Shiawassee County was created on 10 Sep 1822 (Organized in 1837) and was formed from Unorganized land, Oakland and St. Clair Counties. Some early records before 1837 may be located in Genesee County. The County was named for the river, its derivation is difficult. Suggestions have included: "now it is light," "straight running river," "twisting river," "sparkling waters," green river" and "it runs backward and forward." The County Seat is Corunna .
Counties adjacent to Shiawassee County are Saginaw County (north), Genesee County (east), Clinton County (west), Livingston County (southeast), Ingham County (southwest), Gratiot County (northwest). Townships found in Shiawassee County include Antrim, Bennington, Burns, Caledonia, Fairfield, Hazelton, Middlebury, New Haven, Owosso, Perry, Rush, Sciota, Shiawassee, Venice, Vernon, Woodhull Townships. Cities, Towns and Communities include Bancroft, Byron, Corunna, Durand, Henderson, Laingsburg, Lennon, Morrice, New Lothrop, Owosso, Perry, Shaftsburg, Vernon.
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 Shiawassee County Courthouse, 208 N. Shiawassee Street, Corunna, MI 48817 , 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.
Shiawassee County Clerk has the following Records for: Births & Deaths: 1867 to present (Deaths Records are in large ledger books from 1867 to 1933 and then on microfilm from 1934 to present), Marriages: 1867 to present (Records are in large ledger books from 1867 to 1933 and then on microfilm from 1934 to present), Divorces: 1861 to present, Naturalization Papers: 1890s to 1960s, Veterans Discharge Papers: 1865 to present. . The Office is located at the County Courthouse, see address above for contact information. Phone: 989-743-2242 .
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.
Shiawassee County Register of Deeds has Land Records from 1836 and is located at the County Courthouse, see address above for contact information. Phone: (989)743-2374 .
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.
Shiawassee County Clerk of the Probate Court has Probate Records from 1840 and is located at the County Courthouse, see address above for contact information. Phone: (989)743-2211 .
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.
Shiawassee County Clerk of the Circuit Court has Court Records from 1848 and is located at the County Courthouse, see address above for contact information. Phone: (989)743-2239 .
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 Shiawassee County Court Records. Email us with websites containing Shiawassee 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 Shiawassee County Vital Records. Email us with websites containing Shiawassee 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 Shiawassee 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 Shiawassee 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 Shiawassee County Census Records. Email us with websites containing Shiawassee 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 Shiawassee County Maps. Email us with websites containing Shiawassee 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 Shiawassee County Military Records. Email us with websites containing Shiawassee 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 Shiawassee County Genealogical Addresses. Email us with websites containing Shiawassee 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 Shiawassee County. Some transcriptions are online. A great site is the Shiawassee 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 Shiawassee County Cemetery & Church Records. Email us with websites containing Shiawassee 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 Shiawassee County Family Trees, web forums and other family type information. Email us with websites containing Shiawassee County Family Trees, web forums and other family type information by clicking the link below:
Court House Square - Corunna, Michigan
In 1840, Alexander McArthur's Shiawassee County Seat Company, donated a block of land 300 feet square to Shiawassee County for a public square and for county offices.
Until the first court house was completed in Corunna in 1839, the body politic met at the Old Exchange, at Shiawasseetown, at Corunna and Newburg.
In 1843, the 20' X 36' court house, constructed on the Square in Corunna by Stephen Hawkins for $345.00, proved to be too small from the beginning, and rooms had to be rented for the courts.
A brick court house was built in 1851 at a cost of $4,500.00 and with two additions including a jail. This building served well for 50 years, however more space was needed.
In 1883, a new jail was built.
In 1903, the county voted to erect a new court house. Clare Allen was the architect. The building cost was estimated to cost $75,000.
The above photos were taken before the clock was installed in 1910. Notice the old Sheriff's House and Jail, on the right, which was torn down in the early 1960's.
The Court House corner stone laying was held on May 4, 1904, according to the forms and customs of the ancient craft of the Free and Accepted Masons. Hugh McCurdy gave a masterful oration. The ceremony was witnessed by thousands of people. It was finished by 1906 and it was not until about 1910 that the clock and bell was added. The clock is an E. Howard & Co. round-top style, running 4 six foot dials.
The building is in the French renaissance design, somewhat Americanized, the exterior is faced with Berea stone, the portico has stone columns, 3'6" in diameter, height of 39 feet. The portico floor and ceiling are of stone. The tower is of stone, height from grade to top is 122 feet.
The cornice is made of copper and the roof of terra cotta tile. The exterior is richly decorated with stone carvings and mouldings. The building is 116 X 86 feet and the halls and rotundas are wainscoted with marble. All of the stairs are of marble and the floors are ceramic tile.
The court room and supervisors room is wainscoted with quartered white oak and the ceilings have ornamental plastering.
There has always been speculation whether or not the courthouse was paid for. One of the wealthier citizens of Corunna loaned money for the courthouse until a bond issue could be voted on. There were no signed papers and neither the citizen or his heirs were able to collect. The matter was settled by higher courts and the loan was considered a "gentleman's agreement." It was decided through legal channels and the Shiawassee County Courthouse belongs to the people of Shiawassee County.
There was a flag pole mounted on the top of the tower and small doorway allows access to the base of the pole from the outside. To get to the doorway is no small feat, as you had to climb a narrow ladder, high above the clock room. Sometime in the 1920's the rope broke which ran up through a pulley at the top of the flag pole. This would call for a very special person who dared to shinny up a flag pole. As luck would have it, the circus came to town and one of the acrobats, who thought it would be good publicity, threaded the rope back through the pulley, as the whole town watched.
Asa Elkins remembered as a boy in the 1920,s, standing on the northwest corner of Shiawassee St. and Corunna Ave., during a thunderstorm, watching a bolt of lightning strike the flag pole, blowing it to pieces. It was never replaced.
The GAR held there meetings in the basement of this building until the mid 1940's. Some old-timers remember large murals painted on the walls depicting battle scenes.
In the early 1970's, there was talk of tearing down the building, however, it would cost $75,000 to do the demolition work. In the 1980's, a study showed that the old court house was more energy efficent than the 1969 annex building.
The courthouse was completely refurbished under the leadership of George Hoddy. Many others worked on several committees and $2,000,000 was raised for the needed repairs.
The Court House is the undisputed 'GEM' of Shiawassee County. Not only worth millions of dollars, but it is used daily by hundreds of people and it quietly reminds us of time we have left, as it tolls the hours of the day.