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Clinton County, Michigan Genealogy

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


Clinton County, Michigan
Map of the U.S. highlighting Michigan
Location of Michigan in the U.S.
Founded April 1, 1840
County Seat Harrisville
Address Clinton County Courthouse
100 E State Street
PO Box 69
St. Johns, MI 48879-1571
Phone: 517-224-5140
Clinton County Website

County Information[edit | edit source]

Description[edit | edit source]

The County was named for DeWitt Clinton. The County has St. Johns as its seat and the County was created 1831. The County is located in the south central area of the state.[1]

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

Known Beginning Dates for Major County Records[2]
Birth* Marriage Death* Court Land Probate Census
1867 1839 1867 1860 1837 1840 1820
Statewide registration started in 1867 for births and deaths. General compliance by 1915.

County Courthouse[edit | edit source]

County Clerk has birth and death records from 1867, marriage records from 1839, divorce records from early 1800’s and court records. [3]

History[edit | edit source]

Named for DeWitt Clinton, U.S. Senator and Governor of New York

Parent County[edit | edit source]

1831--Clinton County was created 2 March 1831 from unoganized territory. It was attached to Kent and Shiawassee Counties prior to organization 12 March 1869. County seat St. Johns [4]

Boundary Changes[edit | edit source]

For animated maps illustrating Michigan county boundary changes, "Rotating Formation Michigan County Boundary Maps" (1790-1897) may be viewed for free at the website.

See also COUNTY EVOLUTION IN MICHIGAN, 1790-1897 by Richard W. Welch for the development of the counties in the state. This will help you to determine place of residence of your ancestors and under whose civil jurisdiction they resided. It is also useful for when you start to read the census records.

Record Loss[edit | edit source]

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

Places/Localities[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]

Unincorporated communities
Census-designated places

Neighboring Counties[edit | edit source]

Eaton County  • Gratiot County  • Ingham County  • Ionia County  • Montcalm] County  • Saginaw County  • Shiawasse County

MIClinton County, Michigan Clickable Neighbors

Resources[edit | edit source]

Cemeteries[edit | edit source]

Tombstone Transcriptions Online Tombstone Transcriptions in Print List of Cemeteries in the county Family History Library
MIGenWeb Archives WorldCat Billion Graves
Tombstone Project
Billion Graves
See Michigan Cemeteries for more information.

USGS Geographic listing
DeWitt area

Census[edit | edit source]

State Census

Church[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.

Court[edit | edit source]

Emigration and Immigration[edit | edit source]

Land[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 county courthouse and where records are currently housed.

Article on Deeds.

Local Histories[edit | edit source]

Local histories are available for Clinton County, Michigan Genealogy. 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.

  • History of Shiawassee and Clinton Counties, Michigan, by Franklin Ellis. 1880. Philadelphia : D.W. Ensign & Co. Online at: Hathitrust; Google Books; Ancestry ($)
  • Past and Present of Clinton County, Michigan. By Judge S. B. Daboll. 1906. Chicago : S.J. Clarke Publishing Co. Online at: Google Books

Maps[edit | edit source]

Montcalm CountyGratiot CountySaginaw CountyShiawassee CountyIngham CountyEaton CountyIonia CountyMI CLINTON.PNG
Click a neighboring county
for more resources

Military[edit | edit source]

Civil War[edit | edit source]

Civil War service men from Clinton 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 Clinton County.

- 1st Regiment, Michigan Cavalry, Company D

Online Records

World War I[edit | edit source]

Newspapers[edit | edit source]

Finding More Michigan Newspapers[edit source]

Additional newspapers abstracts can sometimes be found using search phrases such as Clinton County, Michigan Genealogy newspapers in online catalogs like:

Obituaries[edit | edit source]

Probate[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.

The FamilySearch Catalog lists films of probate records. To find the records for this county, use the Place Search for Michigan, Clinton and search for Probate records in the list.

Note: Not every county in Michigan will have Probate Records in the FamilySearch Catalog.

Online Probate Records

Taxation[edit | edit source]

Vital Records[edit | edit source]

Vital Records consist of births, adoptions, marriages, divorces, and deaths recorded on registers, certificates, and documents. A copy or an extract of most original records can be purchased as shown below:

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

Birth[edit | edit source]
Marriage[edit | edit source]
Death[edit | edit source]

Archives[edit | edit source]

  • Clinton County Historical Society Archives
    16101 Brook Road
    DeWitt Township Community Building
    Lansing, MI
    Phone: 517-482-5117

Societies and Libraries[edit | edit source]

