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Kent County, Michigan Genealogy

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This article is about a county in the state of Michigan. For other uses, see Kent (disambiguation).

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


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Kent County, Michigan
Map
Map of the U.S. highlighting Michigan
Location of Michigan in the U.S.
Facts
Founded March 2, 1831
County Seat Grand Rapids
Courthouse
Address Kent County Courthouse
300 Monroe Ave. NW.
Grand Rapids, MI 49503
Phone: (616) 632-7590
Kent County Website



County Information[edit | edit source]

Description[edit | edit source]

The County was named for James Kent. The County has Grand Rapids as its seat and the County was created March 2, 1831. The County is located in the southwest area of the state.[1]

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

Known Beginning Dates for Major County Records[2]
Birth* Marriage Death* Court Land Probate Census
1867 1845 1867 1867 1860 1898 1820
Statewide registration started in 1867 for births and deaths. General compliance by 1915.

County Courthouse[edit | edit source]


County Clerk has birth and death records from 1867,
marriage records from 1845 and burial records from 1959.
Clerk Circuit Court has divorce and court records from 1867.
Probate Court has probate records; Register of Deeds has land records. [3]

History[edit | edit source]

Parent County[edit | edit source]

1831--Kent County was created 2 March 1831 from Mackinac County and unorganized territory. It was organized  4 April 1836. County seat: Grand Rapids

[4]

The earliest permanent settler in Kent County was Rix Robinson. Born in Berkshire, Massachsetts in 1789, he came to Michigan to avoid the draft during the War of 1812. Working initially at Detroit, in 1820, the American Fur Company chose Robinson to be their central fur trader in west Michigan when Madeline La Framboise retired to Mackinac Island. He took over her trading post located where the Grand River meets the Thornapple River in what is now known as Ada, Kent, Michigan. In 1821 Robinson married an Ottawa woman, Pee-miss-a-quot-oquay. They had one son, John R. Robinson born March 5, 1826. She and Rix separated, and she died of consumption in 1848. By 1827, Robinson was successfully managing twenty trading posts along the shores of Lake Michigan. Robinson was elected township supervisor when Kent County was established in 1831.


By the time Michigan joined the union in 1837, Robinson, who was a wealthy man, had closed all his trading posts and was appointed to the State Board of Commissioners of Internal Improvements. He was a Michigan State Senator from 1847 to 1849, representing Kent Couny. During that time he presented a bill to give women the right to vote. It was defeated during the drafting of the state constitution of 1850, but in a step forward in the women's rights movement, a bill allowing married women the right to control property they owned prior to marriage did pass. He was a delegate to the Michigan Constitutional Convention of 1850 and a presidential elector. He was a strong contender for governor but declined the nomination because his second wife, Se-be-quay, a native American, would not have been accepted as a governor's wife. Rix Robinson died of consumption January 12, 1875. He is buried in Ada, Michigan.[5]


Boundary Changes[edit | edit source]

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.

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]

Neighboring Counties[edit | edit source]

Allegan  • Barry  • Ionia  • Montcalm  • Muskegon  • Newaygo  • Ottawa

Resources[edit | edit source]

Cemeteries[edit | edit source]

Tombstone Transcriptions Online Tombstone Transcriptions in Print List of Cemeteries in the county
Findagrave.com Family History Library Findagrave.com
USGenWeb WorldCat Billion Graves
MIGenWeb Archives
Tombstone Project
MIInterment
EPodunk
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.

Ward and Branch Records of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

  • Grand Rapids

Court[edit | edit source]

Directories[edit | edit source]

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

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 Kent 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]

Newaygo CountyMontcalm CountyIonia CountyBarry CountyAllegan CountyOttawa CountyMuskegon CountyMI KENT.PNG
About this image
Click a neighboring county
for more resources


Military[edit | edit source]

Civil War[edit | edit source]

Civil War service men from Kent 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 Kent County.

- 1st Regiment, Engineers and Mechanics, Michigan - Companies A, B, C, D, F, and Company unassigned
- 1st Regiment, New York Veteran Cavalry, Company K
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 Kent 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, Kent 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]

List of Michigan Archives, Libraries, Publications, Historical & Genealogical Societies

Societies[edit | edit source]

Kent City Area Historical Society
16652 Fruit Ridge
Kent City 49330

Algoma Township Historical Society
11731 Pine Island Dr
Sparta 49345
Telephone Number:616-866-1583
Main Fax: 616-866-3832
Clerk's Office Fax: 616-866-4968
Website

Bowne Township Historical Society
11735 92nd St.
Se Alto 49302
Website

Byron Center Historical Society
2506 Prescott
PO Box 20
Byron Center MI 49315

Caledonia Township Historical Society
8573 84th St.
Se Alto 49341

Cascade Historical Society
2800 Orange Street
SE Grand Rapids MI 49506

Libraries[edit | edit source]

Grand Rapids Public Library
Main Library
111 Library St NE
Grand Rapids MI
website


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. See family history center for more information. Search the online FHC directory for a nearby family history center.

Websites[edit | edit source]

References[edit | edit source]

  1. Wikipedia contributors, "Kent County, Michigan" in Wikipedia: the Free Encyclopedia, "https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kent_County,_Michigan."
  2. Handybook for Genealogists: United States of America, 10th ed. (Draper, Utah: Everton Pub., 2002), Kent 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), Kent County, Michigan page 347, 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).
  5. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rix_Robinson