Kent County, Michigan Genealogy
- This article is about a county in the state of Michigan. For other uses, see Kent (disambiguation).
- 1 County Courthouse
- 2 History
- 3 Places/Localities
- 4 Resources
- 5 Societies and Libraries
- 6 Web Sites
- 7 References
Kent County Courthouse
300 Monroe Ave. NW.
Grand Rapids, MI 49503
Phone: (616) 632-7590
Kent County; 300 Monroe Ave NW; Grand Rapids, MI 49503; Ph. 616.336.3550 Details: (Organized 4 Apr 1836) (Co Clk has b & d rec from 1867, m rec from 1845 & bur rec from 1959; Clk Cir Ct has div & ct rec from 1867; Pro Ct has pro rec; Reg of Deeds has land rec)
1831--Kent County was created 2 March 1831 from Mackinac County and unorganized territory. It was organized 4 April 1836. County seat: Grand Rapids
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.
LDS Ward and Branch Records
- Grand Rapids
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
- Michigan Birth Registrations, 1867-1902 -- Free name indexes and images at FamilySearch Record Search. Records include such information as name of child, birthdate and place, if still-born, illegitimate or twin, gender, race and record number.
- Michigan Marriage Registrations, 1868-1925 -- Free name indexes at FamilySearch Record Search. 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.
- Michigan Death Registrations, 1867-1897-- Free name indexes and images at FamilySearch Record Search. 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
Family History Centers
- USGenWeb project. May have maps, name indexes, history or other information for this county. Select the state, then the county.
- Family History Library Catalog
- The Western Michigan* Genealogical Society, founded in 1954
- Online Searchable Databases at the Western Michigan Genealogical Society.
- Kent County School Census 1903-1925
- The Handybook for Genealogists: United States of America,10th ed. (Draper, UT:Everton Publishers, 2002).