Michigan State Census Records
Abrams Foundation Genealogy Highlights
Volume 6, Number 1
Many genealogy researchers are familiar with U.S. census records in researching their family history. Not as well known, however, is that the State of Michigan conducted its own censuses of population. Originally designed for determining state legislative apportionment, these under-utilized historical resources are invaluable tools in Michigan genealogical research. With the first survey taken in 1827 before statehood, Michigan steadily conducted complete censuses of its population up to 1904. Although most of these records have unfortunately disappeared, many of the surviving schedules are from the mid- to late 19th century, a period of special interest to genealogists. Availability for these records depends on the year and the specific county. Although incomplete, the surviving census schedules still remain an important resource in family history research.
With some families moving a number of times over a 10-year period, locating ancestors can be quite difficult. However, because Michigan state censuses were conducted between the federal ones, some researchers may be able to locate their elusive ancestors with these state records. Although most of the Michigan state census records are not indexed as completely as their federal counterparts, they may still be very effective if a researcher is unable to locate an ancestor in the federal census. Given the near-complete loss of the 1890 U.S. Census, state census records can sometimes serve as an effective substitute, giving special value to the surviving 1884 and 1894 Michigan schedules.
This publication is an overview of Michigan state census resources available at the Library of Michigan. Titles may be located by searching ANSWER, the Library's online catalog. The easiest way to locate additional Michigan state census resources on ANSWER is with a keyword search using the term census, followed by the county name and specific census year. For example, a search using the phrase census kent county 1884 will list both the Library's microfilmed copy of the census and the index. Clicking on the links in this publication will take you to the ANSWER catalog search results or the catalog record for a particular item.
Barnett, LeRoy. "State Censuses of Michigan: A Tragedy of Lost Treasures." Family Trails 5.1 (1983): 1-25.
Michigan Documents F 565 .F35
Lainhart, Ann S. State Census Records. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Co., 1992.
Genealogy CS 68 .L37 1992
1894 Muskegon County, Michigan, Census Index, Head of Household. Muskegon: Muskegon County Genealogical Society, 1996.
Michigan F 572 .M9 A18 1996
Branch County, Michigan, State Censuses for 1854 & 1874. Coldwater: Branch County Genealogical Society, 1995.
Michigan F 572 .B8 B75 1995
Eaton County, Michigan Surname Index: 1854 Census. Lansing: State Archives of Michigan, 1991.
Michigan Documents F 572 .E2 E35 1991
Hillsdale County, Michigan, 1894 State Census Index. Litchfield: Southern Michigan Genealogical Society, 1989.
Michigan F 572 .H6 H65 1989
Index of 1894 State Census for Washtenaw County, Michigan. Ann Arbor: Genealogical Society of Washtenaw County, 1984.
Michigan F 572 .W3 I5 1984
Index to the 1884 State Census of Kent County, Michigan. Grand Rapids: Western Michigan Genealogical Society, 1990.
Michigan F 572 .K3 I53 1990
Jackson, Ronald V., ed. Michigan 1845 State Census: St. Joseph Co., Lenawee Co., Washtenaw Co., Eaton Co. North Salt Lake, UT: Accelerated Indexing, 1988.
Michigan F 565 .M56 1988
Lucas, Richard E., ed. Index to Ingham County, Michigan 1894 Census. 6 vols. Lansing: Mid-Michigan Genealogical Society, 1994.
Michigan F 572 .I5 I52 1994
Midland County, Michigan Census Records, 1850-1894: A Listing of All Persons Appearing on the Official Census Rolls. Midland: Midland Genealogical Society, 1984.
Michigan F 572 .M6 M532z
Sawyer, Evelyn M., comp. Index 1884 Ottawa County, State Census Michigan. Hudsonville: E.M. Sawyer, 1996.
Michigan F 572 .O8 S395 1996
What follows is a detailed listing of the Library of Michigan's holdings of Michigan state census population schedules. A "Y" under the Index column indicates that the Library owns an index for this county, which generally includes only the names of the heads of household; a "N" means that the Library does not own an index. In the Notes column, "Incomplete" means that the Library of Michigan does not own the entire state census for that year, or that not all of the county's records have survived. "Abstract" indicates that the Library of Michigan's copy has been compiled or transcribed from the original source. "Index only" means that the Library of Michigan owns an index to the state census, but not the record itself.
Michigan State Censuses Available at the Library of Michigan