Midland County was created on 2 Mar 1831 (Organized in 1850) and was formed from Saginaw County and Unorganized Land. The County was named because it is near the geographical center of the Lower Peninsula. The County Seat is Midland . See also County History for more historical details.
Counties adjacent to Midland County are Gladwin County (north), Bay County (east), Isabella County (west), Saginaw County (southeast), Gratiot County (southwest), Clare County (northwest). Townships found in Midland County include Edenville, Geneva, Greendale, Homer, Hope, Ingersoll, Jasper, Jerome, Larkin Charter, Lee, Lincoln, Midland, Mills, Mount Haley, Porter, Warren Townships. Cities, Towns and Communities include Coleman, Edenville, Hope, Midland, Sanford.
Researchers often overlook the importance of court records, probate records, and land records as a source of family history information.
PLEASE READ FIRST!!!! Please call the clerk's department to confirm hours, mailing address, fees and other specifics before visiting or requesting information because of sometimes changing contact information.
All departments below at located at the Midland County Courthouse, 220 West Ellsworth Street, Midland, MI 48640 , 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.
Midland County Clerk has the following Records for: Births: 1867 to present.(All Birth Records will be searched by staff. Liber books for 1867 to 1962, card index for 1962 to 1984, and computer for 1984 to present), Death: 1867 to present. (Liber books for 1867 to 1962, card index for 1962 to 1984, and computer for 1984 to present. Staff will search card index and computer), Marriages: 1867 to present (Liber books for 1867 to 1965, card index 1965 to 1984, and computer 1984 to present. Staff will search card index and computer), Divorces: 1916 to present (Liber book index for 1916 to 1986, and computer for 1986 to present. Staff will search computer), Naturalization/Declarations of Intent: 1855 to 1965(Staff will search for information) . The Office is located at the County Courthouse, see address above for contact information. Phone: 517-832-6739 .
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.
Midland County Register of Deeds has Land Records from 1855 and is located at the County Courthouse, see address above for contact information. Phone: (989) 832-6820 .
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.
Midland County Clerk of the Probate Court has Probate Records from 1856 and is located at the County Courthouse, see address above for contact information. Phone: (989) 832-6880 .
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.
Midland County Clerk of the Circuit Court has Court Records from 1839 and is located at the County Courthouse, see address above for contact information. Phone: (989) 832-6735 .
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.
Below is a list of online resources for Midland County Court Records. Email us with websites containing Midland 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 Midland County Vital Records. Email us with websites containing Midland 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 Midland 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 Midland 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 Midland County Census Records. Email us with websites containing Midland 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 Ohio 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 Midland County Maps. Email us with websites containing Midland 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 Midland County Military Records. Email us with websites containing Midland County Military Records by clicking the link below:
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.
Numerous early tax assessment and general tax rolls are available at the State Archives of Michigan. Organized by county, the records include the name of the owner or occupant of the property, legal description and number of acres, value of land and personal estate, and amount of tax levied. There are tax rolls for some counties for the late 1830s, but most are for the last half of the nineteenth century.
The National Archives/Great Lakes Region in Chicago holds numerous federal personal property and corporate tax assessment lists for the state of Michigan
Below is a list of online resources for Midland County Tax Records. Email us with websites containing Midland County Tax 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 Midland County Genealogical Addresses. Email us with websites containing Midland 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 Midland County. Some transcriptions are online. A great site is the Midland 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 Midland County Cemetery & Church Records. Email us with websites containing Midland 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 Midland County Family Trees, web forums and other family type information. Email us with websites containing Midland County Family Trees, web forums and other family type information by clicking the link below:
Chippewa Indians Among First Inhabitants of This Area
When the French discovered the Great Lakes in the 1600's, the Chippewa, Ottawa, and Potawatomi Indians occupied both Michigan peninsulas. Chippewas have inhabited this immediate area for 120 years. The German Lutherans sent a missionary, E.G. Miessler, to these Indians in 1851, and today, there is an Indian cemetery in Bethany, which lies just outside Midland County near St. Louis.
Lumber, Fur Trading Thrive in Early Years
Recorded history relates the presence of great forests of ash, basswood, elm, hemlock, linden, maple, oak and pine as well as swamp in this 339,000 acres that became Midland County in 1851. Convenient waterways formed by the Chippewa, Pine, Salt, Sturgeon, Tittabawassee and Tobacco Rivers attracted many Indians to this area as here they found beaver and other small animals, fish, wild rice, berries and sap from the maple trees. In 1831, Midland's first permanent white settlers came, learned the ways of the Indian and found a market for his furs.
