Berrien County, Michigan Genealogy

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Guide to Berrien County, Michigan ancestry, genealogy and family history, birth records, marriage records, death records, census records, family history, and military records.

County Facts
County seat: St.Joseph
Organized: September 1, 1831
Parent County(s): Unorganized territory
Neighboring Counties
Cass  • La Porte (IN)  • St. Joseph (IN)  • Van Buren
See County Maps
Courthouse
Michigan, Berrien County Courthouse.png
Location Map
Michigan, Berrien County Locator Map.png
Adoption

County Information[edit | edit source]

Description[edit | edit source]

The County was named for John M. Berrien. The County is located in the southwest area of the state.[1]

County Courthouse[edit | edit source]

Berrien County Courthouse
811 Port Street
St. Joseph, MI 49085
Phone: 269-983-7111
Berrien County Website

County Clerk has birth and death records from 1867, marriage records from 1831, naturalization records 1835-1985 and military records from 1918.
Probate Court has probate records from 1832.
Register of Deeds has land records from 1831.
Clerk Circuit Court has divorce and court records from 1835. [2]

Berrien County, Michigan Record Dates[edit | edit source]

Information for this chart was taken from various sources, often containing conflicting dates. This information should be taken as a guide and should be verified by contacting the county and/or the state government agency.

Known Beginning Dates for Major County Records[3]
Birth* Marriage Death* Court Land Probate Census
1867 1831 1867 1835 1831 1832 1820
Statewide registration started in 1867 for births and deaths. General compliance by 1915.

Record Loss[edit | edit source]

There is no known history of courthouse disasters in this county.

Boundary Changes[edit | edit source]

Populated Places[edit | edit source]

For a complete list of populated places, including small neighborhoods and suburbs, visit HomeTown Locator. The following are the most historically and genealogically relevant populated places in this county:[5]

Cities
Villages
Unincorporated communities
Native American communities
Census-designated places
Townships


History Timeline[edit | edit source]

Resources[edit | edit source]

Bible Records[edit | edit source]

Biographies[edit | edit source]

Business, Commerce, and Occupations[edit | edit source]

Cemeteries[edit | edit source]

Cemeteries of Berrien County, Michigan online and in print
Tombstone Transcriptions Online
Tombstone Transcriptions in Print (Often more complete)
List of Cemeteries in the County
See Michigan Cemeteries for more information

 

Census Records[edit | edit source]

Historical populations
Census Pop.
1860 3,475
1870 4,518 30.0%
1880 6,619 46.5%
1890 10,694 61.6%
1900 19,440 81.8%
1910 22,722 16.9%
1920 15,573 −31.5%
1930 14,646 −6.0%
1940 15,370 4.9%
1950 13,966 −9.1%
1960 12,038 −13.8%
1970 11,556 −4.0%
1980 13,525 17.0%
1990 14,153 4.6%
2000 16,235 14.7%
2010 19,286 18.8%
Source: [3]


State Census

Church Records[edit | edit source]

Church records and the information they provide vary significantly depending on the denomination and the record keeper. They may contain information about members of the congregation, such as age, date of baptism, christening, or birth; marriage information and maiden names; and death date. For general information about Michigan denominations, view the Michigan Church Records wiki page.

Lutheran

  • Records of the American Lutheran Church, Baroda, in Evangelical Lutheran Church in America database at Archives.com ($).


List of Churches and Church Parishes

Court Records[edit | edit source]

Directories[edit | edit source]

Emigration and Immigration[edit | edit source]

Ethnic, Political, and Religious Groups[edit | edit source]

Funeral Homes[edit | edit source]

Genealogies[edit | edit source]

Guardianship[edit | edit source]

Land and Property Records[edit | edit source]

Land and property records can place an ancestor in a particular location, provide economic information, and reveal family relationships. Land records include: deeds, abstracts and indexes, mortgages, leases, grants and land patents.

See Michigan Land and Property for additional information about early Michigan land grants. After land was transferred to private ownership, subsequent transactions were usually recorded at the Berrien County courthouse and where records are currently housed.

Local Histories[edit | edit source]

Local histories are available for Berrien County. County histories may include biographies, church, school and government history, and military information. For more information about local histories, see the wiki page section Michigan Local Histories.

