Iosco County was created on 1 Feb 1840 (Organized in 1857) and was formed from Unorganized Land. Formed as Kanotin Co, renamed in 1843. Some early records before 1857 may be located in Cheboygan and Saginaw Counties. The County was named by Henry Schoolcraft for Native American boys and men in his writings. He interpreted the word to mean "water of light." The County Seat is Tawas City .
Counties adjacent to Iosco County are Alcona County (north), Arenac County (south), Ogemaw County (west). Townships found in Iosco County include Alabaster, Au Sable, Baldwin, Burleigh, Grant, Oscoda, Plainfield, Reno, Sherman, Tawas, Wilbar Townships. Cities, Towns and Communities include East Tawas, Hale, Long Lake, National City, Oscoda, Tawas City, Whittemore.
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 Iosco County Courthouse, 422 Lake Street, Tawas City, MI 48764 , 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.
Iosco County Clerk has the following Records for: Births: (Researchers are not allowed to search birth records), Deaths: 1860s to present, Marriages: 1860s to present, Divorces: Early 1900s to the present . The Office is located at the County Courthouse, see address above for contact information. Phone: 989-362-3497 .
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.
Iosco County Register of Deeds has Land Records from 1840 and is located at the County Courthouse, see address above for contact information. Phone: (989)362-2021 .
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.
Iosco County Clerk of the Probate Court has Probate Records from 1859 and is located at the County Courthouse, see address above for contact information. Phone: (989)362-3991 .
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.
Iosco County Clerk of the Circuit Court has Court Records from 1859 and is located at the County Courthouse, see address above for contact information. Phone: (989)362-3485 .
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 Iosco County Court Records. Email us with websites containing Iosco 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 Iosco County Vital Records. Email us with websites containing Iosco 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 Iosco 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 Iosco 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 Iosco County Census Records. Email us with websites containing Iosco 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 Iosco County Maps. Email us with websites containing Iosco 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 Iosco County Military Records. Email us with websites containing Iosco 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 Iosco County Genealogical Addresses. Email us with websites containing Iosco 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 Iosco County. Some transcriptions are online. A great site is the Iosco 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 Iosco County Cemetery & Church Records. Email us with websites containing Iosco 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 Iosco County Family Trees, web forums and other family type information. Email us with websites containing Iosco County Family Trees, web forums and other family type information by clicking the link below:
The original residents of Iosco County were the Sauk Indians. These people were driven out of the area by a combination of the Chippewa, Ottawa, Menominee and Algonquin Indians. The Ottawa and Algonquin Indians were still in the area when European settlers arrived.
The first European to arrive in the area now known as Iosco County was an Englishman, named Henry, who escaped the Mackinac Massacre and was brought as a captive in 1764. The first explorers were French fur traders. One of these was Louis Chevalier, who landed at the mouth of the AuSable River sometime before 1800. He was to be the first European resident of the County.
Through the Treaty of Saginaw, signed by General Lewis Cass in 1819, all but 8,000 acres of Iosco were purchased from the Saginaw Band of the Chippewa Indian Tribe. The 8,000 acres, located near the mouth of the AuSable River, were kept by the tribe for hunting and fishing. Later this area was purchased for an annual stipend of $1,000-- the Indian settlement then moved north near the county line on Section 2, where it still remains.
The first settlement of European origin in the County began to develop in 1848 when two families settled near the mouth of the AuSable River. Here, fishermen were attracted to the abundant supply of trout and whitefish. Soon, sawmills began to emerge near the mouth of the river and along the shoreline of Tawas Bay. White pine, red pine and northern white cedar were amongst the first selected, and they were floated down the river to the mills. Oak, ash, maple, beech and tamarack trees were to follow by the same process.
The State of Michigan established the County in 1857. The original name was "Kanotin County." Kanotin means, "in path of the big wind," and was chosen following a devastating storm which caused Indians to avoid this area. Henry Schoolcraft later renamed the County "Iosco," which means "Water of Light".
Ottawas Bay was shortened to "Tawas Bay," and the City of Tawas City was platted there in 1855. A second, larger town was established in 1887 at a mill site that workers from Tawas City referred to as "Going East." This became the present City of East Tawas.
