Ottawa County, Michigan Genealogy

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United States
Michigan Genealogy
Ottawa County

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


Ottawa County, Michigan
Map of the U.S. highlighting Michigan
Location of Michigan in the U.S.
Founded March 2, 1831
County Seat Grand Haven
Ottawa County Courthouse Grand Haven, Michigan.jpg
Address Ottawa County Courthouse
414 Washington Ave.
Grand Haven, MI 49417-1473
Phone: (616) 846-8310
Ottawa County Website

County Information


The County was named for a Ottawa Nation. The County has Grand Haven as its seat and the County was created 1837. The County is located in the southwest area of the state.[1]

Ottawa County, Michigan Record Dates

Beginning Dates for Major County Records[2]
Birth Marriage Death Census Land Probate
1866 1847 1867 1820 1834 1844

County Courthouse

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


Parent County

1831--Ottawa County was created 2 March 1831 from Mackinac County and unorganized territory.  It was attached to Kent County prior to organization 29 December 1837.  County seat: Grand Haven [4]

Boundary Changes

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

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


Populated Places


Coopersville | Ferrysburg | Grand Haven | Holland | Hudsonville | Zeeland


Spring Lake


Allendale Charter | Blendon | Chester | Crockery | Georgetown Charter |Grand Haven Charter |
Holland Charter | Jamestown Charter | Olive | Park | Polkton | Port Sheldon | Robinson | Spring Lake | Tallmadge Charter | Wright | Zeeland Charter


Allendale | Beechwood | Drenthe | Eastmanville | Jenison | Lamont | Marne

Neighboring Counties

Allegan  • Kent  • Muskegon

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


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 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


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

Local histories are available for Ottawa 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.


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


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.



Finding More Michigan Newspapers

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



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, Ottawa 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


Vital Records

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 Records
Marriage Records
Death Records

Societies and Libraries

Coopersville Area Historical Society and Museum
363 Main Street
Coopersville MI 49404
Telephone Number: 616-997-7240

Grand Haven Genealogical Society
c/o Loutit Library
407 Columbus
Grand Haven Ml 49417

Zeeland Genealogy Study Group
14 Church Street
Howard Miller Community Center
Zeeland, MI 49464

Holland Genealogical Society
c/o Herrick Public Library
300 River Avenue
Holland MI 49423

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.



  1. Wikipedia contributors, "Ottawa County, Michigan" in Wikipedia: the Free Encyclopedia, ",_Michigan."
  2. Alice Eichholz, Ancestry’s Red Book: American State, County and Town Sources, Revised ed. (Salt Lake City: Ancestry, 1992), 369-384. At various libraries (WorldCat); FHL Book 973 D27rb 1992
  3. Handybook for Genealogists: United States of America, 10th ed. (Draper, Utah: Everton Pub., 2002), Ottawa County, Michigan page 350, 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).