Baraga County was created on 19 Feb 1875 and was formed from Houghton County. The County was named for missionary Bishop Frederick Baraga (1797-1868), who worked among the Native Americans in the area and wrote a Chippewa grammar and dictionary. The County Seat is L'Anse .
Counties adjacent to Baraga County are Marquette County (east), Iron County (south), Houghton County (west). Townships found in Baraga County include Arvon, Baraga, Covington, L'Anse, Spurr Townships. Cities, Towns and Communities include Baraga, Covington, Lanse, L'Anse, Skanee, Watton.
Researchers often overlook the importance of court records, probate records, and land records as a source of family history information.
All departments below at located at the Baraga County Courthouse, 16 North Third Street, L'Anse, MI 49946 , unless a different address is listed below. NOTE: The date listed for each category of record is the earliest record known to exist in that county. It does not indicate that there are numerous records for that year and certainly does not indicate that all such events that year were actually registered. See also the Baraga County Courthouse History
Baraga County Clerk has the following Records for: Births & Deaths: 1875 to present., Marriages & Divorces: 1875 to present, Naturalization: 1875 to present . The Office is located at the County Courthouse, see address above for contact information. Phone: 906-524-6183 .
The County Clerk is responsible for keeping records of births, deaths, assumed names, co-partnerships, issuing and filing marriage licenses, gun permits, notary bonds and processing passports.
Baraga County Register of Deeds has Land Records from 1875 and is located at 12 N. 3rd Street, L'Anse, MI 49946; Phone: (906)524-6183 .
The Register is the County's official recording officer for all legal documents pertaining to the transfers and encumbrances of all real estate property within the County. The Register also provides permanent storage for approved original subdivision plats, condominiums, land surveys and section corners.
Baraga County Clerk of the Probate Court has Probate Records from 1876 and is located at the County Courthouse, see address above for contact information. Phone: (906)524-6390 .
The Court Adjudicates and disposes of cases involving property of persons who have died or become incompetent, interprets wills and trusts, commits the mentally ill when necessary and appoints guardians and conservators for minors, incapacitated individuals and individuals with developmental disability.
Baraga County Clerk of the Circuit Court has Court Records from 1875 and is located at the County Courthouse, see address above for contact information. Phone: (906)482-2102 .
The Clerk provides a variety of functions for the court such as, but not limited to: filing and maintaing the official record for all cases that come before the court; providing staff to assist in the operation of the court; working with the Jury Commission and notifying all potential jurors to appear for jury duty; and, processing felony criminal cases bound over from the District Court.
County Treasurer - Property tax records at the county level usually date back to the first land records. Either the county treasurer or the register of deeds will be the custodian of these records.
Below is a list of online resources for Baraga County Court Records. Email us with websites containing Baraga County Court Records by clicking the link below:
Birth, marriage, and death records are connected with central life events. They are prime sources for genealogical information.
The State of Michigan Vital Records Office is located at 201 Townsend Street, Capitol View Bldg, 3rd Floor, Lansing MI 48913 (across the street from the state capitol - south side). The office hours are 8:00 am - 5:00 pm Mon-Fri, except for State holidays. They are open thru the lunch hour. If applying in person, you must submit your request by 3:00 pm in order to obtain same-day service. It can take up to 1-3 months to get a vital record from Michigan.
Below is a list of online resources for Baraga County Vital Records. Email us with websites containing Baraga County Vital Records by clicking the link below:
Few, if any, records reveal as many details about individuals and families as do government census records. Substitute records can be used when the official census is unavailable
Countywide Records: Federal Population Schedules that exist for Baraga County, Michigan are 1880, 1890 (fragment, see below), 1900, 1910, 1920 and 1930.
Other Federal Schedules to look at when researching your Family Tree in Baraga County, Michigan are Industry and Agriculture Schedules availible for the years 1880. The Mortality Schedules for the years 1880. There are free downloadable and printable Census forms to help with your research. These include U.S. Census Extraction Forms and U.K. Census Extraction Forms.
Below is a list of online resources for Baraga County Census Records. Email us with websites containing Baraga County Census Records by clicking the link below:
Genealogy Atlas has images of old American atlases during the years 1795, 1814, 1822, 1823, 1836, 1838, 1845, 1856, 1866, 1879 and 1897 for Michigan and other states.
