Michigan Land Records

To the early settlers of Michigan, land was not only a means for survival by which one could put food on the table and generate a source of barter, but also the measure of a man’s fortune, his status as a citizen, and his social standing in his community.  The need to establish the rightful ownership of property and the protection of that property is the cornerstone to our legal system and the means for enforcing the laws.  It is the wellspring our need to record marriages, probates, and property transfers, and at times established the right to vote and serve on juries.

This publication is a sample of land records resources that are available at the Library of Michigan. Titles may be located by searching ANSWER, the Library’s online catalog, which is available at the Library of Michigan’s home page: https://answercat.org.  The easiest way to locate land records in ANSWER is with a keyword search.  Try using phrases that include mich and “county” and land, followed by the type of information you are looking for. Here are some additional suggestions to help maximize your search results:

  • land records michigan
  • real property genealogy
  • michigan land titles
  • genesee county land
  • indian land tenure
  • deeds mich
  • mich land grant
  • landowners mich
  • first land owners
  • hillsdale county plat map

General Resources – Guides, U.S. Land Records

Barr, Charles Butler. Townships and legal description of land. 1999.
LIB OF MICH - LAW 3N  CS 49 .B35 1999

Bentley, Elizabeth Petty. County courthouse book. 2009.
LIB OF MICH - REFERENCE 2N   KF 8700 .A19 B46 2009

Everton, George B. The handybook for genealogists: United States of America. 2006
LIB OF MICH - REFERENCE DESK 2N   CS 47 .E94 2006

Harris, Marshall. Origin of the land tenure system in the United States, 1953.
LIB OF MICH - LAW 3N   HD 194 .H3 1953

Holland, James M. Tenures and titles. 1936.
LIB OF MICH - LAW 3N   KF 679 .Z9 H6 1936

Hone, E. Wade. Land and Property Research in the United States. 1997.
LIB OF MICH - REFERENCE 2N   HD 1251 .H6 1997

Kashuba, Melinda. Walking with your ancestors: a genealogist's guide to using maps and geography. 2005.
LIB OF MICH - RARE REFERENCE 4N   CS 49 .K37 2005

Library of Congress. Geography and Map Division. Land ownership maps, a checklist: of nineteenth century United States county maps in the Library of Congress. 1967.
LIB OF MICH - US DOCS REFERENCE 2N   LC 5.2:L 22

Library of Congress. Geography and Map Division. Reference and Bibliography Section. Fire Insurance Maps in the Library of Congress: Plans of North American Cities and Towns Produced by the Sanborn Map Company: a checklist. 1981.
LIB OF MICH - US DOCS 4S  LC 5.2:F 51 c.2

Rose, Christine. Courthouse Research for Family Historians: Your Guide to Genealogical Treasures. 2004.
LIB OF MICH - LAW 3N  CS49 .R66 2004

Sankey, Michael. The Sourcebook to Public Record Information: The Comprehensive Guide to County, State, and Federal Public Records Sources. 2015.
LIB OF MICH - REFERENCE DESK 2N  JK 468 .P76 S693 2015

Stewart, Lowell O. Public land surveys. 1979.
LIB OF MICH – MAIN 3S  TA 523 .S73 1979

Szucs, Loretto Dennis and Luebking, Sandra Hargreaves (ed.) The source: a guidebook of American genealogy. 2006.
LIB OF MICH - REFERENCE DESK 2N  CS 49 .S65 2006

United States. Public land statutes of the United States: a compilation of the principal statutes of practical importance at the present time relating to the public lands. 1916.
LIB OF MICH - LAW MICROFICHE 3N  KF 570 .A1 P7 no.216

United States. Public land statutes of the United States. 1931.
LIB OF MICH - US DOCS 4S  I 21.7:931

United States. Congress. American state papers: documents, legislative and executive of the Congress of the United States, in relation to the public lands. 1834-1860.
LIB OF MICH - MICROFILM 2S  HD 171 .A222 v.1 (1834)

Michigan Resources

Library of Congress. Geography and Map Division. LC G&M Land Ownership Maps: Michigan. 1983.
LIB OF MICH - MICHIGAN MICROFICHE 2S    G 4111 .G46 SVAR .L5 1983

