MICHIGAN TRAILS -
GENEALOGY and HISTORY
MICHIGAN COUNTY INFORMATION

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County Names, Date Established, County Seat, Name Origins
The boundaries of counties in the U.S. state of Michigan have not changed since 1897. However, throughout the 19th century, the state legislature frequently adjusted county boundaries. County creation was intended to fulfill the goal of establishing government over unorganized territory, but a more important goal was encouraging settlement by surveying the land and dividing it into saleable sections. The creation of counties generally occurred in two stages. First the boundaries of a county were declared and given a name. The county appeared on maps, even though this may have been the entire extent of a county's tangible existence for several years. During this period, the as yet unorganized county was attached to another already organized county for administrative purposes. The legislature frequently changed the administrative attachment of these unorganized counties. Residents of such an attached county could petition the legislature for organization, which was the granting of full legal recognition to the county.
 
Alcona County boundaries declared in 1840 and organized in 1869 from unorganized territory. 
Was named Negwegon County until 1843. 

Alger County organized in 1885 from part of Schoolcraft County. 

Allegan County boundaries declared in 1831 and organized in 1835 from part of 
Barry County and unorganized territory. 

Alpena County formed in 1840 from part of Mackinac County and unorganized 
territory. Was named Anamickee County until 1843. 

Antrim County formed in 1840 from part of Mackinac County. Was named Meegisee until 1843. 

Arenac County formed in 1831 from unorganized territory. Annexed to 
Bay County in 1857 and reinstated in 1883. 

Baraga County formed in 1875 from part of Houghton County. 

Barry County formed in 1829 from unorganized territory. 

Bay County formed in 1857 from parts of Arenac County, Midland County and Saginaw County. 

Benzie County formed in 1863 from part of Leelenau County. 

Berrien County formed in 1829 from unorganized territory. 

Branch County formed in 1829 from unorganized territory. 

Calhoun County formed in 1829 from unorganized territory. 

Cass County formed in 1829 from unorganized territory. 

Charlevoix County formed in 1869 from parts of Antrim, Emmet and Otsego County. 

Cheboygan County formed in 1840 from part of Mackinac County. 

Chippewa County formed in 1827 from part of Mackinac County. 

Clare County formed in 1840 from part of Mackinac County and unorganized 
territory. Was named Kaykakee County until 1843. 

Clinton County formed in 1831 from unorganized territory. 

Crawford County formed in 1840 from part of Mackinac County and 
unorganized territory. Was named Shawano County until 1843. 

Delta County formed in 1843 from part of Mackinac County and unorganized territory. 

Dickinson County formed in 1891 from parts of Iron County, Marquette &  Menominee County. 

Eaton County formed in 1829 from unorganized territory. 

Emmet County formed in 1840 from part of Mackinac County. Was named Tonegadana until 1843. 

Genesee County formed in 1835 from parts of Lapeer County, Saginaw County 
and Shiawassee County. 

Gladwin County formed in 1831 from unorganized territory. 

Gogebic County formed in 1887 from part of Ontonagon County. 

Grand Traverse County formed in 1851 from part of Omeena County. 

Gratiot County formed in 1831 from unorganized territory. 

Hillsdale County formed in 1829 from unorganized territory. 

Houghton County formed in 1845 from parts of Marquette and Ontonagon. 

Huron County formed in 1840 from part of Sanilac County. 

Ingham County boundaries declared in 1829 and organized in 1838 from parts of 
Shiawasee County, Washtenaw County and unorganized territory. 

Ionia County formed in 1831 from part of Mackinac County and unorganized territory. 

Iosco County formed in 1840 from unorganized territory. Was named Kanotin  until 1843. 

Iron County formed in 1885 from parts of Marquette County and Menominee County. 

Isabella County formed in 1831 from part of Mackinac County and unorganized territory. 

Jackson County boundaries declared in 1829 and organized in 1832 from 
part of Washtenaw County and unorganized territory. 

Kalamazoo County formed in 1829 from unorganized territory. 

Kalkaska County formed in 1840 from part of Mackinac County. Was named 
Wabassee County until 1843. 

Kent County formed in 1831 from part of Mackinac County and unorganized territory. 

Keweenaw County formed in 1861 from part of Houghton County. 

Lake County formed in 1840 from part of Mackinac County. Was named Aischum until 1843. 

Lapeer County formed in 1822 from parts of Oakland County and St. Clair County. 

Leelanau County formed in 1840 from part of Mackinac County. 

Lenawee County formed in 1822 from part of Monroe County. 

Livingston County boundaries declared in 1833 and organized in 1836 
from parts of Shiawassee County and Washtenaw County. 

Luce County formed in 1887 from parts of Chippewa County and Mackinac County. 

Mackinac County formed in 1818 from part of Wayne County. Was named 
Michilimackinac County until 1837. 

Macomb County formed in 1818 from part of Wayne County. 

Manistee County formed in 1840 from part of Mackinac County. 

Marquette County formed in 1843 from parts of Chippewa County and Mackinac County. 

