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MI Court, Land & Wills
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Michigan Vital Records
Facts on Birth Records | Facts on Marriage Records | Facts on Death Records |
Click Here for More Detailed Information on Researching Vital Records

Michigan State Vital Records Office, Michigan Dept of Community Health, 3423 N. Martin Luther King Blvd, P. O. Box 30721, Lansing, MI 48909, (517) 335-8666. Births and death records begin in January, 1867, although registration of all vital records was certainly not totally enforced. A 1905 law was much more effective. Delivery Time is 4-6 weeks by mail or you can reciebve the certificates in as little as 2-5 days by ordering on line through Vital Chek Services

Fill out the appropriate application form from the MDCH web site. Make check or money order payable to State of Michigan. Copies of most records since 1867 may also be obtained from the County Clerk in the county where the event occurred. Fees vary, or you can reciebve the certificates in as little as 2-5 days by ordering on line through Vital Chek Services

Photocopies of these registrations can be ordered from the Michigan Department of Public Health. Birth records in Michigan are available only to the individual to whom the record pertains, the parent(s) named on the record, any heir, legal guardian, or any legal representative of an eligible person. Relationship to the person named on the birth record, and date and place of death for the person named on the birth record, must be supplied. Photocopies of death, marriage, and divorce records are available to any individual or agency upon written application and payment of the fee.

Official forms are required for either a certified copy of any vital record or genealogical research copy of a marriage, death, or divorce record.

Some township clerks also recorded births and deaths.
Microfilm copies of indexes to specific groups of Michigan vital records are at the Library of Michigan, State Archives of Michigan, Burton Historical Collection of the Detroit Public Library, and the Allen County Public Library in Fort Wayne, Indiana:

The government archive records at the Burton Historical Collection include the forms for Wayne County Marriage Returns. Completed by a minister or civil authority, the forms were sent to the county clerk between 1818-88, although most are dated 1860-77. The forms include the date of the marriage and names of the bride and groom with their color, residence, age, place of birth, and occupation.

Facts on Birth Records

Most early birth records contain very little biographical information. Typical early New England town and church records, for example, give little information beyond the name of the child, date and place of birth, and parents? names. Some localities listed only the name of the father.

While early birth records can be discouragingly lacking in information, by the mid-nineteenth century birth records in the United States began to include more information. Even though births were not widely recorded during the early years of America?s existence, the records that do exist may be the only source of a birth date for an individual and should always be consulted.

Delayed births are also important vital registrations that you should consider for obtaining biographical information. When Social Security benefits were instituted in 1937, individuals claiming benefits had to document their birth even if the state of their birth did not require registration when they were born.

Individuals who were not registered with state or county agencies at the time of their birth often applied for a delayed birth registration. Obtaining passports, insurance, and other benefits also required proof of age. Applications were accompanied with full name, address, and date and place of birth; father?s name, race, and place of birth; and evidence to support the facts presented. The evidence could be in the form of a baptismal certificate, Bible record, school record, affidavit from the attending physician or midwife, application for an insurance policy, birth certificate of a child, or an affidavit from a person having definite knowledge of the facts. Delayed birth records are usually filed and indexed separately from regular birth registrations, and it may be necessary to request a separate search for them.

  • Search All U.S and Foriegn Birth, Marriage and Death Records
  • 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.

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Facts on Marriage Records

Because of the importance of the legal distribution and control of property, most states and counties began to record marriages before births and deaths. The recording of a marriage is a two-step process. Traditionally, couples apply for a license to marry, and the applications are usually filed loose among other applications or in bound volumes. Marriage returns are filed once the marriage has taken place. The latter document is the proof of a marriage (not the license application).

Marriage applications are often filled out by both the bride and groom and typically contain a significant amount of genealogical information. They may list full names of the bride and groom, their residences, races, ages, dates and places of birth, previous marriages, occupations, and their parents? names, places of birth, and occupations.

Marriage certificates are issued by counties after the marriage ceremony is completed, and these are usually found among family items. While the certificates tend to have less biographical data than the application, the name of the individual officiating at the wedding may lead you to religious records by revealing the denomination. The religious records, in turn, may reveal the names of witnesses and other useful information.
Early American records sometimes include marriage bonds, which served as a protection for the future children of the marriage. A bond obligated a prospective groom to pay the bond if he were discovered to be a bigamist or imposter or otherwise ineligible to contract a valid marriage. As long as the marriage was legal, the bond was void. Bonds generally include the groom?s name, name of the surety, the sum, and the date of the agreement.

  • Search U.S. and International Marriage Records, 1560-1900

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Facts on Death Records

Early death records in the United States provide little more than the name of the deceased, the date of death, and the place of death. Obituaries and cemetery, court, and other records often provide more information about the deceased than do most official death records created before the last quarter of the 1800s.

By 1900 death records included more details. They often include the name of the deceased; date, place, and cause of death; age at the time of death; place of birth; parents? names; occupation; name of spouse; name of the person giving the information; the informant?s relationship to the deceased; the name and address of the funeral director; and the place of burial. Race is listed in some records, and modern death certificates generally include a Social Security number.

  • Social Security Death Index
  • Obituary Collection
  • 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.

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