Census Records for Michigan
This entry was originally written by Arleigh P. Helfer, Jr. and Carol L. Maki for Red Book: American State, County, and Town Sources.
• Indexed—1820 (six counties and Detroit), 1830, 1840, 1850, 1860, 1870, 1880, 1900, 1910, 1920, 1930
• Soundex—1880, 1900, 1910, 1920
Industry and Agriculture Schedules
• 1850, 1860, 1870, 1880
• 1850, 1860, 1870, 1880
Union Veterans Schedules
A complete set of federal population and supplemental schedules are available on microfilm at the State Archives of Michigan/Library of Michigan along with available AISI indexes (see page 3). Other repositories in the state have population schedules, Soundex, and indexes, while the Burton Historical Collection in Detroit and the Allen County Public Library in Fort Wayne, Indiana, hold those for Michigan and numerous other states as well.
Territorial and State
Numerous state and territorial censuses were taken in Michigan, although few are extant. In 1710 the French compiled the first Michigan census. The 1710 census and numerous others through the year 1792 are of the Detroit area, for the most part. Fort Saint Joseph had a census taken in 1780 (Michigan Pioneer and Historical Collections, vol. 10, 1908, 406-07), as did Wayne County in 1796, which was printed in National Genealogical Society Quarterly 64 (1981): 185-94. A tax list of Wayne County in 1802 and a list of residents of Detroit in 1805 may be considered early enumerations of Michigan population. Sources discussing the state censuses more comprehensively include Donna Valley Russell’s Michigan Censuses 1710–1830 Under the French, British, and Americans (Detroit: Detroit Society for Genealogical Research, 1982) and “State Censuses of Michigan: A Tragedy of Lost Treasures,” Family Trails 6 (Summer/Fall, 1978).
Microfilm copies of the state census schedules for 1845, 1854, 1864, 1874, 1884, and 1894 are held by the State Archives of Michigan; some are partial and/or incomplete. The Library of Michigan in Lansing and the Allen County Public Library in Fort Wayne, Indiana, also hold Michigan territorial and state census records as early as 1827. Prior to 1884 the state census names only the head of the household. The 1884 census, however, will identify those in each household that have married within the census year, giving the month of and the location of the marriage. There are also mortality schedules included in the 1884 and 1894 state censuses. A special Civil War Veteran Census was taken by the state in 1888; the manuscript of this census is at the state archives. See State Archives Circular No. 9, State Census Records in the State Archives, available from the archives.
McGinnis’s publication (see Background Sources for Michigan) has a county-by-county listing of the state and territorial censuses that do exist. A list and location of schedules is also available from Michigan Historical Collections Bentley Historical Library, University of Michigan.
- Michigan Census Records - free up-to-date guide to accessing Michigan census records. Identifies federal, state, and territorial censuses, as well as substitute records (FamilySearch Research Wiki).