Saginaw County, Michigan
History, Records, Facts and Genealogy

Court Records | Vital Records | CENSUS Records | TAX Records | Military Records | Church & Cemetery |
Maps & Atlases | Genealogy Addresses | Genealogy Related Sites |

Saginaw County was created on 10 Sep 1822 (Organized in 1835) and was formed from St. Clair County and Unorganized Land. Some early records before 1835 may be located in Oakland County. The County was named for two possible derivations: from "Sace-nong" or "Sak-e-nong" (Sauk Town) because the Sauk (Sac) once lived there, or from Chippewa words meaning "place of the outlet" from "sag" (an opening) and "ong" (place of). The County Seat is Saginaw . See also County History for more historical details.

Counties adjacent to Saginaw County are Bay County (northeast), Midland County (northwest), Tuscola County (east), Gratiot County (west), Genesee County (southeast), Shiawassee County (south), Clinton County (southwest). Townships found in Saginaw County include Albee, Birch Run, Blumfield, Brady, Brant, Bridgeport Charter, Buena Vista Charter, Carrollton, Chapin, Chesaning, Frankenmuth, Fremont, James, Jonesfield, Kochville, Lakefield, Maple Grove, Marion, Richland, Saginaw Charter, Spaulding, St Charles, Swan Creek, Taymouth, Thomas, Tittabawassee, Zilwaukee Townships. Cities, Towns and Communities include Birch Run, Birch Run, Brant, Bridgeport, Burt, Carrollton, Chesaning, Frankenmuth , Freeland, Hemlock, Merrill, Oakley, Saginaw, Saint Charles, Zilwakee.

  • The Saginaw County Official Government Website
  • Saginaw County, Michigan History Books at Amazon.com
  • Family History Library - The largest collection of free family history, family tree and genealogy records in the world.
  • Search Historical Newspapers from Michigan (1837 - 1922) - Quickly find names and keywords in over 450 million articles, obituaries, marriage notices, birth announcements and other items published in over 2,800 historical U.S. newspapers. New content added monthly!
  • Stories, Memories & Histories - Stories and histories compiled by others researching a person or area can be an amazing source of information about your ancestors. Not only do they generally contain dates and places of vital events like birth, marriage, and death, but they often relate stories and memories that help you really get to know the character of your ancestors.
  • Search Michigan Historical Records - Databases include Court, Land, Wills & Financial Records; Birth, Marriage & Death Records; Voter Lists & Census Records; Immigration & Emigration Records; Obituary Records; Military Records; Family Tree Records; Pictures; Stories, Memories & Histories; Directories & Member Lists and much more....

Courthouse Court Records

See Also Michigan Land Records, Marriage Records, Court & Probate Records

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 Saginaw County Courthouse, 111 South Michigan Avenue, Saginaw, MI 48602 , 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.

Saginaw County Clerk has the following Records for: Births & Deaths: 1867 to present, Marriages: 1867 to present, Divorces: ? to present (Staff researches divorce records when names are provided. Requestor is notified by phone when records are located). The Office is located at the County Courthouse, see address above for contact information. Phone: 989-790-5251 .

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.

Saginaw County Register of Deeds has Land Records from 1836 and is located at the County Courthouse, see address above for contact information. Phone: (989)790-5270 .

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.

Saginaw County Clerk of the Probate Court has Probate Records from 1800 and is located at the County Courthouse, see address above for contact information. Phone: (989)790-5320 .

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.

Saginaw County Clerk of the Circuit Court has Court Records from 1843 and is located at the County Courthouse, see address above for contact information. Phone: (989)790-5471 .