The First Trading Post was established at the confluence of the Tittabawassee and Chippewa Rivers, which the Indians called "Little Forks." Here the Grand Traverse Trail, Lake Michigan Trail, Grand River Trail and others join to form the Saginaw Trail which leads to the Indian gathering place on Saginaw Bay, called "Saw-kee-nauk," now Saginaw.
Midland, a small community of 65 persons in 1850, became a thriving lumber camp which reached its peak in 1880. History tells us that there was a lumber camp every four miles along the rivers which were the chief means of transporting the logs to the mills in the spring. In the winter, thousands of lumbermen were working in the woods.
Midland's founding fathers must have considered the American Fur Company's Trading Post site a wise place to locate their town--at the confluence of the Chippewa and Tittabawassee Rivers. Animal paths and Indian trails were not conducive to hauling all of one's possessions when moving into a new area, so rivers were the most desirable waay to travel. Much of this valley was so swampy that high spots were chosen for Midland's first important buildings, such as schools, the courthouse, jail, churches, etc.
County Formed in 1850
Midland County was organized in 1850 but no officers were elected until 1855 when the following were chosen: G. W. Whiting, Sheriff; E. P. Jennings, Clerk; H. C. Ashman, Prosecuting Attorney; J. A. Whitman, Treasurer; Solon Rumrill, Register of Deeds; Samuel Gasgill, Judge of Probate; and George Turner, Surveyor. The 1st Term of Circuit Court was held in the school house at the corner of Ashman and Ellsworth Streets. Until the Courthouse was built, the County Officers met in the home of John Larkin.
At the time of its organization, Midland County included all of Midland County plus portions of Bay, Isabella, Clare, Gladwin and Roscommon Counties. Bay separated in 1857; Isabella in 1860; Clare in 1871; Roscommon in 1874; and Gladwin in 1874.
In 1855 the County paid out $600in salaries for its officers; $250 for the poor and needy; and $1,721.00 for County expenses.
In 1856 Henry C. Ashman, Supervisor and Prosecuting Attorney empowered by the Legislature, located the site for the Midland County Courthouse. A colonial type structure was built by Timothy Jerome at the Cost of $6,000. This building was razed in April, 1926, after being sold at auction for $245.
In 1857 The Board of Supervisors appropriated $150 to construct a Ferry so folks could conveniently cross the Tittabawassee River. Charles Cronkright built the scow. Rates were fixed as follows: Man on Foot,, 3 cents; Single Team, 6 cents; Double Team, 10 cents; cattle, Sheep and Swine, 10 cents. The Ferry was made free after 1858, but remained a source of annoyance for the supervisors because it was next to impossible to hire competent help.
Jail Built Near Courthouse
In 1865 a Jail was built on property adjoining the Courthouse. It has been said this was the first brick building in Midland. Criminals must have been well behaved, as they were often seen helping the sheriff's wife around the building while the sheriff was off tending to his lumbering business.
Midland's two covered bridges were built in 1871. Destroyed by stormy weather, high water and ice jams in 1908, the bridgesy were both replaced by steel structures. Progress and traffic have demanded their replacement by two super cement structures - one built in 1968.
In 1919 Midland's Supervisors passed a Resolution to bond the County for $225,000 to build a new Courthouse. Submitted to the people the proposition carried and after much altercation with the law about the period of bonding, Bloodgood Tuttle, of Detroit and Cleveland, was the architect chosen to draw up the plans.
Herbert H. Dow Instrumental in Historic Courthouse Being Built
Herbert Henry Dow, founder of The Dow Chemical Company, was most interested that the Courthouse commemorate this area's early history and contributed generously of time and money toward the building's completion. A modified Tudor type, the building was decorated inside and out by Detroit artist Paul Honore. He used plastic magnesia cements - a product of the brine which underlies Midland County - to delineate our story: trapping, trading, lumbering, farming, and chemical manufacturing.
Voters Approve Courthouse Expansion Plan
From 1926 until 1958 all Midland County prisoners were housed at the Bay County Jail. In 1953 Midland County was advised that Bay County could no longer house Midland prisoners. On August 3, 1954, Midland County voters approved a 1-mill tax levy for three (3) years to build an addition to the Courthouse.
A 52-man jail plus the sheriff's living quarters, additional offices and auditorium at a cost of $764,180. was completed for occupancy in the fall of 1958.
The City of Midland and Midland County each constructed new facilities that were completed during 1989.
