Vital Information about Macomb County Vital Records
I wish to thank Ann Faulkner who has written this statement about records for Macomb County. Her contribution will answer many a researchers question about what types of record the county holds, costs to obtain, etc.
Macomb Co Marriages.
Although the marriages begin in 1819, you will find
that many marriages were not recorded in the County records until the
marriage license law went into effect in 1887. Prior to that date
marriages were to be recorded, but where they were recorded is the big
question. You will find many recorded in Church records that never made it
to the County ledgers. The same goes for JP records etc.
Marriage records 1819-1922 are on microfilm at the Mount Clemens Library.
The same (except for 1849-1861) are available through a FHC. You can also
go to the County Clerk's Office
Tue-Thur 9:30-11:30, for these or later
records. You can hand record information at the Clerk's Office, but you
cannot have the original record photocopied. The only records you can get
there are certified copies at $10 each.
To pinpoint when a person left the county (between censuses).
There are several sources to check, the easiest being the grantor deed indexes. The
deeds, mortgages & their indexes are located on the 2nd floor of the old
County Building, 10 N. Main. You can go there and freely research between
8:30 & 5:00. Or you can order the indexes through about 1907 (& the
records up to about 1889) through a FHC. The Register of Deeds Office will
not research for you. If you know the specific pages they will copy them
and mail them at the cost of $1/pg. I believe the current wait is
approximately 4 months. A warning concerning deeds. If transfers were
made (especially between family members) you might not find the deed
recorded until many, many years after the transaction took place, such as
when the property was again sold or was sold out of the family. Deeds are
found in order by the date they were recorded, not by the date the
transaction took place.
Assessment & Tax records are another source. Assessment records may also
include personal property so you may find people not found in the deed
records. Most of the early Macomb Co tax & assessment records
1838-1860/1870 are at the Michigan State Archives. These are not indexed
and are arranged by township, and thereafter by section. To search these
records you have to do so in person or hire a researcher in Lansing.
Contact the Archives to see if they have the specific years for the township
you are interested in. After that date the assessment records are usually
found at local level unless transferred to another location. For instance,
many of the Shelby Twp Assessment Rolls between 1874 and 1920 are at the
Shelby Twp. Library and the Warren Township Rolls at the Warren Historical
Society. Electors/Voters lists may also be found on the local level. You
need to contact the township/city offices and/or local historical societies
concerning either of these types of records. The County also has tax books
dating back at least to the 1860's, but these are not accessible to
All deeds are kept at kept at the County
level. At the local level you might find chattel deeds. These are
deeds/mortgages of personal (not real) property. The document which lists
the chain of ownership of a certain piece of property was an abstract of
title, which was updated and passed onto a new owner of a piece of property
to prove a clear title. These were wonderful as they included not only
deeds, but probate records. This was a private, not a governmental record
and unfortunately is no longer required because of title insurance. Many
of these are regularly destroyed by Title Companies or private persons. If
you have one of these for your home, but it is not of genealogical value to
you, please consider donating it to a local society interested in it's
Incidentally, if you have the legal description of a piece of property, and
wish to know the address and who currently owns the property, you can
contact the Landfile Department in the old County Building. This is all
computerized and they are very cooperative.
There is another relatively unknown County Record entitled "Miscellaneous
Record." This unindexed volume is full of wonderful genealogical
information, such as agreements between parents and children to care for
them in their old age, marriage agreements, military discharges,
naturalizations etc. Before long, this volume will be photocopied, indexed
and placed in the Mount Clemens Library.