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 Saginaw County Court Records. Email us with websites containing Saginaw County Court Records by clicking the link below:

  • Order County Court, Civil or Criminal Records Online
  • Bureau of Land Management (BLM)
  • Michigan Land Records: Michigan Pre-1908 Homestead & Cash Entry Patent and Cadastral Survey Plat Index.
  • Michigan Eastern District Naturalizations: Index to Naturalization papers of the U.S. District Court, Eastern District of Michigan, Detroit, 1837-1903 and U.S. Circuit Court, Eastern District of Michigan, Detroit, 1837-1903
  • Saginaw County, Michigan Court Books at Amazon.com
  • Court, Land, Wills & Financial - Court records are an often overlooked, yet very valuable tool for finding information to assist you in your research. Land records, such as deeds, allow you to tie an ancestor to a specific place at a point in time. Other court records like those dealing with finances and estates often list related family members or give interesting details like the total value of property owned by your ancestors to add interest to your family history.
  • Immigration & Emigration - As our ancestors moved from one country to another, details about their lives were recorded on passenger lists and government documents. Immigration and emigration records can help you learn where your ancestors originally came from, where they went, when they left, who they traveled with, and more.

County Vital Records

See Also Vital Records in Michigan

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.


  • Birth Certificates: The Vital Records Office maintains birth records that occur in Michigan since 1867 to the present. Birth records are restricted in Michigan and only a person or parent named on the record or a legal guardian of the person named on the record may request a copy. A legal representative is eligible to request a copy if he/she represents the person named on the record. Photo identification is required to request a Michigan birth record (unless the birth record is at least 100 years old).
    • Cost: Initial search (fee includes a 3-year search, Each additional year is $12.00 per year) and one certified copy or certification of the record or No Record Statement is $26.00 and $12.00 for each additional copy. Make your check or money order payable to "STATE OF MICHIGAN". Enclose a business-size self-addressed envelope. If no record is found or no copy is made, state law requires that we keep check amount for a searching fee. Please do not send cash in the mail. Mail to: Vital Records Requests, PO Box 30721, Lansing MI 48909
    • Processing Time: If the birth year is 1906 to the present, your request will be processed within 4 weeks. If the birth year is prior to 1906, the processing time will be 1-3 months. when ordered by MAIL or 2-5 Days when you order ELECTRONICALLY
  • Death Certificates: The Vital Records Office maintains death records that occur in Michigan since 1867 to the present.
    • Cost: Initial search (fee includes a 3-year search, Each additional year is $12.00 per year) and one certified copy or certification of the record or No Record Statement is $26.00 and $12.00 for each additional copy. Make your check or money order payable to "STATE OF MICHIGAN". Enclose a business-size self-addressed envelope. If no record is found or no copy is made, state law requires that we keep check amount for a searching fee. Please do not send cash in the mail. Mail to: Vital Records Requests, PO Box 30721, Lansing MI 48909
    • Processing Time: If the death year is 1916 to the present, your request will be processed within 4 weeks of receipt in the vital records office. If the death year is prior to 1916, the processing time will be 1-3 months when ordered by MAIL or 2-5 Days when you order ELECTRONICALLY
  • Marriage Certificates: The Vital Records Office maintains marriage records that occur in Michigan since 1867 to the present.
    • Cost: Initial search (fee includes a 3-year search, Each additional year is $12.00 per year) and one certified copy or certification of the record or No Record Statement is $26.00 and $12.00 for each additional copy. Make your check or money order payable to "STATE OF MICHIGAN". Enclose a business-size self-addressed envelope. If no record is found or no copy is made, state law requires that we keep check amount for a searching fee. Please do not send cash in the mail. Mail to: Vital Records Requests, PO Box 30721, Lansing MI 48909
    • Processing Time: If the marriage year is 1926 to the present, your request will be processed within 4 weeks of receipt in the vital records office. If the marriage year is prior to 1926, the processing time will be 1-3 months when ordered by MAIL
  • Divorce Certificates: The Vital Records Office maintains divorce records that occur in Michigan since 1867 to the present.
    • Cost: Initial search (fee includes a 3-year search, Each additional year is $12.00 per year) and one certified copy or certification of the record or No Record Statement is $26.00 and $12.00 for each additional copy. Make your check or money order payable to "STATE OF MICHIGAN". Enclose a business-size self-addressed envelope. If no record is found or no copy is made, state law requires that we keep check amount for a searching fee. Please do not send cash in the mail. Mail to: Vital Records Requests, PO Box 30721, Lansing MI 48909
    • Processing Time: If the divorce year is 1925 to the present, your request will be processed within 4 weeks of receipt in the vital records office. If the divorce year is prior to 1925, the processing time will be 1-3 months when ordered by MAIL.
  • Order Online: You can also order Order Electronically Online to obtain a certified copy of a birth, marriage, death or divorce record with a credit or debit card and get the certificates within 2-5 days by ordering from VitalChek Express Certificate Service.
  • Apply In Person: If you wish to apply in person to order a Michigan vital record, you may do so at the office located at 201 Townsend St, Capitol View Building, 3rd Floor, Lansing MI 48913 (across from the State Capitol). Lobby hours are 8:00 am - 5:00 pm. Directions are available by logging onto our website at: www.michigan.gov/mdch or by calling 517-335-8666. A check or money order is preferred, and orders in our lobby must be placed by 3:00 pm in order to request same-day service. An additional fee of $10.00 is required for same-day service orders. Please allow a 2-3 hour waiting period for same-day service.

