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Each collection features a unique aspect of Michigan's history.

How might I use the this collection?How might I use the this collection?

This collection consists of approximately 1,000 images of Michigan state census population schedules. The information collected varies by year and location, but only male heads of households and males over the age of 21 were listed by name. Other household members may have been counted, but not named. State census records can be a way to track your ancestors between federal censuses.

How do I find things in this collection?How do I find things in this collection?

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, 1827-1874.” 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?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:

  • Branch (1857, 1874)
  • Clinton (1864)
  • Eaton (1845, 1854, 1864, 1874)
  • Houghton (1864, 1874)
  • Lenawee (1845)
  • Kalamazoo (1874)
  • St. Joseph (1845)
  • Sanilac (1864)
  • Washtenaw (1827, 1845, 1854)

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 for loaning us microfilm for scanning.