Michigan Vital Records

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Introduction to Vital Records[edit | edit source]

Vital Records consist of births, adoptions, marriages, divorces, and deaths recorded on registers, certificates, and documents. United States Vital Records has additional research guidance on researching and using vital records. A copy or an extract of most original records can be purchased from the Michigan Vital Records State Department of Health or the County Clerk's office of the county where the event occurred.

Vital Records Collage.JPG

Vital Records Reference Dates[edit | edit source]

Michigan's vital records start the following years:


Births Marriages Deaths
Earliest 1867 County Formation 1867
Statewide Registration 1867 1805 1867
General Compliance 1915 1805 1915

Burned, Lost, or Missing Records[edit | edit source]

  • Montcalm County – On 16 February 1905, the Montcalm County Courthouse was destroyed by fire; however, the county records survived.
  • Montmorency County – In 1942, a fire burned the Prosecuting Attorney’s records. In 1943, another fire burned all county documents except the Montmorency’s birth, death, and marriage statistics.

For additional burned county references, visit:


Michigan Birth, Marriage and Death Records Online[edit | edit source]

The following is a list of online resources useful for locating Michigan Vital Records which consist of births, marriages, divorces, and deaths.  Most online resources for Michigan Vital Records are indexes. After locating a person in an index always consult the original record to confirm the information in the index.

Births:[edit | edit source]


Marriages:[edit | edit source]


Deaths:[edit | edit source]


Order a copy of the certificate:

More Online Michigan Vital Records Links[edit | edit source]

Wiki articles describing these collections are found at:

Birth Records[edit | edit source]

County registration of births in Michigan began in 1867 and was generally complied with by 1915.

TIP: It is easy to determine the county where the event occurred, as according to Michigan law, no town or city crosses county lines. Towns or cities can cross township boundaries, however, the individual will be found to be living in either a town or a township, never both, although some may have the same name.

Michigan Birth Record Wiki articles desctibing online collections:

Finding Records at the County Level:

  • The Michigan Department of Community Health provided the following table that lists all Michigan counties and the year of initial registration for births on file in the state repository for that particular county.
  • Detroit records for births since 1893 may be obtained from the Wayne County Clerks Office.
  • You can obtain copies of a county record by writing to the county clerk.
  • You can also obtain records of delayed registrations of births for many counties.
  • The Family History Library has microfilm copies of these records for most counties.
    • The library's holdings often date to 1913 or later, with indexes to the 1970s.
    • The library has unindexed birth records from Wayne County from 1867 to 1917. They do not include records from the city of Detroit.

Additional Source for County-wide Indexes:

  • Sourcebook of Michigan Census, County Histories, and Vital Records [1]

State Records of Births[edit | edit source]

Statewide indexes to births from 1867 to 1915 and deaths from 1867 to 1914 are at the Library of Michigan.

The state of Michigan has copies of the counties' vital statistics records. You can write to:

Office of the State Registrar & Center for Health
Michigan Department of Public Health
3423 North Logan Street
P.O. Box 30035
Lansing, MI 48909
Telephone: 517-335-8000; 517-335-8666; 517-335-8655

Adoption Records[edit | edit source]

The following resources help with adoption research in Michigan:

Marriage Records[edit | edit source]

An 1805 law required registration of marriages with the clerk of the local district court. Most counties kept marriage records from the date the county was created.

An 1867 law required the counties to send copies of the records to the Office of the State Registrar (see address above). Licenses were not required until 1887.

The Family History Library has marriage records for most counties, from county creation to 1920 or later, and some indexes to the 1950s or later. You can obtain copies from the county clerk's office.

Gretna Greens.

When a Michigan eloping couple's marriage is not in their home county, search for it in alternate places like

Further Reading:

Michigan Marriage Wiki articles descrbing online collections:


Divorce Records[edit | edit source]

The earliest records of divorce were recorded in the supreme court. Later divorce papers are usually kept by the clerk of the circuit, chancery, or county court.