You can view rotating animated maps for Michigan showing all the county boundaries for each census year overlayed with past and present maps so you can see the changes in county boundaries. You can view a list of maps for other states at Census Maps
You can view rotating animated maps for Michigan showing all the county boundary changes for each year overlayed with past and present maps so you can see the changes in county boundaries. You can view a list of maps for other states at County Maps
Below is a list of online resources for Baraga County Maps. Email us with websites containing Baraga County Maps by clicking the link below:
Military and civil service records provide unique facts and insights into the lives of men and women who have served their country at home and abroad.
The uses and value of military records in genealogical research for ancestors who were veterans are obvious, but military records can also be important to re-searchers whose direct ancestors were not soldiers in any war. The fathers, grandfathers, brothers, and other close relatives of an ancestor may have served in a war, and their service or pension records could contain information that will assist in further identifying the family of primary interest. Due to the amount of genealogical information contained in some military pension files, they should never be overlooked during the research process. Those records not containing specific genealogical information are of historic value and should be included in any overall research design.
Below is a list of online resources for Baraga County Military Records. Email us with websites containing Baraga County Military Records by clicking the link below:
The Repositories in this section are Archives, Libraries, Museums, Genealogical and Historical Societies. Many County Historical and Genealogical Societies publish magazines and/or news letters on a monthly, quarterly, bi-annual or annual basis. Contacting the local societies should not be over looked. State Archives and Societies are usually much larger and better organized with much larger archived materials than their smaller county cousins but they can be more generalized and over look the smaller details that local societies tend to have. Libraries can also be a good place to look for local information. Some libraries have a genealogy section and may have some resources that are not located at archives or societies. Also, take a special look at any museums in the area. They sometimes have photos and items from years gone by as well as information of a genealogical interest. All these places are vitally important to the family genealogist and must not be passed over.
Below is a list of online resources for Baraga County Genealogical Addresses. Email us with websites containing Baraga County Genealogical Addresses by clicking the link below:
Obituaries can vary in the amount of information they contain, but many of them are genealogical goldmines, including information such as names, dates, places of birth and death, marriage information, and family relationships.
There are many churches and cemeteries in Baraga County. Some transcriptions are online. A great site is the Baraga County Tombstone Transcription Project.
The earliest religious denomination in Michigan was the Roman Catholic church, established through a mission in 1668 at Sault Ste. Marie. Ste. Anne's, in Detroit, has parish records beginning in 1703.
Michigan Historical Collections in Ann Arbor holds large collections from the Presbyterian Church and the Protestant Episcopal Church, in addition to other denominations. Dutch Reformed church records are at Calvin College and Seminary Library in Grand Rapids; Finnish church records are deposited at the Finnish-American Historical Archives at Suomi College in Hancock. The Upjohn Library at Kalamazoo College in Kalamazoo has a large collection of Baptist archive material. Many early Detroit churches have their records deposited at the Burton Historical Collection-Detroit Public Library. The Michigan Historical Records Survey, WPA, completed an Inventory of the Church Archives of Michigan, and many of the church records from this inventory were published from 1936 through 1942.
The Library of Michigan in Lansing and the Burton Historical Collection have over 1,000 books of transcribed or published tombstone readings from Michigan cemeteries. To locate a cemetery in the state, consult the Michigan Cemetery Compendium. It lists most cemeteries in Michigan.
Below is a list of online resources for Baraga County Cemetery & Church Records. Email us with websites containing Baraga County Cemetery & Church Records by clicking the link below:
The use of published genealogies, electronic files containing genealogical lineage, and other compiled sources can be of tremendous value to a researcher.
When view family trees online or not, be sure to only take the info at face value and always follow up with your own sources or verify the ones they provide. Below is a list of online resources for Baraga County Family Trees, web forums and other family type information. Email us with websites containing Baraga County Family Trees, web forums and other family type information by clicking the link below:
Our history as a county was decided by the "Toledo War" and the awarding of that territory to Ohio with the State of Michigan given the entire Upper Peninsula (UP), lands originally belonging to Wisconsin. In 1837, there were six UP counties with Baraga being a part of Ontonagon County. In 1846, Houghton County was created out of Ontonagon County encompassing Baraga, Keweenaw and present Houghton Counties. In 1875, the state legislature approved the formation of Baraga County, with the county seat to be in L'Anse. The Houghton County Board of Supervisors at its annual meeting in October of 1875 voted to separate lands from itself to form Baraga County.
Baraga County was divided into five townships which include, Arvon, Baraga, Covington, L'Anse and Spurr. Each of these townships has a history of its own with important persons establishing schools, churches, businesses and other social and recreational activities. Each of these townships have influenced the county's general history, along with the Indian Treaties, one being the Treaty of LaPointe in 1842. This Treaty stated that the federal government would send a blacksmith,
farmer, and carpenter that were to assist and train the Indians in these important skills. These three families were the Brockways, Carriers and Johnsons with the task of training the locals in the above mentioned skills.