One of Iosco County's unique natural resources was discovered when, in 1840, gypsum was located in outcroppings on the Lake Huron shoreline. Quarries were opened in 1862 in Alabaster Township, south of Tawas Bay. In 1891, the Western Plaster Works was founded, and by 1902 that company had become the present United States Gypsum Co. In 1926, National Gypsum opened farther inland.
In 1877, the first salt wells in the County were drilled to depths of about 800-960 feet. The manufacture of salt from the high quality brine went hand-in hand with preexisting industries. Wood residues from the mills such as edgings, slabs and mis-cuts, were used as fuel to evaporate the water from the brine. The dried salt was then utilized as a preservative for the fish industry.
As with most northern Michigan counties, lumbering played a major role in the development of Iosco County. The lumbering industry commenced full-swing in the mid 1860's and ran until about 1911 when large portions of Northeast Michigan burned. Most significantly affected were Oscoda and AuSable Townships, which were completely destroyed. The Lake Huron and Southwestern Railroad was built in 1877 to haul lumber and later farm products. In 1894 it became the Detroit and Mackinac Railroad and is currently Lake State Railway Company.
Utilizing governmental statistics maintained through the 19th Century, the lumber industry reached its peak in 1890. The Iosco County population rose from 175 persons in 1860 to an extraordinary 15,244 in 1890. Unfortunately, the lumbering industry in losco County came to a practical end with the Oscoda-AuSable fire that destroyed the large Prescott Sawmill.
With the resulting reduction in employment opportunities, the population of losco County began a steady decline to 9,753 by 1910. By the early years of the Great Depression, in 1930, there were only 7,517 people residing within the County limits. By 2000, however, the population had risen to 27,339. Modern developments in electronic communication, as well as the implementation of a new highway infrastructure, are items which will bolster the trend towards a more populous Iosco County as it continues into the 21st Century.
The demise of the lumber industry made way for agriculture-- the heavily harvested forest areas in the county's interior provided open areas in which hay, potatoes, wheat, corn, peas and barley were grown. The settlement of Whittemore, located on Iosco County’s western side, provided the farming community with the goods and services it needed. Whittemore became a city in 1907.
Though Iosco County’s tremendous farming potential was initially overlooked in view of the lumbering industry, it has quickly paced itself relative to the farming counties of southern Michigan since that time. In 1879, the estimated agricultural income for losco County was only $32,548. The reported annual agricultural income adjusted in the 1984 Comprehensive Plan was $7 million. Agricultural incomes in 1994 exceeded $12,000,000.
Because of their size and diverse economies, Tawas City and East Tawas both became major stops on the railroad line. As a direct result, over 125 men were employed by railroad car shops alone. The mining and processing of gypsum became a rich part of the county's economy as early as 1861, with National Gypsum and U.S. Gypsum shipping to the world by train, ship and wagon. Michigan Gypsum also produced raw materials, distributed overland for cement manufacturing.
In 1912, Consumers Power Company began to utilize the AuSable River to produce hydroelectric power and constructed a series of dams, and now owns extensive tracts of land within the flood plain on both sides of the AuSable River. Through a licensing agreement with the Federal Government, this land is open to public recreational usage.
Recreation and tourism became important factors shortly after and concurrent with the end of timbering in the area. As early as 1903, land was developed in the mid-County regions near Sand, Round and Indian Lakes for game hunting purposes. Today, the Lake Huron shoreline and countless inland lakes are enjoyed by users of year-round homes, seasonal cottages, and tourist accommodations. Recreation and tourism are now major industries in losco County.
In 1925, a runway was built for what was to become Camp Skeel, a Federal wilderness facility. In 1942 Camp Skeel was renamed, "Oscoda Army Air Field," and served our nation during World War II. Made a part of the Strategic Air Command in 1948 as "Wurtsmith Air Force Base". The base was closed in 1992 and the property is now an advanced development feature including a college, a county airport capable of landing international traffic, a manufacturing center, and a quality residential environment.