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Each collection features a unique aspect of Michigan's history.
How might I use the this collection?
This collection consists of approximately 62,000 images of Michigan state census population schedules. Information collected for each individual may include the following:
- Relationship to the head of the household
- Marital status
- Month and place of marriage (if married during that census year)
- Place of birth
- Parents’ places of birth
- Children born to a family during census year
- Health status
- Marriages out of a family during the census year
- Number of years living in Michigan (1884, 1894)
- Number of years living in the United States (1894)
How do I find things in this collection?
Because each image contains information about as many as twenty people, only the name, sex, relationship to the head of the household, age, and line on the record have been indexed for each person. If someone in the household is younger than one year old, his or her age will be listed as a fraction (3/12 for 3 months, for example). The index entries are formatted as illustrated below.
- Name | Sex | Relationship to head of the household | Age | Line on record
In the following example, you would go to line 10 on the image to find additional information about Thomas Sullivon.
- Sullivon, Thomas | Male | Son | 5 | 10
You can search by name, county, township, and year by using the advanced search link that appears below the search box at the top of every page within Seeking Michigan. When the advanced search menu opens, you’ll want to uncheck “Death Records, 1897-1920” and click to put a check next to “Michigan State Census Records, 1864-1894.”
Once you’ve selected the collection you’re searching, you can enter search terms and add/remove fields using the boxes and drop-down menus. You can search names by entering them as “Last name, First name” and searching the exact phrase or by searching the last name in one box, searching the first name in another box, and selecting “and” from the drop-down menu all the way on the right.
If you’re unsure of a spelling or want to search multiple spellings of one name, you can select “or” from the drop-down menu. When your search results appear, you’ll be able to see the county, township, and year for each image. When you click on the thumbnail, you’ll be able to see the names listed.
What’s the story behind this collection?
The state of Michigan conducted its own regular and special censuses at various times throughout history. This collection of state census records is incomplete because many of the documents have been lost over time. It contains records from the following counties and years:
- Baraga (1884)
- Barry (1884, 1894)
- Bay (1884, 1894)
- Benzie (1884)
- Gratiot (1894)
- Hillsdale (1884, 1894)
- Ingham (1884, 1894)
- Iosco (1894)
- Jackson (1884, 1894)
- Kalamazoo (1884, 1894)
- Kent (1884, 1894)
- Keweenaw (1884)
- Lake (1884)
- Lapeer (1884, 1894)
- Lenawee (1884, 1894)
- Livingston (1894)
- Menominee (1884, 1894)
- Midland (1894)
- Montcalm (1884, 1894)
- Muskegon (1884, 1894)
- Newaygo (1884, 1894)
- Ottawa (1884, 1894)
- Roscommon (1884)
- Sanilac (1884, 1894)
- St. Clair (1884, 1894)
- St. Joseph (1884, 1894)
- Washtenaw (1884, 1894)
- Wayne (1884, excluding Detroit)
Two stories are told about why the state’s copies of the schedules no longer exist—they were either donated to a paper drive during World War II or destroyed in a 1951 state office building fire. For a detailed description of Michigan’s censuses and how they were conducted, see LeRoy Barnett’s “Michigan Census Schedules and Records” in Family Trails, volume 5.
We would like to thank the Library of Michigan and the Burton Historical Collection at the Detroit Public Library for loaning us microfilm for scanning.