Monday, December 2, 2013

Michigan Vital Records Online

Looking for births, marriages and deaths for Michigan but can't remember where someone said to find them on the internet?

Here's a run down of what vital records for Michigan are located where. I have indicated if actual records are available online.

FamilySearch - a FREE website of the Latter Day Saints of Jesus Christ (LDS)/Mormons
The LDS have been digitizing the microfilm collections and other records (with permission of the record owners) and placing them on their website, FamilySearch. Find the digitized collections from the homepage by clicking on search, scrolling down to browse by location and then clicking on the region you desire. So after you select United States, either scroll down the list of databases to find Michigan or in the left column scroll down to click Michigan to see just the Michigan databases.

Here you will find:
Michigan, Births, 1867-1902 (index and record images, from Michigan Department of Vital and Health Records)
Michigan, Marriages, 1867-1925 (index and record images, from Michigan Department of Vital and Health Records)
Michigan, Deaths, 1867-1897 (index and record images, from Michigan Department of Vital and Health Records)
Michigan, Death Certificates, 1921-1952 (index only, from Michigan Department of Vital and Health Records)
Michigan, County Marriages, 1820-1935 (index and images)
Michigan Death Index, 1971-1996 (index only from Michigan Department of Vital and Health Records, provided by

There are also a couple of index only databases (Births & Christenings, Marriages, and Deaths & Burials) that are comprised of former parts of the International Genealogical Index (IGI) or Vital Records Index collections. You would need to check each entry to determine the original source of the information (extract from an original record or submission from a person).

SeekingMichigan - a FREE website of the Archives of Michigan
The Archives of Michigan's SeekingMichigan website is where you will find the Michigan Death Certificates Collection 1897-1920. These records are from the Michigan Department of Vital and Health Records. Use the Advanced Search and only search one database at a time in order to get filters specialized for the death certificates. There is no Soundex option in this search engine.

According to some news passed on from another group, the indexes of Michigan Death Records from will be added to SeekingMichigan in early 2014. After that the images of the certificates dated from 1921 to 1938 will be added to the site. The additional years will be added as the law allows. A search filter for mother's maiden name will also be added to the site. Library Edition - a $ PAY-service via home or library subscription
Ancestry is a commercial website. If you don't have a home subscription, then come into the Mt. Clemens Public Library and you can use the library's subscription. (Or check to see if your local library has a subscription.)

On Ancestry's website, you'll find the following index databases under Michigan:

Michigan Death Records 1897-1920 is an index to the death certificates found at SeekingMichigan. This database index has the Soundex search option and links to take you to the images on SeekingMichigan.

Michigan, Deaths, 1971-1996 (index only, original data from the Michigan Department of Vital and Health Records)

There are a couple other index only databases for vitals records that are based on the index only databases located at FamilySearch. Again, check where the information came from for each entry.

Related to civil vital records are church vital records. Ancestry has a database with index and record images called Early US French Catholic Church Records (Drouin Collection, 1695-1954). It contains records for a variety of states. For Michigan, there are several Catholic churches, including records earlier than when the State of Michigan began recording vital records.

County Government Websites like the County Clerk
Check out the county government website for the Michigan counties you are researching. Several have index databases that make locating records easier. Searching the database may be free but there may be a charge for seeing/accessing a specific record. Here are some examples.

The webpage for the county clerk of Macomb County has a searchable death index for deaths from about 1960 forward though there are some earlier ones included but not all the earlier ones. You can then order a death certificate through a service (or go in-person during their genealogy hours and request it in person).

The Oakland County government website has a genealogy research service page that allows you to search marriage and death records back to 1941 and then order/pay for a record you desire.

The Genessee County Clerk has a searchable index for deaths from 1930 and a marriages from 1963.

There are likely more by now with similar indexes.

Genealogical and Historical Societies/Groups and Volunteer Sites
You can count on many of these groups to create an index where none were available.
The Flint Genealogical Society has indexed the Genessee County births, marriages and death. And of course check out the Mount Clemens Public Library's Genealogy, Local History or Databases pages to see the various databases that volunteers from Macomb County Genealogy Group have helped create.

Suzette Bromley has created indexes to St. Clair County Marriages and Deaths.

Joe Beine, runs a website DeathIndexesOnline that keeps track of which counties in each state have indexes online. There are some other indexes (cemetery, obituaries) mixed in amongst this list.

So what are you waiting for? Get searching.


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