Muskegon County, Michigan Genealogy
|This article is a stub. You can help by expanding it.
Please review the contributor help to assist you in editing.
- 1 County Courthouse
- 2 History
- 3 Places/Localities
- 4 Resources
- 5 Societies and Libraries
- 6 Web Sites
- 7 References
Muskegon County is located on the western side of the Lower Peninsula of Michigan and borders Lake Michigan.Muskegon County was originally inhabited by the Ottawa Indians. The first visitors to the area now known as Muskegon County were the fur traders and missionaries in the late 1700s and early 1800s. The trading posts came and went during this period but regard is given to Jean Baptiste Recollett's trading post that was opened near the mouth of Bear Lake in 1812. Louis Baddeau bought a trading post in 1834 which is the present site of the Indian Cemetery on Morris Ave. Mr. Baddeau is generally given the distinction of being the first permanent white settler in the area. Muskegon's name comes from the Chippewa word - Muskego - meaning "river with marshes".
The fur trading era, 1810 thru the late 1830's, was followed by a booming lumbering era from the late 1830's until 1900. The first sawmill construction, built by Benjamin H. Wheelock, began in 1837 on Muskegon Lake with operations commencing in 1838 and by the 1870s 26 mills were in operation .
Fire was a major problem for the area with wooden buildings, white pine lumber and huge saw dust piles. A fire in 1874, destroying a quarter of the business district and 200 homes, triggered Muskegon to established a professional fire department which it had debated since 1871. Two more devastating fires occurred in Muskegon, the first being in March, 1887, destroying many buildings on Pine Street at Webster. The fire of May 16, 1891, known as the Pine Street fire, destroyed 17 city blocks and 250 buildings including the original court house.
- Townships: Blue Lake Casnovia Cedar Creek Dalton Egleston Fruitland Fruitport (Charter Township) Holton Laketon Montague Moorland Muskegon Ravenna Sullivan White River Whitehall
- Cities Montague Muskegon Muskegon Heights North Muskegon Norton Shores Roosevelt Park Whitehall
- Other Place Names in Muskegon County: Bailey Berry Junction Brunswick Canada Corners Casnovia Cloverville Dalton Fruitport Holton Lakewood Lakewood Club Maple Grove Michillinda Moorland Ravenna Slocum South Whitehall Sullivan Sylvan Beach Twin Lake Updyke Wabaningo Wolf Lake
- 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
- Muskegon County, Michigan Museum
- Muskegon County Genealogical Society
- 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 Handybook for Genealogists: United States of America,10th ed. (Draper, UT:Everton Publishers, 2002).