Below is a list of online resources for Saginaw County Vital Records. Email us with websites containing Saginaw County Vital Records by clicking the link below:

  • VitalChek Express Certificate Service - Some documents are just too important to wait six weeks for. With VitalChek Express Certificate Service you won’t have to. VitalChek is the fast and convenient way to order certified government-issued vital records online. They make it easy for you to purchase the documents to which you are legally entitled. Beware of other online services that do not have relationships directly with the agencies that store your vital records. VitalChek's order process usually takes less than 10 minutes --And you can select express courier service for even faster delivery when time is running out.
  • Click Here to Search the Social Security Death Index for FREE- Search over 82 million death records and get genealogical information crucial to your family research. New content added weekly! Most comprehensive SSDI site online!
  • Research Death records In The World's Largest Newspaper Archive at NewpaperArchive.com! - Find thousands of historical Arkansas newspaper articles about deaths. Search for local articles about an old family friend that died many years ago or a celebrity that committed suicide. Historical newspapers contain a wealth of information about the deceased.
  • Birth, Marriage & Death - Vital records (births, deaths, marriages, and divorces) mark the milestones of our lives and are the foundation of family history research. Vital records, usually kept by a civic authority, can give you a more complete picture of your ancestor, help you distinguish between two people with the same name, and help you find links to a new generation.
  • Michigan Marriages to 1850: This database of Michigan marriages to 1850 contains 13,000 names.
  • Michigan Marriages, 1851-75: This database contains records of marriages within the state for the years 1851 through 1875.
  • Michigan Deaths, 1971-1996: With over 2.75 million records, the Michigan Death Index covers the years from 1971 to 1996, making this database of particular interest to those with relatives from Michigan.
  • Saginaw County, Michigan Birth, Marriage & Death Books at Amazon.com

County Census Records

See Also Research In Census Records & Statewide Records that exist for Michigan

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 Saginaw 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 Saginaw 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 Saginaw County Census Records. Email us with websites containing Saginaw County Census Records by clicking the link below:

  • Michigan Census, 1827-70: This collection contains the following indexes: 1827 Territorial Census Index; 1837 Kalamazoo County Index; 1840 Federal Census Index; 1840 Pensioners List; 1845 State Census Index; 1850 Federal Census Index; 1860 Federal Census Index; 1870 Federal Census Index; Early Census Index.
  • Michigan State Census, 1894: This database contains information from the 1894 Michigan State Census for the counties of Barry, Bay, Benzie, Dickinson, Emmet, Gratiot, Iosco, Ingham, Kalamazoo, Keweenaw, Lapeer, Menominee, Montcalm, and Washtenaw.
  • Saginaw County, Michigan Census Books at Amazon.com
  • Census & Voter Lists - A census is an official list of the people in a particular area at a given time, while voter lists show those who were registered to vote in a certain area. The valuable information found on census records helps you to understand your family in their time and place. Voter Lists serve as a confirmation of residence in between the years that the census was taken.