  • Clinton County Historical Society
    100 E. State Street
    St. Johns, MI 48879
    Phone: 989-224-5100
  • Genealogists of the Clinton Co. Historical Society
    PO Box 174
    St. Johns, MI 48879
  • Grand Ledge Area Historical Society
    PO Box 203
    Grand Ledge, MI 48837
  • DeWitt District Library
    13101 Schavey Rd, #9008
    Dewitt, MI 48820
    Phone: 517-669-3156
  • Briggs District Library
    108 E Railroad Street
    St. Johns, MI 48879
    Phone: 989-224-4702
  • Elsie Public Library
    145 W Main Street
    Elsie, MI 48831
    Phone: 989-862-4633
  • Maple Rapids Public Library
    PO Box 140
    130 S Maple Avenue
    Maple Rapids, MI 48853
    Phone: 989-682-4464
  • Ovid Public Library
    206 N Main Street
    Ovid, MI 48866
    Phone: 989-834-5800
  • Elsie Historical Society

State wide or ethnic groups[edit | edit source]


Fred Hart Williams Genealogical Society
c/o Burton Historical Collection, DPL
5201 Woodward Avenue
Detroit MI 48202-4007
Publication is Fred Hart Williams Genealogical Society News published twice a year
Located in Wayne County
MGC Member of Michigan Genealogical Council

Lansing Area African American Genealogical Society
Post Office Box 22203
Lansing MI 48909-2203
Publication is Newsletter published quarterly
Member of Michigan Genealogical Council


Keweenaw Houghton Cornish Society of the Copper Country
Cornish Connection Of Lower Michigan
8494 Wesley Drive
Flushing, MI 48433


Joint Archives of Holland, Hope College


Finnish American Heritage Center


Genealogical Society of Flemish Americans, Facebook Page

FRENCH-CANADIAN (includes Acadian, Cajun and Metis)

French-Canadian Heritage Society of Michigan
PO Box 1900
Royal Oak, MI 48068-1900
Publication is Michigan's Habitat Heritage published quarterly
Located in Oakland County
MGC Member of Michigan Genealogical Council
Facebook Page


Irish Genealogical Society of Michigan
c/o Gaelic League/Irish American Club
2068 Michigan Avenue
Detroit, MI 48216-1303
Publication is Irish Tree published nine times a year
Located in Wayne County
MGC Member of Michigan Genealogical Council
Facebook Page

Wayne County Irish Society
31975 Cowan
Westland, MI 48185


Americans Of Italian Origin Society
18336 Lister E.
Detroit, MI 48021


Jewish Genealogical Society of Michigan
PO Box 251693
West Bloomfield, MI 48325-1693
Publication is Generations published quarterly
Located in Oakland County
MGC Member of Michigan Genealogical Council Facebook Page


Polish Genealogical Society of Michigan
c/o Burton Collection
5201 Woodward Avenue
Detroit, MI 48202-4007
Publication is The Polish Eaglet published three times a year
Located in Wayne County
MGC Member of Michigan Genealogical Council
Facebook Page

Polish Heritage Society
P.O. Box 1844
Grand Rapids, MI 49501


The St. Andrew's Society of Detroit
2360 Rochester Ct
Troy, Mi 48083
Phone: 248-526-1849
Fax: 248-528-1477

  • ANISHNAWBE (Chippewa / Ojibwe, Ottawa / Odawa, Potawatomi Indians)

RootsWeb NISHNAWBE Mailing List
Ottawa_Indians A starting point for doing Ottawa/Odawa Indian genealogy research
Nokomis Learning Center
Nokomis Learning Center Facebook Page

Family History Centers
[edit | edit source]

Family History Centers provide one-on-one assistance and free access to premium genealogical websites. In addition, many centers have free how-to genealogy classes.

Websites[edit | edit source]

References[edit | edit source]

  1. Wikipedia contributors, "Clinton County, Michigan" in Wikipedia: the Free Encyclopedia, ",_Michigan."
  2. Handybook for Genealogists: United States of America, 10th ed. (Draper, Utah: Everton Pub., 2002), Clinton County, Michigan . Page 343-351 At various libraries (WorldCat); FHL Book 973 D27e 2002; Alice Eichholz, ed. Ancestry’s Red Book: American State, County, and Town Sources, Third ed. (Provo, Utah: Ancestry, 2004), 346-349.
  3. Handybook for Genealogists: United States of America, 10th ed. (Draper, Utah: Everton Pub., 2002), Clinton County, Michigan page 344, At various libraries (WorldCat); FHL Book 973 D27e 2002.
  4. The Handybook for Genealogists: United States of America,10th ed. (Draper, UT:Everton Publishers, 2002).
  5. Wikipedia contributors, "Clinton County, Michigan," in Wikipedia: the Free Encyclopedia,,_Michigan#Communities, accessed 16 September 2019.