Maps and Gazetteers[edit | edit source]

Van Buren CountyCass CountySt. Joseph CountyLa Porte County250PX
Click a neighboring county
for more resources

Migration[edit | edit source]

Military Records[edit | edit source]

Civil War
Civil War service men from Berrien County served in various regiments. Men often joined a regiment or a company (within a regiment) that originated in their county. Listed below are the military units that were formed in or had many men from Berrien County.

- 12th Regiment, Michigan Infantry, Companies B, C, E, I, and K
- 17th Regiment, Michigan Infantry, Company B

Online Indexes and Records

World War I

Naturalization and Citizenship[edit | edit source]

Newspapers[edit | edit source]

Obituaries[edit | edit source]

Other Records[edit | edit source]

Periodicals[edit | edit source]

Probate Records[edit | edit source]

In most counties in Michigan, probate records have been kept by the county judge. They include wills, fee books, claim registers, legacy records, inheritance records, probate packets, and dockets. The records are available at the county courthouse.

Online Indexes and Records

School Records[edit | edit source]

Social Security Records[edit | edit source]

Tax Records[edit | edit source]

Michigan tax records complement land records and can be used to supplement the years between censuses. Because only persons who owned taxable property were listed, many residents were not included in tax lists. There may also be gaps of several years in the tax records of some counties. For more information see the Wiki page, Michigan Taxation.

Vital Records[edit | edit source]

  • Birth Records and Death Records from 1867 can be obtained from the Michigan Department of Community Health or the County Clerk's office of the county where the event occurred.
  • Marriage Records from 1867 and Divorce Records from 1897 can be obtained from the County Clerk.

Birth[edit | edit source]

Marriage[edit | edit source]

Death[edit | edit source]

Divorce[edit | edit source]

Research Facilities[edit | edit source]

Archives[edit | edit source]

Listed below are archives in Berrien County. For state-wide archival repositories, see Michigan Archives and Libraries.

Family History Centers[edit | edit source]

Family History Centers provide one-on-one assistance, free access to center-only databases, and to premium genealogical websites.
FamilySearch Affiliate Libraries have access to most center-only databases, but may not always have full services normally provided by a family history center.

Local Centers and Libraries

St Joseph Michigan Family History Center
3653 Niles Avenue
St Joseph, MI 49085
Phone: 269-588-2295
Website

Libraries[edit | edit source]

Listed below are libraries in Berrien County. For state-wide library facilities, see Michigan Archives and Libraries.

Museums[edit | edit source]

North Berrien Historical Museum
300 Coloma Ave
PO Box 207
Coloma, MI 49038
Phone: 269-468-3330
Email: info@northberrienhistory.org
Website

Societies[edit | edit source]

Listed below are societies in Berrien County. For state-wide genealogical societies, see Michigan Societies.
Berrien County Genealogical Society
PO Box 8808
Benton Harbor, MI 49023-8808
Website

Berrien County Historical Association
313 North Cass Street
PO Box 261
Berrien Springs, MI 49103
Phone: 269-471-1202
Fax: 269-471-7412
E-mail:Info@berrienhistory.org
Facebook Website

Four Flags Area Genealogical Society
PO Box 414
Niles, MI 49120-0414

The Heritage Museum and Cultural Center
601 Main Street
St. Joseph MI 49085
Phone: 269-983-1191
website

Galien Woods Historical Society
305 Kiley Drive
Galien, MI 49113
Phone: 269-545-8143
website

North Berrien Historical Society
300 Coloma Ave
PO Box 207
Coloma, MI 49038
Phone: 269-468-3330
Website

Websites[edit | edit source]

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The usage of "Mormon" and "LDS" on this page is approved according to current policy.



Research Guides[edit | edit source]

References[edit | edit source]

  1. Wikipedia contributors, "Berrien County, Michigan" in Wikipedia: the Free Encyclopedia, [1]
  2. Handybook for Genealogists: United States of America, 10th ed. (Draper, Utah: Everton Pub., 2002), Michigan.At various libraries (WorldCat); FHL Book 973 D27e 2002.
  3. Handybook for Genealogists: United States of America, 10th ed. (Draper, Utah: Everton Pub., 2002), Michigan.At various libraries (WorldCat); FHL Book 973 D27e 2002.
  4. Handybook for Genealogists: United States of America, 10th ed. (Draper, Utah: Everton Pub., 2002), Michigan.At various libraries (WorldCat); FHL Book 973 D27e 2002.
  5. Wikipedia contributors, "Berrien County, Michigan," in Wikipedia: the Free Encyclopedia, [2] accessed 06 September 2019.