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

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Online Records

Ottawa County, Michigan
Map of the U.S. highlighting Michigan
Location of Michigan in the U.S.
Founded March 2, 1831
County Seat Grand Haven
Address Ottawa County Courthouse
414 Washington Ave.
Grand Haven, MI 49417-1473
Phone: (616) 846-8310
Ottawa County Website


County Information

Ottawa County, Michigan Record Dates

Beginning Dates for Major County Records[1]
Birth Marriage Death Census Land Probate
1866 1847 1867 1820 1834 1844

County Courthouse

County Clerk has birth and death records from 1867, marriage
and court records from 1847 and divorce records from 1863.[2]


Parent County

1831--Ottawa County was created 2 March 1831 from Mackinac County and unorganized territory.  It was attached to Kent County prior to organization 29 December 1837.  County seat: Grand Haven [3]

Boundary Changes

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

Record Loss

For a list of record loss in Michigan counties see: Michigan Counties with Burned Courthouses


Populated Places


Coopersville | Ferrysburg | Grand Haven | Holland | Hudsonville | Zeeland


Spring Lake


Allendale Charter | Blendon | Chester | Crockery | Georgetown Charter |Grand Haven Charter |
Holland Charter | Jamestown Charter | Olive | Park | Polkton | Port Sheldon | Robinson | Spring Lake | Tallmadge Charter | Wright | Zeeland Charter


Allendale | Beechwood | Drenthe | Eastmanville | Jenison | Lamont | Marne

Neighboring Counties

Allegan  • Kent  • Muskegon

Muskegon CountyOttawa CountyOceana CountyAntrim CountyCrawford CountyKalamazoo CountyNewaygo CountyMecosta CountyMontcalm CountyBarry CountyAllegan CountyBerrien CountyVan Buren CountyKent CountyMIOttawa.JPG




1790, 1800, 1810, 1820, 1840, 1850, 1860, 1870, 1880, 1890, 1900, 1910, and 1920 US Federal Censuses for Ottawa, Michigan can be found at FamilySearch Record Search.  Free searchable name indexes and images are available for most census years.


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.



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.

Local Histories

Local histories are available for Ottawa 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.




Civil War

Civil War service men from Ottawa 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 Ottawa County.



Finding More Michigan Newspapers

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


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, Ottawa and search for Probate records in the list.

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


Vital Records

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 Records
Marriage Records
Death Records
  • Index to Death Records in Ottawa County
  • Michigan Death Registrations, 1867-1897-- Free name indexes and images at FamilySearch Record Search.   Records include such information as name of deceased, date and place of death, gender, color, marital status, age in years, months and days, disease or apparent cause of death, birthplace, names and occupations of parents, and the date the record was made.

Societies and Libraries

Family History Centers

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. See Family History Centers for more information. Search the online FHC directory for a nearby family history center.

Web Sites


  1. Alice Eichholz, Ancestry’s Red Book: American State, County and Town Sources, Revised ed. (Salt Lake City: Ancestry, 1992), 369-384. At various libraries (WorldCat); FHL Book 973 D27rb 1992
  2. Handybook for Genealogists: United States of America, 10th ed. (Draper, Utah: Everton Pub., 2002), Ottawa County, Michigan page 350, At various libraries (WorldCat); FHL Book 973 D27e 2002.
  3. The Handybook for Genealogists: United States of America,10th ed. (Draper, UT:Everton Publishers, 2002).


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  • This page was last modified on 28 July 2015, at 16:08.
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