Genealogical Society
7859 E. Walton Rd.
Shepherd 48883

Family History Centers[edit | edit source]

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.

Websites[edit | edit source]

References[edit | edit source]

  1. Wikipedia contributors, "Isabella County, Michigan" in Wikipedia: the Free Encyclopedia, ",_Michigan."
  2. Handybook for Genealogists: United States of America, 10th ed. (Draper, Utah: Everton Pub., 2002), Isabella 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.
  3. Handybook for Genealogists: United States of America, 10th ed. (Draper, Utah: Everton Pub., 2002), Isabella County, Michigan page 346, At various libraries (WorldCat); FHL Book 973 D27e 2002.
  4. The Handybook for Genealogists: United States of America,10th ed. (Draper, UT:Everton Publishers, 2002).