County Maps & Atlases

See Also Research In State Map Collections

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 Saginaw County Maps. Email us with websites containing Saginaw County Maps by clicking the link below:

  • The USGenWeb Archives Digital Map Library
  • Perry-Castañeda Library Map Collection: Michigan Maps
  • Historical Maps of Michigan - Geographical, Statistical, and Historical Map of Michigan Territory
  • American Memory Map Collection: 1500-2004 - extensive selection from the Library of Congress Map Collections, focusing on Americana and cartographic treasures.
  • Saginaw County, Michigan Map Books at Amazon.com
  • Maps, Atlases & Gazetteers - Maps are an invaluable part of family history research, especially if you live far from where your ancestor lived. Because political boundaries often changed, historic maps are critical in helping you discover the precise location of your ancestor's hometown, what land they owned, who their neighbors were, and more.

County Military Records

See Also Military Records in Michigan

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 Saginaw County Military Records. Email us with websites containing Saginaw County Military Records by clicking the link below:

  • Michigan Society of Daughters of the American Revolution
  • National Society of Daughters of the American Revolution,
  • Michigan Society of Sons of the American Revolution,
  • National Society of Sons of the American Revolution, 1000 South Fourth Street, Louisville, Kentucky 40203; (502) 589-1776
  • Southern Claims Commission (The National Archives): View, Print Copy & Save Original Documents In the 1870s, southerners claimed compensation from the U.S. government for items used by the Union Army, ranging from corn and horses, to trees and church buildings.
  • Organization Index to Pension Files of Veterans Who Served Between 1861 and 1900 from the State of Michigan (The National Archives): View, Print Copy & Save Original Pension applications for service in the U.S. Army between 1861 and 1917, grouped according to the units in which the veterans served.
  • Revolutionary War Rolls, 1775-1783 (The National Archives): View, Print Copy & Save Original Documents in NARA publication M246 include muster rolls, payrolls, strength returns, and other miscellaneous personnel, pay, and supply records of American Army units, 1775-83.
  • Compiled Service Records of Soldiers Who Served in the American Army During the Revolutionary War (The National Archives): View, Print Copy & Save Original Documents in NARA publication M246 include muster rolls, payrolls, strength returns, and other miscellaneous personnel, pay, and supply records of American Army units, 1775-83.
  • Revolutionary War Pension and Bounty-Land Warrant Application Files (The National Archives): View, Print Copy & Save Original Revolutionary War Pension and Bounty-Land Warrant Application Files, from NARA publication M804.
  • Civil War Principals and Substitutes Index
  • Civil War Soldier Images Database
  • Guest Register of World War I Michigan Clubroom (located in New York City)
  • World War II Honor List of Dead and Missing: State of Michigan
  • 1835 Michigan Territorial Pensioners
  • 1840 Census of Pensioners for Revolutionary or Military Services State of Michigan
  • Michigan in the Civil War: This database contains a report compiled from reports of the Adjutant General and reports held by the War Department in Washington, of the services of Michigan regiments, batteries, and companies in the Civil War.
  • Michigan Military Records, 1775-1836: This database, originally compiled in 1920, is a collection of burial and pension records for residents of the state prior to 1836.
  • Saginaw County, Michigan Military Books at Amazon.com
  • Military - The men and women called to serve their country in military duty are a source of pride to their families and to their nation. Now, with databases containing more than 16 million names and thousands of government records available to search, researching your veteran ancestors has become easier than ever before.

