Existing and lost censuses
For a list of available and missing Michigan censuses, click here.
The 1820 and 1830 censuses include present-day Wisconsin.
1820-1930--The Family History Library has the U.S. federal censuses of Michigan.
1810-- The census was destroyed except for fragments for Detroit and Michilimackinac.
1850 United States Census—A free Internet index and images to the 1850 United States Census can be viewed on the FamilySearch Record Search – Pilot Site. This index includes every name listed on the census and is linked to an image including information about each person’s residence and age in 1850, birthplace, occupation, other family members, and neighbors.
1860 United States Census—A free Internet index and images to the 1860 United States Census can be viewed on the FamilySearch Record Search – Pilot Site. This index includes every name listed on the census and is linked to an image including information about each person’s residence and age in 1860, birthplace, occupation, other family members, whether married or single, and neighbors.
1870 United States Census---A free internet index and images can be viewed on FamilySearch Record Pilot site. This index includes the full name, age, sex, race, birthplace, occupation, month if born in census year, month if married in census year, birth place of father and mother, if born in a foreign country.
1880 United States Census– A Free Internet Index and Images to the US Census can be viewed on the Family Search Record Pilot – Pilot Site. This index includes an every name index to population schedules listing inhabitants. It includes the full name, race, sex, age, birth month (if born during the previous year), relationship to head of household, whether married, single or divorced, whether married during the previous year, country or state of birth of each person and his parent’s, occupation and street address and house number.
1890-- The census was also destroyed, but the 1890 list of Union veterans still exists and has been indexed.
1900 Federal Census - A free Internet index and images to the 1900 United States Census can be viewed on the FamilySearch Record Search – Pilot Site. Important additions to this census are month and year of birth of each household member, number of years married for each married person, number of children born to each mother and the number of those still living, year of immigration, and number of years in the United States.
Oscoda County is missing people.
Sanilac County is missing about 1,600 people.
1668--Sault Ste. Marie, the oldest community in Michigan was founded by the French.
1701--Detroit was founded.
1763--The British took possession of the area but discouraged settlers.
1787--Michigan became part of the U.S. Northwest Territory, but the British still controlled Detroit and Mackinac.
1796--The British withdrew from their remaining posts, including Detroit.
1800--The area became part of the Indiana Territory.
1805--Congress created Michigan Territory.
1837--Michigan became a state.
1820-1870--Statewide indexes are at the Family History Library for the censuses, in book or microfiche format.
1850, 1860, 1870, 1880 & 1900 United States Censuses for Michigan are available at labs.familysearch.org for free. Site includes searchable name indexes and images. 1880 is available in name index only.
1880-- The census has a partial soundex (phonetic index) on microfilm. It only lists families with children under age ten.
1900-1930--Censuses have complete soundex indexes on microfilm.
County-wide indexes sometimes help you locate names overlooked in statewide indexes. Dozens of county-wide indexes for various years are identified in:
- Callard, Carole, ed. Sourcebook of Michigan Census, County Histories, and Vital Records. Lansing, Michigan: Library of Michigan, 1986. (Family History Library book 977.4 A3sm; fiche 6101261.)
If your ancestor lived in a large city:
Find your ancestor's address. Look in a city directory for the same year as the census.Find the enumeration district for that address. (Citites were divided into enumeration districts. Before 1880, the divisions were called wards. Find the enumeration district on the census microfilm (look in the upper right corner of the census page). Look for your ancestor in the enumeration district. If you cannot find the ward or enumeration district, you may still search the census for that city line by line, but it is time-consuming.
In smaller towns or rural areas:
Find the town or, for rural areas, a nearby town on the census. (Look in the upper-left corner of the census page.)
Look for your ancestor in that town.
The following reference tools may help you find the enumeration district for a specific address:
- Kirkham, E. Kay. A Handy Guide to Record- Searching in the Larger Cities of the United States. Logan, Utah: Everton, 1974. (Family History Library book 973 D27kc; fiche 6020059–60.) Includes ward map and street index for Detroit in 1878.
- United States. Census Office. Census Descriptions of Geographic Subdivisions and Enumerations Districts, T1224 and T1210. Contains the items below:
1830 Family History Library film 1402857 item 1
1840 Family History Library film 1402857 item 2
1850 Family History Library film 1402858 item 1
1860 Family History Library film 1402858 item 2
1870 Family History Library film 1402859
1880 Family History Library film 1402861
1900 Family History Library film 1303023
1910 Family History Library film 1374005
1920 Family History Library film 1842709
1930 Family History Library film 2261286
- United States. Bureau of the Census. Cross Index to Selected City Streets and Enumeration Districts, 1910 Census, M1283. Washington, D.C.: National Archives, . (51 Family History Library fiche 6331481.) Lists street addresses for Detroit on fiche 17. Lists street addresses with corresponding enumeration districts for Grand Rapids on fiche 20.
1850-1880-- Mortality schedules (lists of deaths in the year before the census) exist. The schedules are available at the National Archives, the Library of Michigan, and the Michigan State Archives.
1850 United States Census Mortality Schedules—A free Internet index and images to the 1850 United States Census Mortality Schedules can be viewed on the FamilySearch Record Search - Pilot Site. Mortality schedules provided nationwide death statistics for the twelve months prior to the 1850 census. Key genealogical facts found on the 1850 mortality schedule are: Name, age, sex, color, married or widowed, birthplace, month of death, occupation, cause of death.
1884, 1894--Mortality schedules were also taken as part of the state censuses.
Territorial and State Censuses
More than 20 early territorial censuses were taken in various areas of Michigan. Historical background and the names found in the early lists are given in:
- Russell, Donna Valley.Michigan Censuses, 1710–1830. Detroit, Michigan: Detroit Society for Genealogical Research, 1982. (Family History Library book 977.4 X2r.)
1827, 1834, 1837, 1845, 1854, 1864, 1874, 1884, 1894, and 1904--Other territorial and state enumerations were made in these years .
1827, 1837, and 1845-- Indexes for the territorial and state censuses have been published. The original schedules are housed in many different local repositories. The schedules of many counties are missing.
1884, 1894-- The most complete collections are for these censuses, which include detailed information on each family member.
To see which territorial or state censuses are available use the Family History Library Catalog.
Use the following book:
- Buckway, G. Eileen. U.S. State and Special Census Register. Salt Lake City, Utah: Family History Library, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 1992. (Family History Library book 973 X2be; fiche 6104851-52.)
More detailed information on Michigan census records is in "Michigan Census Schedules and Records," printed in the Summer-Fall 1978 issue of Family Trails.
Heritage Quest Online: http://www.heritagequestonline.com
Census Online: http://www.census-online.com/links/MI/
Genealogy Today: http://dir.genealogytoday.com/usa/mi/census.html
Access Genealogy: http://www.accessgenealogy.com/census/michigan.htm
National Archives: http://www.archives.gov/
- Michigan Research Outline. Salt Lake City, Utah: Intellectual Reserve, Inc., Family History Department, 1998, 2006.
- 1880 Census Index CD Manuel