Eaton County was created on 29 Oct 1829 (Organized in 1837) and was formed from Unorganized Land. Some early records before 1869 may be located in St Joseph and Kalamazoo Counties. The County was named for John H. Eaton (1790-1856) of Tennessee, secretary of war under President Jackson (1829-1831). The County Seat is Charlotte .
Counties adjacent to Eaton County are Clinton County (northeast), Ingham County (east), Jackson County (southeast), Calhoun County (south), Barry County (west), Ionia County (northwest). Townships found in Eaton County include Bellevue, Benton, Brookfield, Carmel, Chester, Delta Charter, Eaton Rapids, Eaton, Hamlin, Kalamo, Oneida Charter, Roxand, Sunfield, Vermontville, Walton, Windsor Charter Townships.
Cities, Towns and Communities include Bellevue, Charlotte, Dimondale , Eaton Rapids, Grand Ledge, Mulliken, Olivet, Potterville, Sunfield, Vermontville.
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 Eaton County Courthouse, 1045 Independence Boulevard, Charlotte, MI 48813; (517) 543-7500 , 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.
Eaton County Clerk has the following Records for: Births & Deaths: 1867 to present, Marriages: 1838 to present, Divorces: 1847 to present, Circuit Court Judgments: 1847 to present . The Office is located at the County Courthouse, see address above for contact information. Phone: 517-543-7500 .
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.
Eaton County Register of Deeds has Land Records from 1835 and is located at the County Courthouse, see address above for contact information. Phone: (517)543-7500, ext 232 .
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.
Eaton County Clerk of the Probate Court has Probate Records from 1835 and is located at the County Courthouse, see address above for contact information. Phone: (517)543-7500 .
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.
Eaton County Clerk of the Circuit Court has Court Records from 1848 and is located at the County Courthouse, see address above for contact information. Phone: 517-543-7500 ext 4335 .
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 Eaton County Court Records. Email us with websites containing Eaton 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 Eaton County Vital Records. Email us with websites containing Eaton 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 Eaton County, Michigan are 1830, 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 Eaton 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 Eaton County Census Records. Email us with websites containing Eaton 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 Eaton County Maps. Email us with websites containing Eaton 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 Eaton County Military Records. Email us with websites containing Eaton 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 Eaton County Genealogical Addresses. Email us with websites containing Eaton 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 Eaton County. Some transcriptions are online. A great site is the Eaton 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 Eaton County Cemetery & Church Records. Email us with websites containing Eaton 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 Eaton County Family Trees, web forums and other family type information. Email us with websites containing Eaton County Family Trees, web forums and other family type information by clicking the link below:
Eaton County, named for President Andrew Jackson's Secretary of War (John Eaton), sometimes referred to as a cabinet county, was organized in 1837. Due to lack of population and buildings in the designated county seat (Charlotte), government and judicial functions were performed in the village of Bellevue. However, by 1840 the population of Charlotte had grown sufficiently to warrant the move to this community. Circuit Court proceedings were held in the Eagle Hotel with Circuit rider Epaphroditus Ransom (later Governor of Michigan) as presiding judge. Six years later, the first Eaton County Courthouse was completed at a cost totalling five hundred dollars on land donated for this purpose by Edmund Bostwick. By 1880, growth in Eaton County had outstripped the capacity of the first courthouse. In 1882 the Eaton County Board of Supervisors resolved "to erect a building for court and public office purposes" at no more than $50,000 cost; this was later amended to $40,000. When completed, the cost of this courthouse was nearly $80,000.
The contract for design was awarded to D.W. Gibbs & Company of Toledo, Ohio with the firm of Miles, Cramer and Horn also from Toledo doing construction. The corner stone was laid on July 4, 1883 and this building was ready for use in October 1885.
Placed on the register of national historic buildings, the courthouse served the residents of Eaton County as the focal point of County Government for nearly ninety-one years. During the late 1960's the county again experienced a tremendous population growth. As a result, the Courthouse of 1885 could no longer house the rapidly expanding County government.
Late in 1970, the commissioners began in earnest discussing the need for more space. Several options were weighed; they included building additions on to the present Courthouse, purchasing land surrounding the courthouse annex buildings or the purchasing of land and developing a governmental complex within that area. Advantages and disadvantages were weighed for each option; however, after months of discussion the final proposal of developing a governmental complex was accepted.
With the decision to build a new Courthouse complex the firm of Cain and Associates of Kalamazoo were retained for architectural work on the new building, the TerHorst & Rinzema Construction Company of Grand Rapids as general contractors.
Ground breaking ceremonies for the courthouse were held January 24, 1975, with the building being dedicated on July 4, 1976. This new building was designed to include sixteen county offices and departments, encompassing 87,700 square feet of office and storage space and costing close to $4,000,000 total. The building was constructed without the need for assessing additional taxes upon the residents of Eaton County. The new Courthouse complex typifies the growth development of Eaton County as it moves toward the 21st century.
Douglas C. Kelsey, Eaton County Bicentennial Commission
Date of First Records
Births - 1867
Deaths - 1867
Marriages - 1838
Probate - 1832
Circuit Court Judgments - 1847
Architect: Contractor: S.E. Millett & Lewis Scour
Eaton County's first Courthouse was moved from the Courthouse square in 1872. It Served as a garage until purchased by Historic Charlotte, Inc. and moved to Bennett Park in 1983 where restoration is in progress.
Architect: D.W. Gibbs & Co.
Contractor: Miles & Horn and Bradford Kellogg The Renaissance Revival structure with its walls of sandstone and brick is Eaton's second County Courthouse and is undergoing restoration.
Architect: Robert Cain & Associates
Contactor: TerHorst & Rinzema Construction.
The New Formalism style Eaton County Governmental Complex located on the outskirts of Charlotte is Eaton's third and present County Courthouse