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Michigan: Local History & Genealogy Resource Guide

Vital Records

Based on the date of the vital event (birth, death, marriage, divorce), determine whether you are seeking a state, territory, county, or parish level record. If the record you are seeking has been digitized, you can access it online, through the projects described below. If it has not been digitized or if you need a certified copy, contact the appropriate state or county office to view the record.

Timeline of Vital Records

Birth Records
Death Records

Michigan provides online access, as follows:

Marriage Records

Note: Early records, particularly 1805-1820, are rare. Record keeping improved as later laws enforced registrations.

Divorce Records

Online Resources for Vital Records

The subscription resources marked with a padlock are available to researchers on-site at the Library of Congress. If you are unable to visit the Library, you may be able to access these resources through your local public or academic library.

Using Ancestry Library Edition for Michigan

Begin your search through Ancestry's vast collections, by viewing the list designated as Michigan records External.

The following databases represent the type of content you may find. See Michigan records External for a complete list.

Using FamilySearch for Michigan

FamilySearch provides useful state and county wikis that make excellent starting points for research. The Michigan Wiki External includes links to each of its counties.

FamilySearch has digitized many of its microfilms containing county courthouse records. Not all records have been indexed yet, so search engine results may NOT show you the full range of FamilySearch data. You must browse the FamilySearch catalog External listings for each county to view the full set of records available. The vast amount of accessible original records is well worth your time to explore.

There is no fee to use FamilySearch, but you must create a free, personal account to access the databases and digital records.

The following databases represent the type of content you may find. See Michigan Wiki External for a complete list.

Obtaining Copies of Vital Records

Contact the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services to learn more about accessing state-level records and explore additional options for obtaining copies. They provide online order forms for the following:

  • Birth Certificates: 1867-present
  • Death Certificates: 1867-present
  • Marriage Records: 1867-present
  • Divorce Records: 1897-present
  • Affidavit of Parentage: June 1, 1997-present (Records filed prior to 1997 may be obtained from the court where they were filed.)

Published Vital Records

Below are selected print publications for statewide vital records. The following titles link to fuller bibliographic information in the Library of Congress Online Catalog. Links to additional online content are included when available.

To locate additional published materials, go to the Print Resources section of this guide for search tips on locating published county courthouse records, abstracts, and indexes that may aide you in locating original records at the county level.