Mason County formed in 1840 from part of Mackinac County. Was named 
Notipekago County until 1843. 

Mecosta County formed in 1840 from parts of Mackinac County and Oceana County. 

Menominee County formed in 1861 from part of Delta County. Was named 
Bleeker County until 1863. 

Midland County formed in 1831 from part of Saginaw County and unorganized territory. 

Missaukee County formed in 1840 from part of Mackinac County. 

Monroe County formed in 1817 from part of Wayne County. 

Montcalm County formed in 1831 from part of Mackinac County and unorganized territory. 

Montmorency County formed in 1840 from part of Mackinac County and 
unorganized territory. Was named Cheonoquet County until 1843. 

Muskegon County formed in 1859 from parts of Oceana County and Ottawa County. 

Newaygo County formed in 1840 from parts of Mackinac County and Oceana County. 

Oakland County boundaries proclaimed on January 12, 1819 and officially 
organized on March 28, 1820 from part of Macomb County. 

Oceana County formed in 1831 from part of Mackinac County. 

Ogemaw County formed in 1840 from unorganized territory. Annexed to Iosco 
County in 1867 and reinstated in 1873. 

Ontonagon County formed in 1843 from parts of Chippewa County and Mackinac County. 

Osceola County formed in 1840 from part of Mackinac County. Was named 
Unwattin County until 1843. 

Oscoda County formed in 1840 from part of Mackinac County and unorganized territory. 

Otsego County formed in 1840 from part of Mackinac County. Was named 
Okkudo County until 1843. 

Ottawa County formed in 1831 from part of Mackinac County and unorganized territory. 

Presque Isle County formed in 1840 from part of Mackinac County. 

Roscommon County formed in 1840 from part of Mackinac County and 
unorganized territory. Was named Mikenauk County until 1843. 

Saginaw County formed in 1822 from part of Oakland County. 

St. Clair County formed in 1820 from part of Macomb County. 

St. Joseph County formed in 1829 from unorganized territory. 

Sanilac County formed in 1822 from part of St. Clair County. 

Schoolcraft County formed in 1843 from parts of Chippewa & Mackinac County. 

Shiawassee County formed in 1822 from parts of Oakland  & St. Clair County. 

Tuscola County formed in 1840 from part of Sanilac County. 

Van Buren County formed in 1829 from unorganized territory. 

Washtenaw County boundaries were proclaimed on September 10, 1822 and  officially 
organized effective December 31, 1826 from parts of Oakland County and Wayne County 

Wayne County existed in three incarnations: the first established in 1796,  as one of the 
original units of the Northwest Territory, technically ceased  to exist in 1803 when Ohio 
became a state and the orphaned area of Wayne   County was merged into Indiana Territory; 
the second Wayne County was  subsequently re-organized as part of the Indiana Territory and 
was  abolished by Governor William Hull after Michigan Territory was  established in 1805; the 
third was established by Hull's successor  Governor Lewis Cass in 1815 and included all lands 
within Michigan Territory that had been ceded by Native Americans through the 1807 
Treaty of Detroit. 

Wexford County formed in 1840 from part of Mackinac County. Was named 
Kautawaubet County until 1843. 
Source of Information: "Wikepdia"

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Defunct counties

Brown County formed in 1818 from unorganized territory when Michigan Territory was expanded to include area west of Lake Michigan upon formation of the state of Illinois. Transferred to Wisconsin Territory in 1836 and continues as Brown County, Wisconsin. Keskkauko County formed in 1840 from part of Mackinac County. Renamed Charlevoix County in 1843. Annexed to Emmet County in 1853. Reformed as Charlevoix County from Emmet County in 1869. Crawford County formed in 1818 from unorganized territory when Michigan Territory was expanded to include area west of Lake Michigan upon formation of this state of Illinois. Transferred to Wisconsin Territory in 1836 and continues as Crawford County, Wisconsin. Des Moines County formed in 1834 from unorganized territory. Transferred to Wisconsin Territory in 1836 and continues as Des Moines County, Iowa. Dubuque County formed in 1834 from unorganized territory. Transferred to Wisconsin Territory in 1836 and continues as Dubuque County, Iowa. Iowa County formed in 1830 from part of Crawford County. Transferred to Wisconsin Territory in 1836 and continues as Iowa County, Wisconsin. Isle Royale County formed in 1875 from part of Keweenau County. Returned to it in 1897. Manitou County formed in 1855 from parts of Emmet County and Leelenau County. County government was disorganized in 1861 and attached for administrative purposes to Mackinac County. In 1865, it was attached to Leelanau and reattached to Mackinac in 1869. County was abolished in 1895 and absorbed by Charlevoix County and Leelanau County. Milwaukee County formed in 1834 from part of Brown County. Transferred to Wisconsin Territory in 1836 and continues as Milwaukee County, Wisconsin. Omeena County formed in 1840 from part of Mackinac County. Annexed to Grand Traverse County in 1853. Wyandot County formed in 1840 from part of Mackinac County. Annexed to Cheboygan County in 1853.
Source of Information "Wikepdia"

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