Long, John H. and Sinko, Peggy Tuck. Atlas of Historical County Boundaries: Michigan. 1997.
LIB OF MICH - MICHIGAN 2N  G 1201 .F7 A8 1993 Mich

Lucas, Richard. Federal land sales in Michigan. Index by county and township to the microfilm rolls of the federal land patents housed by the Bureau of Land Management, Washington, D.C. 1984.
LIB OF MICH – REFERENCE DESK 2N  HD 243 .M5 T73z Index

Michign. Auditor General. Federal land tract books. 1956
LIB OF MICH – MICROFILM 2S  HD 243 .M5 T74 1956

Michigan. Department of Treasury, Local Property Services. Tract books, 1818-1962.
LIB OF MICH - MICROFILM 2S  HD243.M5 T742

Michigan Supreme Court Historical Society. Index to Special Sessions of the Michigan Supreme Court, 1857-2003: As Recorded in the Michigan Reports. 2004.
LIB OF MICH - LAW MICHIGAN 3N  KFM 4245 .A332

Michigan. Territorial Court. Records of the Territorial Court of Michigan, 1815-1836. 1980.
LIB OF MICH - MICROFILM 2S  KFM 4245 .A35 1980 reels 1-9

Miles, William. Michigan Atlases and Plat Books: A Checklist, 1872-1973. 1975.
LIB OF MICH - MICH DOCS 2S   GA 431 .M65 1975

Sanborn Map Company. Sanborn fire insurance maps. Michigan. 1983
LIB OF MICH - MICROFILM 2S  G 1411 .G475 S3z 1983  r.1-40. [Includes Michigan towns from 1884-1950.]

Sanborn Map Company. Fire insurance maps from the Sanborn Map Company archives, late 19th century to 1990, Michigan. 1993
LIB OF MICH - MICROFILM 2S  G 1411 .G475 S3 1993 r.1-24 [Includes Michigan towns from 1945-1992.]

Trygg, J. William. Composite Maps of United States Land Surveyors’ Original Plats and Field Notes: Michigan Series. 1969.
LIB OF MICH - MICHIGAN FLAT FILE 2N  G 4061 .G46 1847-1865 .T79 1969

United States. Department of the Interior Bureau of Land Management. Tract books, Michigan. 1956
LIB OF MICH - MICROFILM 2S  HD 243.M5 T73z

A SAMPLE of MICHIGAN COUNTY LAND RECORDS

Deeds copied from the first book of deeds on record in the Court House records of Kalamazoo County, Michigan. 1935.
LIB OF MICH - MICHIGAN 2N  F 572.K2 D44 1935

Huron Shores Genealogical Society. Index to Justice of the Peace, 1878-1904: Baldwin Township and Village of East Tawas, Iosco County, Michigan. 2003.
LIB OF MICH - MICHIGAN 2N  F 572.I63 I57 2003

Kent County Circuit Court Surname Index. 1990?
LIB OF MICH - MICH DOCS 2S   F 572.K3 K36 1990

Lockwood, Charles. Indian patents issued in Leelenau County from allotment list in the national archives. 1978
LIB OF MICH - MICHIGAN 2N  HD 231 .L625z

Michigan. Court of Chancery (Allegan County District). Chancery Calendar, Allegan County, 1849-1900. 1983.
LIB OF MICH - MICROFILM 2S  F 572 .A3 M5 1983

Passic, Frank. A comprehensive guide and key to artist Albert Ruger's 1866 Birds eye view of the city of Albion, Calhoun Co., Michigan. 1993.
LIB OF MICH - MICHIGAN 2N  F574.A525 P34 1993

Peck, Paul R.
Landsmen of Wayne County: an atlas and plat of the first land owners of Wayne County, Michigan. 1985.
LIB OF MICH - MICHIGAN 2N  F 572 .W4 P4z

Saint Joseph County, Michigan Justice of the Peace Records. 1981.
LIB OF MICH - MICROFILM 2S  F 574 .M674 M6 1981

Serrell, Alice D. Abstracts of Probate Files in the Probate Court, Oakland County, Michigan. 1996.
LIB OF MICH - MICHIGAN 2N  F 572 .O2 S47 1996

Updated 01-16-2019