Midland a Mecca For High-Tech Industries and Other Businesses
Midland is proud of its industries, namely The Dow Chemical Company and The Dow Corning Corporation which employs thousands of persons in the Saginaw Valley, thereby contributing heavily the area's growth and economic well-being.
In more than 120 manufacturing locations throughout the world, brightly-painted towers and miles of varicolored pipes symbolize chemistry at work in plants of The Dow Chemical Company.
Today's global operations reflect tremendous growth over the 98 years of the company's existence. It all came from a humble beginning. An ancient sea and a new idea gave Dow its start.
The sea, rich in chemical brines, lies deep under the flatlands of Midland, Michigan. To a young chemist named Herbert Henry Dow the commonplace brine meant opportunity in chemistry, which, as the 19th century drew to a close, was gradually emerging as a significant industry.
As a student chemist, Dow had discovered a new electrolytic process for extracting chemicals from brine. At Midland, in 1890, he rented a barn, hooked up a homemade rope drive from the steam engine of a flour mill, reactivated an idle brine well nearby, and -- in short -- proved that his process worked.
Potassium bromide, used in drugs and photography, was the product of that successful experiment. Its main source up to that time had been imports from Germany.
The Dow Chemical Founded in 1887
The brine also held other chemicals to be recovered for man's use -- chlorine, sodium, calcium and magnesium. Young Dow organized The Dow Chemical Company in 1897 to make bleach from the chlorine. A profusion of products followed.
Organic chemistry became a new field for the fledgling company. In 1902 Dow achieved one of the first large-scale syntheses of an organic chemical with the manufacture of chloroform.
World War I saw the company enter the field of organic chemistry in earnest, and Dow know-how was responsible for the first American production of synthetic indigo dye and synthetic phenol, a so-called "workhorse" chemical that also became a plastic raw material.
In the same period, Dow produced the first magnesium metal electrolytically in the United States to provide the foundation for today's growing magnesium industry.
The Dow Chemical Pioneers New Products and Business Practices
In the early 1930's Dow was a pioneer in the rising petrochemical business and began extensive research in the development of plastics and other hydrocarbon products. Petroleum assumed great importance as a raw material with the formation of Dow's Western Division in California in 1938 and the Texas Division on the Gulf Coast in 1940.
When World War II came and natural rubber supplies were cut off, the company was ready with the only commercial production of styrene, one of the two major components of synthetic rubber. Dow built and operated two large styrene plants for the United States government and a third for the Canadian government.
It was at this time that the company first used the Dow developed process of extracting magnesium from sea water. It built and operated a big sea water magnesium plant for the government and jointly built and operated another such plant with the government. A third facility made use of underground brine for magnesium production.
From the common materials -- brine, petroleum, salt and air -- found in nature, then has come a growing line of products. The company lists more than 1,100. Chemical and metals account for 53 per cent of total sales; plastics and packaging products 34 per cent; byproducts and consumer products 13 per cent.
Early in his career Herbert Dow set the pattern for achievement. His business philosophy was one of practical action. He put it this way: "If you can't do a thing better than it's already being done, why do it?" This remains the driving philosophy of a company that reported record earnings in 2005.
County Emerges as Worldwide Leader in Silicone Chemistry
Dow Corning Corporation, the County's second largest employer, was founded in 1943 by The Dow Chemical Company and Corning Glass Works. Its organization signaled the mergence of Midland County as the world headquarters of silicone chemistry.
The silicones, known in the early part of this century as laboratory curiosities, saw their first industrial development in the laboratories of Dr. J. Franklin Hyde at Corning. His experiments produced a material with promise for the insulation of electric motors.
Corning, recognizing the importance of this new technology, but lacking any experience in the chemical business, turned to The Dow Chemical Company and together they formed Dow Corning.
Dr. Hyde's basis research was continued by Dr. Shailer L. Bass, who later became the chairman of the board. His grease-like compound was eventually used to protect aircraft ignition systems. This product found its first use during World War II as an insulation material for aircraft Following the War, Dow Corning moved into civilian areas, but the company's original product survives to be used on automobiles, boats and aircraft ignition systems.
Over the years, Dow Corning scientists became adept at "molecular tailoring" to make a wide variety of materials to meet special needs demanding applications.
Dow Corning Expands to Produce Medical Products
In 1959, the company entered the area of medical products. At first the company absorbed the cost of this new business as a social obligation, but it has grown into a fully independent business now.
Today a long line of "spare parts for human bodies" are produced. They range from finger joints and hydrocephalus shunts to artificial testicles.
More familiar are the company's line of consumer products including sightsavers and bathtub caulk.