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Berrien County, Michigan
Genealogy, History & Facts

Berrien County, Michigan Facts

Berrien County

When was Berrien County, MI Created?
Berrien County was created 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.

What is the County Seat of Berrien County, MI?
The County Seat is located in St. Joseph also, the county government website is

What counties are adjacent to Berrien County, MI?
Bordering Counties are Van Buren County (northeast), Cass County (east) St. Joseph County IN (southeast) La Porte County IN (southwest).

What cities and towns are in Berrien County, MI?
Cities and towns located in the 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.

What Townships are in Berrien County, MI?
Townships located in the 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, MI Vital Records

Where can find Berrien County Birth, marriage, Divorce and Death Records?
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, MI Census Records

What Berrien County, MI census records are available?
There are many types of census records for Berrien County guide you in researching your family tree. Federal Population Schedules are available 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. See Also Michigan Census Records Research Guide

Berrien County, MI Courthouse and Government Records

Berrien County Courthouse

What genealogical records can I find in the Berrien County Courthouse?
The below facts shows exactly what death, marriage, birth, property, wills, and court records are typically in Berrien County. The years listed below are the first noted records with this county. See Also Michigan Corthouse Records Research Guide.

  • 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
  • Michigan Land Records
  • Michigan Probate Records 1797-1973  
  • BLM Land Records

Berrien County, MI Societies and Family History Resources

What genealogical and historical societies, archives, museums, associations and libraries are available for Berrien County, MI?
A list of Berrien County Historical  and Genealogical Societies, Libraries, Archives. See also list of Statewide Michigan Archives, Historical & Genealogical Societies.

  • Berrien County Historical Association 313 N. Cass Street P.O. Box 261 Berrien Springs MI 49103; (269) 471-1202 Fax (269) 471-7412. The archives are accessible during museum hours but researchers are strongly urged to call ahead to insure that the curator will be available to assist them.
  • Berrien County Genealogical Society P.O. Box 8808 Benton Harbor MI 49023-8808
  • Four Flags Area Genealogical Society P.O. Box 414 Niles MI 49120-0414
  • Ft. Miami Heritage Society Of Michigan 708 State St. St. Joseph 49085
  • Galien Woods Historical Society 708 Galien-Buchanan Rd. Galien 49113
  • North Berrien Historical Society 300 Coloma Ave P.O. Box 207 Coloma MI 49038; 269-468-3330
  • State Archives of Michigan, 702 W Kalamazoo Str, P.O. Box 30738, Lansing, MI 48909-8238; (517) 373-1408
  • Library of Michigan, 702 W. Kalamazoo St, Lansing, MI 48909
  • Historical Society of Michigan, 1305 Abbott Rd., East Lansing, MI 48823; (517) 324-1828

Where can I connect with other Berrien County, MI Researchers through message boards and forums?

What other genealogical resources are available in Berrien County, MI?
The following are web links to Genealogy, Records and Resources pertaining 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.

Berrien Co. MI Books, Newspapers & Publications

Berrien Co. MI Cemeteries & Church 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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