Sanilac County was created on 10 Sep 1822 (Organized in 1848) and was formed from St. Clair County and Unorganized Land. Some early records before 1848 may be located in Oakland and Lapeer Counties. The County was named for Sanilac, a chief, according to Wyandotte (Huron) traditions. The County Seat is Sandusky .
Counties adjacent to Sanilac County are Huron County (north), Tuscola County (west), St. Clair County (south), Lapeer County (southwest), Huron County, Ontario, Canada (east). Townships found in Sanilac County include Argyle, Austin, Bridgehampton, Buel, Custer, Delaware, Elk, Elmer, Evergreen, Flynn, Forester, Fremont, Greenleaf, Lamotte, Lexington, Maple Valley, Marion, Marlette, Minden, Moore, Sanilac, Speaker, Washington, Watertown, Wheatland, Worth Townships. Cities, Towns and Communities include Applegate, Argyle, Brown City, Carsonville, Croswell, Decker, Deckerville, Forestville, Lexington, Marlette, Melvin, Minden City, Palms, Peck, Port Sanilac, Sandusky, Snover.
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 Sanilac County Courthouse, 60 West Sanilac Avenue, Sandusky, MI 48471 , 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.
Sanilac County Clerk has the following Records for: Births & Deaths: 1867 to present, Marriages: 1867 to present, Divorces: 1898 to present, Civil Records: 1831 to present, Criminal Records: 1882 to present, Naturalization Records: 1850 to 1964 at State Archives. The Office is located at the County Courthouse, see address above for contact information. Phone: 810-648-3212 .
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.
Sanilac County Register of Deeds has Land Records from 1834 and is located at the County Courthouse, see address above for contact information. Phone: (810)648-2313 .
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.
Sanilac County Clerk of the Probate Court has Probate Records from 1857 and is located at the County Courthouse, see address above for contact information. Phone: (810)648-3221 .
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.
Sanilac County Clerk of the Circuit Court has Court Records from 1850 and is located at the County Courthouse, see address above for contact information. Phone: (810)648-2120 .
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 Sanilac County Court Records. Email us with websites containing Sanilac 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 Sanilac County Vital Records. Email us with websites containing Sanilac 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 Sanilac 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 Sanilac 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 Sanilac County Census Records. Email us with websites containing Sanilac 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 Sanilac County Maps. Email us with websites containing Sanilac 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 Sanilac County Military Records. Email us with websites containing Sanilac 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 Sanilac County Genealogical Addresses. Email us with websites containing Sanilac 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 Sanilac County. Some transcriptions are online. A great site is the Sanilac 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 Sanilac County Cemetery & Church Records. Email us with websites containing Sanilac 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 Sanilac County Family Trees, web forums and other family type information. Email us with websites containing Sanilac County Family Trees, web forums and other family type information by clicking the link below:
The area that would become known as Sanilac County, was originally made part of St. Clair County. for judicial purposes. The area extended to Saginaw Bay and west to Tuscola County in 1848, the Legislature authorized the separate organization of the county and Lexington was the county seat until 1879 when it was moved to Sandusky.
In the Census of 1850, Sanilac Co. had three townships: Worth Lexington and Sanilac. Worth and Lexington Townships were close to the present size; Sanilac Twp. included the rest of the territory in Sanilac and Huron Counties.
The county was covered with forests and travel was difficult. A pioneer account from the HISTORY OF SANILAC COUNTY 1834-1984 p. 225 states Upon their arrival at the Fort (Ft. Gratiot) their packs were remade and only the absolute necessitates could be taken as the balance of the trip, a distance of about 24 miles, had to be made on foot. The balance of the belongings were left at the Fort to be picked up at a later date. There were no roads, only a trail made by the Indians through the woods. This story took place about 1842.
The names of this pioneer and his wife were David & Susanna Taylor McClure. The first settler was Joel Carrington who came into the area that is now know as Worth Twp. in 1834. Reuben Dimmon was 2nd settler and taught the first school just south of the Village of Lexington. Early pioneers as stated in the Portrait and Biographical Album-1884 included Dr. Woodard, John Smith, Uri Raymond, John Ryan, William Leonard, George Smith; William Austin, and the list goes on. See our complete list elsewhere.
Political unrest in Ontario and the promise of jobs in the lumber mills brought many to Sanilac Co. These settlers were of Scotch, Irish and English nationality. By 1860, the townships of Fremont, Speaker, Maple Valley, Buel, Elk, Washington, Marlette, Bridgehampton, Forester, and Austin had been organized and the southern part of the county was being cleared for farming. The first newspaper was The Sanilac Jeffersonian established at Lexington in 1858 and still in operation, is now located in Croswell.
In an article on the front page of The Jeff April 27, 1861 we read an account of a war rally to recruit soldiers to fight for the Union cause in the Civil War. The Sanilac Pioneers, better known as Co. D, 10th Michigan Infantry with Capt. Israel Huckins was made up of many men from Sanilac Co. By 1870 all but two townships were organized. Evergreen, 1873, Custer in 1877 and Wheatland in 1881 completed Sanilac Co. as we know it today.
Sanilac Co. is an agricultural county with sugar beets, corn, wheat, oats, soy beans, and hay as its major crops. Some of Sanilac Counties tourist attractions are the Sanilac Co. Historical Museum in Port Sanilac; the historic Sanilac Petroglyphs in Greenleaf Twp.; the picturesque village of Lexington; Croswell's Swinging Bridge; and many other interesting sites.