COUNTY NAME ORIGINS
Alcona County was a name created by Henry Schoolcraft.
Alger County is named for Russell A. Alger, a Michigan Governor and U.S. Senator.
Allegan County was a name created by Henry Schoolcraft.
Alpena County was a name created by Henry Schoolcraft. It was founded originally in 1840 as Anomickee County.
In 1843, the name was changed to Alpena, a pseudo-Native American word — a neologism coined by Henry Schoolcraft,
meaning something like "a good partridge country."
Antrim County is named for County Antrim in Ireland.
Arenac County was a name created by Henry Schoolcraft.
Baraga County is named for missionary Bishop Frederick Baraga, who worked with local Native Americans.
Barry County, named for William T. Barry, Postmaster General of the United States, is a Cabinet county.
Bay County lies at the head of Saginaw Bay.
Benzie County is an Americanization of the French name, Riviere Aux-Bec-Scies, for the local river.
Berrien County, named for John M. Berrien, Attorney General of the United States, is a Cabinet county.
Branch County, named for John Branch, U.S. Secretary of the Navy, is a Cabinet county.
Calhoun County, named for U.S. Vice President John C. Calhoun, is a Cabinet county.
Cass County, named for territorial governor and Secretary of War Lewis Cass, is a Cabinet county.
Charlevoix County is named for French Jesuit missionary Pierre François Xavier de Charlevoix.
Cheboygan County is named for the Cheboygan River, which itself is of uncertain origin. It may come from an
Ojibwe word zhaabonigan meaning "sewing needle". Alternatively, it may have come from "Chabwegan," meaning
"a place of ore."
Chippewa County is named for the Chippewa, or Ojibwe, Native American people.
Clare County is named for County Clare in Ireland.
Clinton County is named for DeWitt Clinton, the Governor of New York under whom the Erie Canal was constructed.
Crawford County may be named for Fort Crawford in Prairie du Chien, Wisconsin, which was in turn named for
politician William H. Crawford.
Delta County is named for the Greek "Delta" symbol, because the original shape of the county was triangular
(i.e., like a delta.)
Dickinson County is named for Don M. Dickinson, U.S. Postmaster General under Grover Cleveland.
Eaton County, named for United States Secretary of War John H. Eaton, is a Cabinet county.
Emmet County is named for Irish patriot Robert Emmet.
Genesee County was named after Genesee County, New York, home of many original settlers.
Gladwin County is named for Henry Gladwin British military commander at Detroit during Pontiac's War.
Gogebic County probably comes from the Ojibwe language word bic, meaning rock.
Grand Traverse County is an Americanization of the French phrase grande travers, meaning long crossing, and
originally referring to Grand Traverse Bay.
Gratiot County is named for Charles Gratiot, the military officer who built Fort Gratiot at the present site of
Port Huron. Hillsdale County is a hilly area.
Houghton County is named for Douglass Houghton, Michigan geologist and Mayor of Detroit from 1842 to 1843.
Huron County is named for Lake Huron.
Ingham County named for United States Secretary of the Treasury Samuel D. Ingham, is a Cabinet county.
Ionia County is named for the ancient Greek region Ionia.
Iosco County was a name created by Henry Schoolcraft. Iosco is a Native American word meaning "water of light".
It was used by Schoolcraft to refer to Indian men and boys. In 1840 the county was set off as Kanotin County,
and renamed Iosco in 1843. The county was organized in 1857.
Iron County is named for the iron resources found widely in the county.
Isabella County was named for Queen Isabella of Spain, who patronized Christopher Columbus.
Jackson County is named for Andrew Jackson, seventh President of the United States.
Kalamazoo County is named for the Kalamazoo River. See Etymology of Kalamazoo for a discussion of the river's name.
Kalkaska County was a name created by Henry Schoolcraft. See Kalkaska County for a more detailed explanation.
Kent County is named for New York jurist James Kent, who represented the Michigan Territory in its dispute with
Ohio over the Toledo Strip.
Keweenaw County is named for an Ojibwe word gakiiwe-wewaning meaning portage.
Lake County has several small lakes and lies near Lake Michigan.
Lapeer County is said to be an Americanization of the French la pierre meaning flint.
Leelanau County was a name created by Henry Schoolcraft.
Lenawee County is a Henry Schoolcraft neologism signifying a Native American word for man -- either from the
Delaware "leno or lenno" or the Shawnee "lenawai." See also, 
Livingston County named for United States Secretary of State Edward Livingston, is a Cabinet county.
Luce County is named for Michigan Governor Cyrus G. Luce.
Mackinac County was originally Michilimackinac, believed to be a French interpretation of the Native American
name for the place.
Macomb County is named for U.S. General Alexander Macomb, a notable officer of the War of 1812.