County Tax Records

See Also Research In Tax Records

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 Saginaw County Tax Records. Email us with websites containing Saginaw County Tax Records by clicking the link below:

  • Saginaw County, Michigan Tax Books at Amazon.com

County Genealogical Addresses

See Also Other Michigan Genealogical Addresses

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 Saginaw County Genealogical Addresses. Email us with websites containing Saginaw County Genealogical Addresses by clicking the link below:

  • Historical Society of Bridgeport, 6190 Dixie Highway, Bridgeport, MI, 517-777-5230
  • Saginaw Genealogical Society, Saginaw Public Libraries, 505 Janes Ave, Saginaw, MI 48607
  • Cass River Genealogy Society, 359 S. Franklin, Frankenmuth MI 48734
  • Saginaw River Marine Historical Society, Dept. W, Box 2051, Bay City MI 48707-2051
  • National Archives - Great Lakes Region (Chicago), 7358 South Pulaski Road, Chicago, Illinois 60629-5898; 773-948-9001; E-mail: (Maintains retired records from Federal agencies and courts in Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio, and Wisconsin.) General Information Leaflet
  • State Archives of Michigan, 702 W Kalamazoo Str, P.O. Box 30738, Lansing, MI 48909-8238; (517) 373-1408; Original material generated by government offices at the state and/or local level, including census records, tax assessment rolls, military records and photographs are among the extensive holdings. They also have some naturalization files, correctional facility records, school records, and depression era agency files. The archives distribute information circulars on many topics. The circulars act as finding aids to their extensive collection.
  • The Historical Society of Michigan, 1305 Abbott Rd., East Lansing, MI 48823; (517) 324-1828; Fax: (517) 324-4370, e-mail:
  • Library of Michigan, : 702 W. Kalamazoo St, Lansing, MI 48909; Holdings here include an extensive genealogical and historical collection including books, microforms, manuscripts, newspapers, surname index, Centennial and Sesquicentennial Certificate applications, and diaries. Records are housed in a new building with card catalog. See: http://michigan.gov/hal/libraryofmichigan for more information/services. Limited reference service to mail request. They also offer online reference services at:
  • Newspapers & Periodicals - The Newspapers & Periodicals Collection lets you discover a wealth of information about your ancestors from many historical newspapers, magazines, and other periodicals. These types of sources can often supplement public records and provide information that is not recorded anywhere else. Here, you can learn more about your ancestor's possible daily activities by placing them in the context of their time.
  • Directories & Member Lists - Directories and member lists are typically compilations of information about people who belonged to various associations and groups or lived within city boundaries. They can be thought of as the predecessors to the modern-day phone book and usually list names, addresses, and sometimes the occupations of your ancestors.
  • Michigan Genealogical Society Books at Amazon.com

County Church & Cemeteries

See Also Church & Cemetery Records in Michigan

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 Saginaw County. Some transcriptions are online. A great site is the Saginaw 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 Saginaw County Cemetery & Church Records. Email us with websites containing Saginaw County Cemetery & Church Records by clicking the link below:

  • Find Obituaries in The World's Largest Newspaper Archive at NewpaperArchive.com! - Find thousands of Michigan obituaries to help you research your family history. Search for a Michigan newspaper obituary about your ancestor or a celebrity. Begin your search today and find death notices and funeral announcements printed in newspapers from Michigan.
  • Revolutionary Soldiers Buried in Michigan
  • Saginaw County, Michigan Cemetery Books at Amazon.com
  • Saginaw County, Michigan Church Books at Amazon.com

Family Trees & Genealogy Tidbits

 

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 Saginaw County Family Trees, web forums and other family type information. Email us with websites containing Saginaw County Family Trees, web forums and other family type information by clicking the link below:

  • Search for Local Michigan Researchers or Earn Money by becoming a Local Michigan Researcher!
  • Search 60 Years Of Everton Data: For the first time ever you can get access to more than 150,000 pedigree files and family group sheets from Evertons. Learn More
  • Sites on USGenweb: [ Saginaw County ] [ Michigan ] [ Main Page ]
  • Search the Family Tree DNA Project- Use DNA testing to break through your genealogical barriers!
  • The Michigan Family Group Sheet Project
  • Saginaw County MIGenWeb Archives
  • [GenForum Message Boards] [Rootsweb Message Boards]
  • Genealogy Encyclopedia: General Abbreviations, Early Illnesses, Nickname Meanings, Worldwide Epidemics, Early Occupations, Common Terms, Censuses Explained, Free Genealogical Forms
  • Nichols and Related Families of Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Florida, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, and Virgina.
  • Family Trees - Ancestry has thousands of family trees shared by other members. They can help you identify how ancestors are related and give you clues about birth, marriage, and death information. Family trees are an excellent resource for filling in gaps in your research or even to simply know where to begin.
  • Pictures - One of the more exciting discoveries in doing family history research is finding a photograph of your ancestors or their residence. Finding historic postcard photos and drawings of towns and important events throughout history can also give you a visual look into your ancestors lives.
  • Reference Materials & Finding Aids - Reference materials, including dictionaries, encyclopedias, and other how-to books, can be tremendously helpful in finding and interpreting historical documents. Many of these books can help you learn where to look for more information and how to use what you've already found to uncover more clues.
  • Saginaw County, Michigan Family Books at Amazon.com

Extended History

 

Saginaw County is located in eastern mid-Michigan. It is comprised of 812 square miles. The county was first settled in 1816 and incorporated in 1857 from the parent county of Oakland. The county seat is the city of Saginaw. The Sauk Indians first inhabited this land. O-Sag-A-Nog means "land of the Sauks". The Sauk Indian tribes fled the area to escape the Iroquois. Eventually the land was occupied by the Chippewa, with whom Governor Lewis Cass signed the Treaty of Saginaw in 1819. This treaty ceded most of the eastern half of Michigan's lower peninsula to the United States Government. Fur trading was an important first industry for Saginaw. By 1864, there were 61 lumber mills operating in the Saginaw River Valley. Saginaw County boasts over 600 miles of streams and rivers.

General Information
Saginaw County contains three cities, 27 townships and five incorporated villages. The population of the County, according to the Federal Census of 1990, is 211,946, of which the City of Saginaw has 69,512. Saginaw County has 814 square miles of rich, fertile soil. It is one of the leading producers of sugar beets and beans in the nation. The top employers of Saginaw County include Delphi Saginaw Steering Systems, General Motors PowerTrain Division, St. Mary's Medical Center, Delphi Chassis Systems, Saginaw City School District, Ameritech and the State of Michigan. Saginaw County has 13 Public School Districts and total enrollment in public schools is 38,928. Saginaw County also has a Vocational Training Center called Averill Career Opportunities Center, Delta Community College, Saginaw Valley State University and Great Lakes College. The County is governed by a legislative body consisting of a 15 member Board of Commissioners, each of whom is elected for a term of two years from districts of approximately 14,000 people. The County Controller/Chief Administrative Officer oversees all of the daily activity within the County. Saginaw County employs approximately 750 full-time and part-time personnel and has a 1999 total operating budget of $120,939,203. The 1999 General Fund budget totals $36,338,724.

County Government in Michigan
There are more than 2400 counties, cities, townships, villages, and school districts in Michigan. Each of these has its own governing body elected by the people, and each has some power to collect taxes. This section briefly describes the ways in which counties may be organized and governed in Michigan.

83 Counties
265 Cities
1245 Townships
266 Villages
579 School Districts
29 Community Colleges
2467 Total

Few counties are governed in exactly the same way, because the state is made up of very different counties. The kind of government a county has depends on its history, population, size, and geography. Counties are known as "local governments" because the people of each county decide for themselves, through locally elected officials what services the county will provide. Counties are also known as "general purpose" governments. General purpose means they provide a number of general services to their residents, such as a Court System, Clerk, Prosecutor, Public Works, Register of Deeds, Sheriff, and Treasurer. The State constitution provides a detailed framework for county government, and allows the State legislature to create more general and specific laws for each county. The county is the largest political subdivision of the state. Regardless of the size or kinds of services performed, most counties in the state have the same general form of government, except for three counties (Wayne is a charter county, Oakland and Bay counties have a unified elected manager form of government).