  • The Family History Library has few divorce records for Michigan.
  • Many divorce and other vital records have been abstracted and published in genealogical periodicals.



Death Records[edit | edit source]

County registration of deaths in Michigan began in 1867 and was generally complied with by 1915.

It is easy to determine the county where the event occurred, as according to Michigan law, no town or city crosses county lines. Towns or cities can cross township boundaries, however, the individual will be found to be living in either a town or a township, never both, although some may have the same name.

Finding County-Wide Death Records

  • You can obtain copies of a county record by writing to the county clerk.
  • The Family History Library has microfilm copies of these records for most counties.
    • The library's holdings often date to 1913 or later, with indexes to the 1970s.
    • The library has unindexed death records from Wayne County from 1867 to 1917. They do not include records from the city of Detroit.

Detroit records for deaths since 1897 may be obtained from: Detroit Health Department
1151 Taylor Street
Detroit, MI 48202
Telephone: 313-876-4133

County-wide indexes are also listed in:

  • Sourcebook of Michigan Census, County Histories, and Vital Records [2]

State Records of Deaths[edit | edit source]

Statewide indexes deaths from 1867 to 1914 are at the Library of Michigan.

The state of Michigan has copies of the counties' vital statistics records. You can write to:

Office of the State Registrar & Center for Health
Michigan Department of Public Health
3423 North Logan Street
P.O. Box 30035
Lansing, MI 48909
Telephone: 517-335-8000; 517-335-8666; 517-335-8655
Internet:


Michigan Death Record Wiki articles describing online collections:


Obituaries[edit | edit source]

Additional Helps[edit | edit source]

Research Tips[edit | edit source]

  • Information listed on vital records is given by an informant.  Learn the relationship of the informant to the subject(s) of the record.  The closer the relationship of the informant to the subject(s) and whether or not the informant was present at the time of the event can help determine the accuracy of the information found on the record.
  • If you are unable to locate vital records recorded by governments, search for church records of christening, marriage, death or burial.  A family Bible may have been used to record births, marriages, and deaths. Other substitute records.
  • Privacy laws may restrict your access to some vital records.  Copies of some vital records recorded in the last 100 years may be unavailable to anyone except a direct relative.

Substitute Records[edit | edit source]

These links will take you to wiki pages describing alternate sources for birth, marriage and death records.

  • Church Records: Depending on the denomination, church records may contain information about birth, marriage, and death.
  • Cemetery Records: Cemetery records are a rich source of birth and death information.  These records may also reveal family relationships.
  • Census Records: Census records are a valuable source for birth and marriage information. You may also determine the approximate time of death when the individual disappears from the census. This is a good place to begin a search.
  • Newspapers: Besides obituaries, local newspapers may contain birth and marriage announcements and death notices.  Also check newspaper social columns for additional information. 
  • Periodicals: Local genealogical and historical societies often publish periodicals that may contain abstracted early birth, marriage, and death information.
  • Military Records: Military pension records can give birth, marriage and death information,  In addtion, soldiers' homes records can include this same information.
  • Probate Records: If no death record exists, probate records may be helpful in estimating when an individual has died. Probate records in the 20th Century often contain the exact death date.
  • History: Local histories, family histories, and biographies can all be sources of birth, marriage and death information. Often this information is found in county-level records or in surname searches of the FamilySearch Catalog.


References[edit | edit source]

  1. Callard, Carole, ed. Sourcebook of Michigan Census, County Histories, and Vital Records. Lansing, Michigan: Library of Michigan, 1986. (Family History Library book 977.4 A3sm; fiche 6101261.)
  2. Callard, Carole, ed. Sourcebook of Michigan Census, County Histories, and Vital Records. Lansing, Michigan: Library of Michigan, 1986. (Family History Library book 977.4 A3sm; fiche 6101261.)


Michigan Vital Records Index