Berrien County, Michigan
Genealogy and Facts

Berrien County

Berrien County was founded on October 29 1829 (Organized on Septembert 1 1831) from unorganized territory . This county was named for John M. Berrien (1781-1856): Attorney General in the Jackson Administration.

The Berrien County Seat is located in St. Joseph also, the county government website is www.berriencounty.org/.

Counties bordering Berrien County Van Buren County (northeast), Cass County (east) St. Joseph County IN (southeast) La Porte County IN (southwest).

Incorporated Cities & Villages located in Berrien County include  Benton Harbor, Bridgman, Buchanan, Coloma, New Buffalo, Niles, St. Joseph, Watervliet, Baroda, Berrien Springs, Eau Claire, Galien, Grand Beach, Michiana, Shoreham, Stevensville, Three Oaks.

Townships located in Berrien County include  Bainbridge, Baroda, Benton Charter, Berrien, Bertrand, Buchanan, Chikaming, Coloma Charter, Galien, Hagar, Lake Charter, Lincoln Charter, New Buffalo, Niles Charter, Oronoko Charter, Pipestone, Royalton, Sodus, St. Joseph Charter, Three Oaks, Watervliet Charter, Weesaw.

Berrien County vital records can be found at the Michigan Office of Vital Records has copies of birth, marriage, divorce and death records since 1867. There is a fee for each copy requested. Please refer to the information to the Statewide Vital Records in Michigan for current fees and application process.

You can search online for Berrien County Birth, Marriage, Divorce or Death Records. You can also Order Electronically Online or can download an application for Michigan Birth Certificate, Marriage Certificate, Divorce Certificate, Death Certificate Applications to mail.

Berrien County consists of Federal Census Schedules to guide in looking into your family tree. Federal Population Schedules can be found for 1830, 1840, 1850, 1860, 1870, 1880 (free index), 1890 (fragment), 1900, 1910, 1920, 1930, 1940.

Berrien Co. Mortality Schedules can be found for 1850, 1860, 1870 and 1880. Berrien Co. Industry and Agriculture can be obtained for 1850, 1860, 1870 and 1880. Berrien Co. Union Veterans Schedules is available for 1890. One can find free online and printable census forms to help you with your research.

Berrien County Societies and Family History Resources

A list of Berrien County Historical  and Genealogical Societies, Forums, Message Boards, Libraries, Archives.

Berrien County Courthouse and Government Records


Berrien County Courthouse

Genealogist often overlook the importance of Berrien County court, probate, and land records as a source of genealogy and family history information. Hidden away in Michigan courthouses and archives just about everywhere tend to be the hopes and dreams and worries of countless Michigan citizens.

The chances are very good that your potential ancestors and forefathers have left a in-depth document of at least several elements of their lives in the Berrien County court records. Even if your ancestors and forefathers is not discussed in a Court case, consider all of the other procedures which may have lead to her or him showing up in court records.

The following specifics indicates exactly what birth, death, marriage, property, probate, and legal records are in Berrien County. The dates pointed out below are considered the first known records with this county.

Some early records  prior to organization on Septembert 1 1831 may be located in Cass County

You need to contact the clerk's office to verify hours, mailing address, fees and other details prior to visiting or seeking information because of in some cases changing contact info. The Department Offices DO NOT DO RESEARCH. The records and documents are readily available to interested parties, barring private issues. Most staff will guide persons in locating the resources, but it's up to the man or women to carry out the researching.
  • Berrien County Courthouse (all departments listed below are located here unless otherwise noted)
    • Address: 701 Main Street St. Joseph MI 49085
  • Berrien County Clerk is responsible for keeping records of births, deaths, assumed names, co-partnerships, issuing and filing marriage licenses, gun permits, notary bonds and processing passports. The date listed for each category of record is the earliest record known to exist in that county. It does not indicate that there are numerous records for that year and certainly does not indicate that all such events that year were actually registered. Berrien County Clerk Information for Genealogists
    • Phone: 616-983-7111 ext. 8233
    • Births & Deaths: 1867
    • Marriage Records: 1831
  • Berrien County Register of Deeds is the official recording officer for all legal documents pertaining to the transfers and encumbrances of all real estate property within the County. The Register also provides permanent storage for approved original subdivision plats, condominiums, land surveys and section corners.
    • Phone: (269) 983-7111 ext 8562
    • Land Records: 1831
  • Berrien County Clerk of the Probate Court responsibilities include adjudicating and disposes of cases involving property of persons who have died or become incompetent, interprets wills and trusts, commits the mentally ill when necessary and appoints guardians and conservators for minors, incapacitated individuals and individuals with developmental disability.
    • Phone: (269) 983-7111 ex. 8365
    • Probate Records: 1834 
  • Berrien County Clerk of the Circuit Court provides a variety of functions for the court such as, but not limited to: filing and maintaing the official record for all cases that come before the court; providing staff to assist in the operation of the court; working with the Jury Commission and notifying all potential jurors to appear for jury duty; and, processing felony criminal cases bound over from the District Court.
    • Phone: (269) 983-7111 ex. 8395
    • Court Records: 1833

Berrien County Links

The following are links to Genealogy and family history, Records and Resources related to Berrien County. Most of these genealogy links fall into 3 categories: Commercial Sites, Private Sites or Organization Sites. Some have free access some have to have a fee. This is just a list that has been compiled or submitted. I do not endorse or promote one genealogy site above another. Feel free to provide your own most liked Berrien County genealogy or family history associated sites.

Berrien Co. MI Books, Newspapers & Publications

Berrien Co. MI Birth, Marriage & Death Records

Berrien Co. MI Court, Probate Land and Tax Records

Berrien Co. MI Census Records

Berrien Co. MI Cemeteries & Graveyards

Berrien Co. MI Church & Bible Records

Berrien Co. MI Family Websites, Pictures & Histories

Berrien Co. MI General and History Websites

Berrien Co. MI Immigration & Naturalization

Berrien Co. MI Maps, Atlases & Gazetteers

Berrien Co. MI Military Records

Berrien Co. MI Schools & Directories

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