Manistee County was created on 1 Apr 1840 (organized in 1855) and was formed from Mckinac County. Some early records before 1855 may be located in Grand Traverse and Ottewa Counties . The County was named for a Native American name was first applied to the county's principal river. It means "river at whose mouth there are islands." The County Seat is Manistee .
Counties adjacent to Manistee County are Benzie County (north), Wexford County (east), Lake County (southeast), Mason County (southwest). Townships found in Manistee County include Arcadia, Bear, Brown, Cleon, Dickson, Filer Charter, Manistee, Maple Grove, Marilla, Norman, Onekama, Pleasanton, Springdale, Stronach Townships. Cities, Towns and Communities include Arcadia, Bear Lake, Brethren, Copemish, East Lake, Eastlake, Filer City, Kaleva, Manistee, Onekama, Wellston, Marquette County are Arnold, Big Bay, Champion, Gwinn, Ishpeming, Little Lake, Marquette, Michigamme, National Mine, Negaunee, Palmer, Republic, Skandia.
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 Manistee County Courthouse, 415 Third Street, (Government Center), Manistee, MI 49660 , 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.
Manistee County Clerk has the following Records for: Births & Deaths: 1867 to present (Birth records must be at least 110 years old. Clerk's staff are the only people who can search birth records), Marriages: 1867 to present, Divorces: Actual court documents: 1950 to present(copies of Liber pages only are available before 1950), Circuit Court Criminal Records: 1867 to present, Other: Naturalization papers . The Office is located at the County Courthouse, see address above for contact information. Phone: 231-723-3331 .
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.
Manistee County Register of Deeds has Land Records from 1868 and is located at the County Courthouse, see address above for contact information. Phone: (231)723-2146 .
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.
Manistee County Clerk of the Probate Court has Probate Records from 1881 and is located at the County Courthouse, see address above for contact information. Phone: (231)723-3261 .
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.
Manistee County Clerk of the Circuit Court has Court Records from 1855 and is located at the County Courthouse, see address above for contact information. Phone: (231)723-6664 .
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 Manistee County Court Records. Email us with websites containing Manistee 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 Manistee County Vital Records. Email us with websites containing Manistee 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 Manistee 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 Manistee 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 Manistee County Census Records. Email us with websites containing Manistee 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 Manistee County Maps. Email us with websites containing Manistee 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 Manistee County Military Records. Email us with websites containing Manistee 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 Manistee County Genealogical Addresses. Email us with websites containing Manistee 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 Manistee County. Some transcriptions are online. A great site is the Manistee 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 Manistee County Cemetery & Church Records. Email us with websites containing Manistee 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 Manistee County Family Trees, web forums and other family type information. Email us with websites containing Manistee County Family Trees, web forums and other family type information by clicking the link below:
The history of American civilization and progress is thronged with instances of rapid development and sturdy growth.
Since the "Star of Empire" first took its way into the trackless wilds of a now busy West, wonder has been added to wonder by the transformations that have been wrought. Less than fifty years ago, foxes, wolves and Indians were in possession of the quagmires, upon which since has grown the opulent and magnificent city of Chicago; the pride of its half million inhabitants, and the envy of the East.
Fifty years ago, the waters of Lake Michigan were unruffled, save by the bark canoe and the storms of heaven. Today her sky is blackened with the smoke and whitened with the sails of a busy commerce, her ports are known in the trading centers of all the world.
In 1837 Michigan, the "Lake Country," was admitted to the sisterhood of the states. Three years prior to that time, her whole population numbered but 87,278 persons. In 1880 the census found a population of 1,636,937. So this commonwealth has grown; and today, looking over its busy cities and strong, young villages; its harbors and its marts of trade; its railroads, its churches and its schools, there is much to justify a feeling of pride over past achievements, and to strengthen faith in the energies of her people to develop and utilize the resources that lie, as yet untouched, in forest, soil and mine.
The historian who faithfully performs the task committed to his charge, will sift carefully the material which he gathers, in conscientious endeavor to preserve and use only such as bears the marks of genuineness. The page of history, to possess the value that is claimed for it, must contain a recital of facts, instead of a tale of fiction. Its mission is not to while away a listless hour, but to transmit to an ever-coming future the events and experiences of an ever-receding past.
In the preparation of this work, the aim of the historian has been to crowd these pages with facts, rather than to embellish them with figures of rhetoric, or pictures of fancy.
That part included within the scope of this work, is an important factor in the prosperity and rank to which the commonwealth has already attained. It would be scarcely possible to have a rational conception of a more rapid and real transformation than has here been wrought through the agency of human foresight, energy and enterprise. The ear is continually being startled with tales of miraculous development; of cities springing into life and attaining the stature of maturity in a day; of fortunes acquired at a single stroke; but here no mine of wealth was suddenly opened to pour out a flood of treasure, yielding fortunes as if by magic. There was not even the charm of natural scenery to entice, nor richness of soil to induce immigration.
In the early days, which the pioneers, traveling on foot along the sandy beach, or in boats upon the eastern margin of Lake Michigan, had reached a point 175 miles from Chicago, they found a narrow river emptying its waters into the lake. For about a mile the stream pursued its serpentine course, hedged in upon either side by sand bluffs covered with forests of pine. Beyond, the stream widened into an irregular-shaped lake, stretching away into the forests, and all its shore having a background of pine. About the mouth of the river were sand hills and sand plains all covered with pine. The scene presented was dreary and desolate. But all the products of the great Creator minister to some wise purpose, and the fullness of the earth is for the benefit of man, if his genius and energy are applied to its utilization for wise ends. This forest of pine was destined to become a great commercial product. To convert it into wealth would employ capital and labor, and of this harmonious and profitable union would come homes and shops, tradesmen and artisans, villages and cities.
The vein of ore which the miner's pick uncovers today may disappear upon the morrow, and the fortune which he gathered, the home he made, the city he founded in the dreams of the intervening night, vanish as a castle in the air, but the pine forest is a reality that furnishes a tangible basis of calculation.
In the natural order of things, there came a time when the manufacturer of lumber, hunting for a favorable location, lodged here, and put into operation his primitive methods and machinery. He selected a site for a water mill upon the river beyond the little lake. This was thirty-one years ago. This region was as remote from civilization as though the continent had never been discovered. Others followed, attracted by the great supply of pine timber, and the favorable location for manufacturing it into lumber. Small clearings were made, and a couple of mills built on the little lake. At the mouth of the river another mill was built, and a village started.
Until 1840 Mackinaw County included all that part of the lower peninsula of Michigan lying north of Mason County, and also a large part of the upper peninsula. The rest of this shore, as far south as Allegan, was Ottawa County.
In 1840 this vast territory was divided up, and laid off into counties, nearly as they now appear upon the map, and then, for the first time, Manistee County had a local habitation and a name, and for judicial purposes was attached to Mackinaw County.
In 1846 it was attached to Ottawa County, and the county offices were at Grand Haven, and there was also the nearest justice of the peace. Matrimony, in those days,was a serious matter, and attended with no little trouble. There was no one nearer than Grand Haven or Milwaukee authorized to speak the magic words so charming to the ear, and a trip of ninety miles by canoe, or on foot, was an excursion of considerable magnitude.
In 1851 the county was attached to Oceana, county seat at Middlesex, and in 1853 attached to Grand Traverse, to which it remained attached until the Spring of 1855, when it was organized and raised to the honorable dignity of local sovereignty. Prior to 1855, Manistee, Wexford and Missaukee Counties comprised one township, or rather, they were embraced in the township organization of Manistee town.