Not unlike today the early days of the county, even while still a part of Houghton County, were influenced by religion. The Methodist were the first to have a permanent mission following Menard's visit of 1660. Part of it being that the Brockway brother William, was the Methodist chaplain at Fort Brady, Sault Ste. Marie. He recommended his brother Daniel to be the blacksmith in L'Anse. When Father Frederic Baraga arrived in 1843 at the request of Pierre Crebassa and remained in the area establishing a Catholic Mission a war of words began. The circular issued by Robert Stuart, Michigan Superintendent of Indian Affairs, simply said that the region belonged to the first religious group that was there first. That of course would favor the Methodist, but Baraga addressed the issue head on and was able to obtain a decision permitting his mission to continue. The Catholic Mission was at Assinins, West Side and the Methodist was at Zeba, East Side as the entire area was still known as L'Anse East or West. Today, both locations have small congregations with the members attending services in L'Anse or Baraga. Brockway himself fell into disfavor as he was an enterprising business person and raised large crops to be sold to the copper mining settlements. He left L'Anse in 1846 and opened a public house in Copper Harbor, Michigan.
The Railroad played another important role in the development of the county. L'Anse was being seen as a primary competitor for the shipment of ore replacing Marquette and Escanaba. This optimism was running high in the early 1870s but the Panic of 1873 saw what was going to be the primary port disappear. However the completion of the Marquette, Houghton and Ontonagon Railroad connecting L'Anse to the "outside world" in 1872 saw the boom continue. Buildings were floated on barges from the Copper Country as enough lumber for building was not available to meet the demands. L'Anse was the place investors were coming to, it was the location that businesses were coming to, it was to be the port of Superior. L'Anse also boasted as having the largest cargo dock in the world. But as mentioned before, the Panic of 1873 saw an almost death blow to the community. The ore docks shipped little ore and sat idle, later to be destroyed in the fire of 1896.
L'Anse was not alone in the county to grow with the railroads. The biggest fiasco being that of the Iron Range and Huron Bay Railroad. This was a plan to make a 42 mile railroad from Champion to Huron Bay. The organizer, Milo Davis, undertook a two million dollar fiasco that never saw a single railroad engine run on the track! He was able to convince developers that it could be done and they continued to support him with money. Building a major dock on Huron Bay, the engines were unloaded at the dock and on the first attempt at making a trip over the track, it toppled into the ditch. Davis left for Mexico and the lines were pulled up, the dock dismantled and the engines sold to a company in Canada.
Another community that "grew" with the railroad was Keweenaw Bay, and what was to be a future settlement called Michigan, Michigan. From the Mineral Range Railroad, copper was to be shipped by rail from Mass City to the mills that were built in Keweenaw Bay. This effort also ended and most of the buildings were removed. But the railroad did come to Baraga and in 1891 the village was incorporated and separated from township government.
Mining in Baraga County was never going to make many folks rich. The slate mines in Arvon, the Taylor mine in Bovine, the sandstone harvesting in Arnheim were all short lived. The county would earn it's real place in history with one of its greatest natural resource, the forests. Captain James Bendry had mills in L'Anse and Baraga as did many other operators I will introduce only a couple of others that had a major impact.
The Hebard's of Pequaming, built a community for their employees, modeling it after the townsites of New England. The Hebard's recognized Pequaming as a natural harbor on the bay and took advantage of this location to have a successful lumber operation.
Across the bay in Baraga, the Nester's purchased the local mill and expanded it to successfully cut millions of feet of lumber annually. The Nesters also built large 150-200 foot vessels, bringing shipbuilders with them from Saginaw. Their arrival in 1886 saw the township of Baraga being the largest in populations as the mill employed many men, and the steam from the mill heated most of the community.
The next major player was Henry Ford as he purchased both the Pequaming Mill and the L'Anse Mill. He later built a model mill and community south of L'Anse called Alberta. Ford also purchased mills in Big Bay and the Iron Mountain/Kingsford area. The wood from Ford's mills were used in the manufacturing of his automobiles.
Today, The Celotex Corporation which is located in L'Anse, is a manufaturer of ceiling tile and particle board. This company also uses the forest resources. The company was recently sold to a British firm and is continuing it's operations in L'Anse. The Pettibone Cary-lift was an invention by a Baraga County man named Phil LaTendresse. Located in Baraga, Pettibone employes many people both in the main shop and in other sub-contracting shops, building parts for this world renown machine.