More Resources for Genealogists

If you have searched for information on your family at Herrick District Library and have hit a brick wall, here are some other places to look.  Most of this information covers Ottawa and Allegan Counties; however, there is some information for other counties also.  

Church Records* – Church records may be available through individual churches or through local archives. The location of church records depends on what church denomination you are looking for. Check LDS Family History Centers also for records online and on microfilm. The closest family history centers are in Grand Rapids and South Haven, however many of these records are now on their website, FamilySearch. You will need to create an account to use their website, but there is no charge to create an account. Examples of records are baptisms or christenings, births, marriages and deaths.  

Land Records*

  • Ottawa County Register of Deeds: 12220 Fillmore Street, West Olive, MI (616) 994-4510. These records are free to search by anyone. Copies are $1.00 per page. Photos are not allowed. Records here begin in approximately 1946.    
  • For older land records for Ottawa County, go to the Ottawa County Courthouse, 414 Washington, Grand Haven, MI (616) 846-8109. Mortgages and deeds on properties are available beginning in 1832. There are also a few records available before that date. These records will not tell you when a house was built.  
  • Allegan County Register of Deeds: 113 Chestnut St., Allegan, MI (269) 673-0390. Records held here begin in 1835.

Naturalization Records* – Naturalization is the legal process immigrants go through to become citizens of the United States. Historically, there were normally three forms used to apply for citizenship—the Declaration of Intent, the Petition for Naturalization, and the Certificate of Citizenship. Naturalization records after 1906 usually contain much more information than records before 1906. The index is available on Michiganology. You can also call the archives at (517) 335-2576. Records are $20.00 per county per individual. You must list the individual’s name and the county when ordering records. If you have the approximate date, that is helpful also. There are also some Naturalization Records on FamilySearch.

Probate Records/Wills* – Beginning in the 1800s

  • Ottawa County Probate Court: 12120 Fillmore Street, West Olive, MI (616) 786-4110. Staff will ask you to provide a name and an approximate date, and they will search for information on that name and date for you. Most records are on microfilm; records beginning in 2000 are online. The Probate Court suggests you contact them in advance in writing and give them a name and an approximate date. They will contact you when they have found the record. The search may take a few days or more.
  • Allegan County Probate Court: 113 Chestnut Street/Allegan, MI (269) 673-0250. Most records on microfilm.

Vital Records* (birth, marriage and death records) – There is a charge for obtaining vital records from government sources.

  • County Clerk’s Office (Michigan). Vital Records for Allegan County, Ottawa County, and other Michigan Counties can be obtained from the County Clerk’s Office.
  • If you go to the Ottawa County Clerk’s office on Fillmore Street in person, they will ask for ID and require that you sign a form before you look at the records. Death records are available to search on their computer beginning in 1867, marriage records beginning in 1910. There is no charge to search, but there is a charge to print records. They will look for earlier records for you. Birth records are available also but are private and some restrictions apply. Also, you are not allowed to take photos of records. Check with the County Clerk for details.
  • The Ottawa County Clerk office is at 12220 Fillmore Street, Room 130, West Olive, MI (616) 994-4531
  • To order records online, go to the Ottawa County Website.
    • Birth Records: 1866 – present
    • Marriage Records:  1848 – present
    • Death Records:  1867 – present
    • Divorce Records from 1898– present are at Ottawa County Circuit Court (fees apply). Contact Ottawa County Circuit Court or Ottawa County Clerk for more information.
  • Allegan County Clerk – 113 Chestnut Street, Allegan, MI (269) 673-0450      
    • Birth Records: 1867 – present
    • Marriage Records: 1836 – present
    • Death Records: 1867 – present
    • For Divorce Records for Allegan County contact Western Michigan University Archives at (269) 387-8490.
  • Michiganology – This website has digitized copies of Michigan Death Certificates from 1897-1952.
  • Michigan Department of Health and Human Services also contains vital records.
  • To find where vital records are for other states check, The Handybook for Genealogists, located in the Genealogy Department. You can also go to www.vitalrec.com.

The Handybook for Genealogists

*Information on vital records, land records, probate records and naturalization records refers specifically to Michigan.  Other states may have these records in different locations.  Also, information is subject to change.  It is always a good idea to call ahead before you visit any of these locations.