There were many territorial and state censuses taken in Michigan over the years. However, only a few of those records have survived to the present day. The first census was taken by the French in 1710. Census records from 1710 through 1792 mainly included residents living in and around Detroit, Michigan. In 1780, a census was taken of Fort Saint Joseph. Information about that census can be found in (Michigan Pioneer and Historical Collections, vol. 10, 1908, 406-07). The National Genealogical Society Quarterly 64 (1981): 185-94 published a census of Wayne County, which was taken in 1796. In 1802, a tax list was taken in that county as well. It is almost as good as a population census, for genealogical purposes. So is the resident list taken in 1805 for Detroit. Americans (Detroit: Detroit Society for Genealogical Research, 1982), Donna Valley Russell’s Michigan Censuses 1710–1830 Under the French, British, and State Censuses of Michigan: A Tragedy of Lost Treasures, Family Trails 6 (Summer/Fall, 1978) each contain valuable information about Michigan census records.
Both territorial and state records of census information dating back as far as 1827 can also be found at the Allen County Public Library, as well as at the Library of Michigan, which is located in Lansing. Only heads of households are listed on state censuses taken before 1884. However, the 1884 census can be useful to researchers because it lists months and locations of marriages that occurred during that year.
The 1884 and 1894 state census records also include mortality schedules. Researchers should also look at the manuscript of the 1888 Civil War Veteran Census, which can be found in the state archives.
Extant territory and state census records are listed according to county in a publication by McGinnis. The University of Michigan’s Bentley Historical Library also has a list of schedules and where they can be found.
Searchable Michigan Census Databases and other Helpful Links
Michigan, State Census, 1894 – This database contains information from the 1894 Michigan State Census for the counties of Barry, Bay, Benzie, Dickinson, Emmet, Gratiot, Iosco, Ingham, Kalamazoo, and Keweenaw. Information listed includes the name of every member of the household, and their age, race, and birthplace.
Michigan, State Census, 1894 – Name index of the Michigan state census taken in June 1894. Due to destroyed and missing records, in addition to a partial acquisition of records, this collection includes the following counties: Barry, Benzie, Bay, Dickinson, Emmet, Gratiot, Ingham, Iosco, Kalamazoo, Kent, Keweenaw, Lapeer, Leelanau, Menominee, Montcalm, and Washtenaw.