Manistee County was named for the Manistee River, which in turn is from the Ojibwe name, ministigweyaa meaning
(river) at whose mouth there are islands.
Marquette County is named for French Jesuit missionary Pere Jacques Marquette.
Mason County is named for Michigan Governor Stevens T. Mason.
Mecosta County is named for Mecosta, a Native American leader.
Menominee County is named for the Menominee Native American people.
Midland County is located near the midpoint of the Lower Peninsula.
Missaukee County is named for Missaukee, an Ottawa leader who signed land-grant treaties in 1831 and 1833.
Monroe County is named for James Monroe, the fifth U.S. President.
Montcalm County is named for the Marquis de Montcalm.
Montmorency County is probably named for a historical figure named Montmorency, but which one is unknown.
Muskegon County is named for the Muskegon River, named for the Ojibwe language word mashkiigoong meaning in the
swamp or in the marsh.
Newaygo County was either named for a Chippewa leader who signed the Saginaw Treaty of 1819 or for a Native
American word meaning much water.
Oakland County was named for the many oak openings in the area.
Oceana County is thought to be named for Lake Michigan, a freshwater "ocean." However, there some apparently
have speculated that the name may be related to the title of a controversial 1656 book by James Harrington,
The Commonwealth of Oceana.
Ogemaw County is named for the Ojibwe word ogimaa, meaning chief or leader.
Ontonagon County is named for a river called Nantounagon on an early French map.
Osceola County is named for Native American leader Osceola of the Seminole nation.
Oscoda County was a name created by Henry Schoolcraft thought to be a combination of two Ojibwa words, "ossin"
(stone) and "muskoda" (prairie) -- hence 'pebbly prairie.' See also, 
Otsego County is named for Otsego County, New York. (But see text above.)
Ottawa County is named for the Native American Ottawa people.
Presque Isle County is an Americanization of the French term almost island, indicating a peninsula.
Roscommon County is named for County Roscommon in Ireland.
Saginaw County is a Native American term, perhaps having reference to the Sauk tribe who lived at the mouth of
the river. Another source opines that: "There are two possible derivations: from 'Sace-nong' or 'Sak-e-nong'
(Sauk Town) because the Sauk (Sac) once lived there, or from Chippewa words meaning 'place of the outlet' from 'sag'
(an opening) and 'ong' (place of)."
St. Clair County is either named for Arthur St. Clair, first governor of the Northwest Territory, or for Saint
Clair on whose feast day Lake St. Clair was discovered.
St. Joseph County is named for Saint Joseph, the patron saint of New France.
Sanilac County was probably named for a Wyandotte leader named Sanilac.
Schoolcraft County was named for explorer and ethnologist Henry Schoolcraft.
Shiawassee County is named for the Shiawassee River, and means 'river that twists about.
Tuscola County was a name created by Henry Schoolcraft. Once called 'Tusci' by Native People, "Les Pays Plat'
by the French, and Flat Country by the English, the name seems to mean plateau. Chief Otusson's reservation was
partly in Tuscola County. His name meant bench. Caro, the county seat, was called by Native People "High Banks".
Van Buren County named for United States Secretary of State Martin Van Buren (later eighth President of the
United States), is a Cabinet county.
Washtenaw County comes from the Native American term O-wash-ten-nong.
Wayne County is named for U.S. General "Mad" Anthony Wayne.
Wexford County is named for County Wexford in Ireland.
Discontinued or changed county names
The following is a list of discontinued or changed names, followed by the present county names:
Aischum County, created April 1, 1840, changed to Lake County on March 8, 1843
Anamickee County, created April 1, 1840, changed to Alpena County on March 8, 1843
Bleeker County Menominee County
Brown County Oceana County
Cheonoquet County, created April 1, 1840, changed to Montmorency County on March 8, 1843
Des Moines County, see Des Moines County, Iowa
Dubuque County, see Dubuque County, Iowa
Iowa County, see Iowa County, Wisconsin
Isle Royale County Keweenaw County
Kanotin County, created April 1, 1840, changed to Iosco County on March 8, 1843
Kautawaubet County, created April 1, 1840, changed to Wexford County on March 8, 1843
Kayakee County, created April 1, 1840, changed to Clare County on March 8, 1843
Keskkauko County, created April 1, 1840, changed to Charlevoix County on March 8, 1843
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.
Meegisee County Antrim County
Michilimackinac County Mackinac County
Mikenauk County Roscommon County
Milwaukee County Wisconsin
Negwegon County Alcona County
Notipekago County Mason County
Okkuddo County Otsego County
Omeena County Grand Traverse County
Reshkauko County Emmet County
Shawono/Shawano/Shawona County Crawford County
Tonedagana County Emmet County
Unwattin County Osceola County
Wabassee County Kalkaska County
Washington County Marquette County
Wyandiot County Cheboygan County