Clare County was created on 1 Mar 1840 (Organized in 1871) and was formed from Mackinac County. Formed as Kayakee Co, renamed in 1843. Some early records before 1871 may be located in Midland, Isabella and Mecosta Counties. The County was named for County Clare in the western part of Ireland. The County Seat is Harrison .
Counties adjacent to Clare County are Roscommon County (northeast), Gladwin County (east), Isabella County (south), Osceola County (west), Missaukee County (northwest). Townships found in Clare County include Arthur, Franklin, Freeman, Frost, Garfield, Grant, Greenwood, Hamilton, Hatton, Hayes, Lincoln, Redding, Sheridan, Summerfield, Surrey, Winterfield Townships. Cities, Towns and Communities include Clare, Farwell, Harrison, Lake, Lake George.
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 Clare County Courthouse, 225 West Main Street, Harrison, MI 48625 , 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.
Clare County Clerk has the following Records for: Births & Deaths: 1871 to present, Marriages & Divorces: 1871 to present . The Office is located at the County Courthouse, see address above for contact information. P.O. Box 438; Phone: 989-539-7131 .
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.
Clare County Register of Deeds has Land Records from 1865 and is located at the County Courthouse, see address above for contact information. P.O. Box 438; Phone: 989-539-7131.
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.
Clare County Clerk of the Probate Court has Probate Records from 1872 and is located at the County Courthouse, see address above for contact information. Phone: (989)539-7109 .
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.
Clare County Clerk of the Circuit Court has Court Records from 1871 and is located at the County Courthouse, see address above for contact information. Phone: (989)539-7883 .
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 Clare County Court Records. Email us with websites containing Clare 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 Clare County Vital Records. Email us with websites containing Clare 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 Clare County, Michigan are 1840, 1850, 1860, 1870, 1880, 1890 (fragment, see below), 1900, 1910, 1920 and 1930.
Other Federal Schedules to look at when researching your Family Tree in Clare County, Michigan are Industry and Agriculture Schedules availible for the years 1850, 1860, 1870 and 1880. The Mortality Schedules for the years 1850, 1860, 1870 and 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 Clare County Census Records. Email us with websites containing Clare 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 Clare County Maps. Email us with websites containing Clare 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 Clare County Military Records. Email us with websites containing Clare 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 Clare County Genealogical Addresses. Email us with websites containing Clare 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 Clare County. Some transcriptions are online. A great site is the Clare 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 Clare County Cemetery & Church Records. Email us with websites containing Clare 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 Clare County Family Trees, web forums and other family type information. Email us with websites containing Clare County Family Trees, web forums and other family type information by clicking the link below:
Clare County's eastern townships were organized by Midland County in March, 1870, and the western townships by Mecosta County in 1871. Farwell was the host village of our original county seat. Speculators had purchased land in Clare County as early as 1854, but large scale lumbering did not begin until after the Civil War. Homesteaders began arriving just prior to the Flint & Pere Marquette Railroad (1870) and claimed the better agricultural acreages under the Homestead Act of 1862, or by exchanging Military Script for eighty acres or more.
The Flint & Pere Marquette railroad came to Clare in 1870 and was extended to Evart in 1871. Now that the means were available, immigrants, woodsmen, homesteaders, and drifters began to populate our county. The lumbermen made the quickest and heaviest impact upon our resources by felling most of our forests. Necessity, being the mother on invention, caused a revolution in the woods when Scott Gerrish needed an efficient method to get tens of thousands of remote logs into the Muskegon River. He built and operated a special logging railroad between land locked timber tracts near Lake George and Temple, on the Muskegon River. These logs were rolled in stupendous quantities to the railways. This innovative railroad extended the wealth of the County by 300%, but most of this new money went to Saginaw, Muskegon, and Chicago.
Clare County has had its troubles with lawless elements. Some of this conflict was generated by farmers in Grant and Sheridan Townships when Lumbermen took local government from their control. The Board of Supervisors retaliated by withholding funds for a new jail at Harrison and the sheriff was not compensated for transporting lawless men to jails in Midland or Osceola Counties. The County went feral following this interval.
After the timber was gone, our homesteader/farmers took over the pine barrens and began nurturing our soil back to productivity. During the 1930's large oil fields were discovered and developed with capital supplied by various sorts of businessmen.
Since the Spanish-American war, we have sent our young men to help defeat America's enemies. By the 1990's Clare County had invested large amounts of fiscal resources into its educational and cultural institutions.
As a County, we look to the new century with eager anticipation. Residents, farmers, light industry and tourists benefit from our vision. Our citizens expect the good like because the infrastructure of our county is good and getting better. Clare County has become one of Michigan's favorite residential district for we have hunting, fishing, snowmobiling, golfing, and other recreations in our back yards.