Muskegon County, Michigan Genealogy
Guide to Muskegon County, Michigan ancestry, family history, and genealogy birth records, marriage records, death records, census records, family history, and military records.
|Muskegon County, Michigan|
Location of Michigan in the U.S.
|Founded||February 4, 1859|
|Address||Muskegon County Courthouse|
990 Terrace St.
Muskegon, MI 49442
Phone: (616) 724-6221
Muskegon County Website
- 1 County Information
- 2 County Courthouse
- 3 History
- 4 Places/Localities
- 5 Resources
- 5.1 Cemeteries
- 5.2 Census
- 5.3 Church
- 5.4 Court
- 5.5 Directories
- 5.6 Emigration and Immigration
- 5.7 Land
- 5.8 Local Histories
- 5.9 Maps
- 5.10 Military
- 5.11 Newspapers
- 5.12 Obituaries
- 5.13 Probate
- 5.14 Taxation
- 5.15 Vital Records
- 6 Societies and Libraries
- 7 Websites
- 8 References
The County was named for the Muskegon River. The County has Muskegon as its seat and the County was created 1859. The County is located in the west central area of the state.
Muskegon County, Michigan Record DatesEdit
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.
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.
There is no known history of courthouse disasters in this county.
For a complete list of populated places, including small neighborhoods and suburbs, visit HomeTown Locator. The following are the most historically and genealogically relevant populated places in this county:
- 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
|Tombstone Transcriptions Online||Tombstone Transcriptions in Print||List of Cemeteries in the county|
|Findagrave.com||Family History Library||Findagrave.com|
|See Michigan Cemeteries for more information.|
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.
Dutch Reformed ChurchEdit
- De Eerste Christelijke Gereformeerde Gemeente, 1867-1917, Muskegon, Michigan. Published: Grand Rapids, Mich., The Cargill co., 1917 at babel.hathitrust.org. Free
- History of First Congregational Church, Muskegon, Michigan, compiled by James W. Verduin, 1959 at babel.hathitrust.org. Free
- Souvenir history of the First Reformed Church of Muskegon, Diamond Anniversary 1859-1934 at babel.hathitrust.org. Free
- Records of the Our Savior's Lutheran Church, Muskegon, in Evangelical Lutheran Church in America database at Archives.com ($).
Muskegon 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 ImmigrationEdit
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 are available for Muskegon 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.
- A Civic and Industrial Survey of the Muskegon Area and Western Michigan Compiled/Published byGreater Muskegon Chamber of Commerce. Dana Printing Co., 1930?
- A short sketch of the life and services of Jonathan Walker : the man with a branded hand with a poem by John G, Muskegon, Mich., Chronicle Steam Printing House, 1879.
- Annual of the Muskegon County Pioneer and Historical Society for the year 1887. Muskegon, Michigan, by Henry H. Holt., Muskegon County Pioneer and Historical Society. Published 1888
- Headlight Flashes Along the Grand Trunk Railway System : Muskegon, Michigan Chicago, Ill. : Chicago Railroad Pub. Co., 1897 - Includes biographical sketches.
- History of Muskegon County, Michigan: with illustrations and Biographical Sketches of Some of its Prominent Men and Pioneers. Chicago: H.R. Page & Co. 1882.
- An Account of Muskegon County. Edited by James Smith. 1924? Published by National Historical Association, Inc. Online at: Hathitrust; Univ of Michigan (Michigan County Histories and Atlases Digitization Project).
- Memorials of the Grand River Valley. Chicago : Franklin Everett, The Chicago legal news company, 1878.
- Muskegon and its resources. Sketches of Muskegon county; its soil, climate and agricultural producations-city of Muskegon; its material growth and resources, manufacturing and commercial interests, its scenery, and advantages as a place of residence and business, supplemented with short sketches of leading business houses and firms. Issued under the auspices of the Muskegon Board of Trade. W.M. Harford, editor. Published: Muskegon, Mich., Harford & Latimer, publishers, 1884
- Muskegon County log marks / by Lewis Torrent. 1956 Great Lakes Model Shipbuilders' Guild, Inc.
- Portrait and biographical record of Muskegon and Ottawa Counties Michigan containing Biographical Sketches of Prominent and Representative Citizens, Chicago: Biographical Publishing Co. 1893
- Romance of Muskegon, Michigan 1937, Centennial Year / by The Muskegon Chronicle
- The advantages and surroundings of Muskegon, Published: Muskegon, Mich., 1892
- The industries of the city of Muskegon, with historical, descriptive, and biographical sketches of its business and business men in 1880.