Legislative Branch
The County Board of Commissioners is the governing body exercising legislative and executive functions for the county. Each county is divided into districts with may vary from 3 to 35 based upon the county's population. A Commissioner is elected from each district for a two-year term. Saginaw County has 15 districts and 15 elected Commissioners, each representing about 14,000 people.

Executive Branch
The County Clerk in many counties serves as the clerk of the court and handles much of the administrative work of the Board of Commissioners including the agendas and minutes. The clerk also may make sure that the proposed ordinances are properly advertised and marriage licenses and birth and death certificates are properly issued. The Prosecutor, like the Judges of the courts in which he or she appears, is more of a state official than a local one. This is because the administration of justice is a state function. The prosecutor is the chief law enforcement officer in the county. In many counties, the prosecutor serves as the legal advisor to the Board - drawing up contracts and ordinances in proper legal form, giving legal opinions, and representing the county in lawsuits. In other places, there is a separate official, usually called the county attorney who does the work. The Public Works Commissioner, sometimes called the Drain Commissioner in other counties, operates and repairs all the county drains. The Register of Deeds is the official recordkeeper of all real property transactions in the county. The Sheriff is in charge of the county jail. A sheriff delivers summonses (orders to appear in court). In addition, he is usually in a law enforcement officer. The Treasurer receives, invests, accounts for, and pays out all the county's money. Some counties have full-time Administrators, also known as Controllers, who handle the day-today operations of the county government. Usually, larger counties with complex issues and a wide variety of services need a full-time administrator. The Board of Commissioners in these counties usually focus on setting policy, while staff seek to implement the policy.

Judicial Branch
There are three different types of courts related to county government. All judges are elected to a 6-year term. The Circuit Court is the highest trial court in the state. It is made up of one to four counties, with 1-33 Judges per circuit, depending on the caseload. The court will hear civil cases over $25,000 (effective 1-1-98) and all felony criminal cases. It also hears appeals from lower courts. The District Courts are local courts that serve the population within their district. The number of Judges in each district is based upon the size of its population. It is the first court level for criminal and civil cases. The Probate Courts hear cases involving juvenile delinquents and dependents. They also hear civil cases involving wills and estates. There is usually one Probate Court per county with one or two Judges. Some counties will combine their probate courts and have several judges (Wayne County has 12). Some Counties will appoint a Court Administrator to Circuit, District, and Probate Courts. A court administrator is responsible for supervising the day to day operations of the court. This person also helps monitor the workload of each of the courts.

History
Saginaw County (Formerly Saginaw Township)
For a period extending over four years, between 1831 and 1835, the district known as the County of Saginaw formed a township attached to Oakland County for judicial purposes. The Legislative Council of the Territory ordained that "all that part of the county lying within the limits of the County of Sagana herefore be set off and established as the County of Sagana, be and the same hereby be set off into a separate township and the name thereof shall be Sagana. The first township meeting to be held in such a township shall be held at the fort of the Sagana, on the first Monday in April, which will be the year 1831". This act was approved July 12, 1830 , and came into force in 1831, when Gardner D. Williams was elected supervisor. The name Saginaw is derived from the language of the Chippewa and it means "Land of The Sauks". The entire Saginaw Valley was inhabited by the warlike Sauks. However, around the year 1520, the Chippewas invaded the territory in great force, and in a series of battles the Sauks were virtually annihilated. The bloodiest of these battles was fought on what has since been known as Skull island in the Saginaw River and on a bluff on the Flint River about a mile from the present Village of Flushing.

Saginaw Becomes A County
The boundaries of the County of Saginaw were set by proclamation of Governor Cass on September 10, 1822. These boundaries were subsequently changed by an act of the Legislative Council, approved, March 2, 1831. During 1834, the question of conferring on the township of Saginaw the status of a County was discussed and a resolution of the Council was passed to the effect: "That the County of Saginaw shall be organized when this act takes effect" -- This act of organization was approved January 28, 1835, and put in force the second Monday of February, 1835.

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