- White Lake reminiscences compiled by the Ladies Aid Society of the Congregational Church, Whitehall, Michigan, ED. J. Smith Printer 1898
- County atlas of Muskegon, Michigan - 1877 - from recent and actual surveys and records under the superintendence of F.W. Beers. Published by F. W. Beers & Co., New York - 1877. Also archive.org
- Family Maps of Muskegon County, Michigan Genealogy (land patent maps) at HistoryGeo.com ($). Free surname search.
- Maps of Michigan (1790-1897)
- Sanborn Fire Insurance Map from Muskegon - Library of Congress years vary between 1882-1950
- Standard Atlas of Muskegon County, Michigan : Including a Plat Book of the Villages, Cities and Townships of the County. (1900) Compiled & Published by Geo. A. Ogle & Co. Chicago 1900. Also archive.org
- Michigan, Civil War Centennial Observance Commission, Committee on Civil War Grave Registration, Burial Records at FamilySearch — index
- Civil War, Graves registration records : Muskegon County, Michigan. From Civil War Centennial Observance Commission. Committee on Civil War Graves Registration. No index, but images have been digitized. Contains alphabetical listing: Name, Company, Regiment/State, Death Date, Cemetery, County, Lot, and Grave or section
World War IEdit
- 1917-1919 - Michigan, Census of World War I Veterans with Card Index, 1917-1919 at FamilySearch — index
- Montague Observer (1889-1977), White Lake Beacon (1983-2001), White Laker (1972), White Laker Observer (1976-1981), Whitehall Forum (1964-1972) provided by White Lake Community Library - Free
- Muskegon Chronicle, Muskegon, Michigan - Newspaper Archives (1869 - 1922) provided by GenealogyBank.com - fee
Finding More Michigan NewspapersEdit
Additional newspapers abstracts can sometimes be found using search phrases such as Muskegon 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, Muskegon 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
- 1784 – 1980 Michigan Wills and Probate Records 1784-1980 at Ancestry.com — index and images $
- 1797 – 1973 Michigan Probate Records 1797-1973 at FamilySearch — images
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.
- Marriage Records (from 1867) and Divorce Records (from 1897) from the County Clerk.
- 1867-1917 - Michigan, County Births, 1867-1917 at FamilySearch — index and images
- 1867-1902 - Michigan Birth Registrations, 1867-1902-- Free name indexes and images at FamilySearch. Records include such information as name of child, birthdate and place, if still-born, illegitimate or twin, gender, race and record number.
- 1585-1945 - Michigan, United States Marriages at FindMyPast — index $
- 1868-1925 - Michigan Marriage Registrations, 1868-1925 -- Free name indexes at FamilySearch. 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.
- 1850-1880 - Michigan Mortality Schedules, 1850-1880 at FamilySearch — index and images
- 1867-1897 - Michigan Death Registrations, 1867-1897 -- Free name indexes and images at FamilySearch. 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 LibrariesEdit
Muskegon County Genealogical Society
316 Webster Ave.
White Lake Area Historical Society
Muskegon County Historical Society
173 E. Apple Ave.
Muskegon, MI 49442
Telephone Number: 231-724-6271
Family History CentersEdit
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.
- For current information about a center near you, go to the Family History Center Map
- Muskegon Michigan Family History Center 1725 West Giles Rd, North Muskegon, MI 49445 United States
- Muskegon County, MI History, Records, Facts and Genealogy
- Michigan Genealogy Network Community on Google+
- Michigan Genealogy Network Group on Facebook
- Muskegon County, Michigan Museum
- Muskegon County Genealogical Society
- USGenWeb project. May have maps, name indexes, history or other information for this county.
- FamilySearch Catalog
- Muskegon County MI Genealogy (ldsgenealogy.com)
- Wikipedia contributors, "Muskegon County, Michigan" in Wikipedia: the Free Encyclopedia, "https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Muskegon_County,_Michigan."
- Handybook for Genealogists: United States of America, 10th ed. (Draper, Utah: Everton Pub., 2002), Muskegon 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.
- Handybook for Genealogists: United States of America, 10th ed. (Draper, Utah: Everton Pub., 2002), Muskegon County, Michigan page 349, At various libraries (WorldCat); FHL Book 973 D27e 2002.
- The Handybook for Genealogists: United States of America,10th ed. (Draper, UT:Everton Publishers, 2002).
- Wikipedia contributors, "Muskegon County, Michigan," in Wikipedia: the Free Encyclopedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Muskegon_County,_Michigan, accessed 06 November 2019.