Land-Ownership Maps

Overlay Historic Michigan Maps on a 2010 Census street Map to locate your ancestor's property or do historical research.

Land-ownership map

In the mid-1800s, laws were passed that required counties to create land-ownership maps. These maps were produced for each county and township in Michigan beginning in the 1850's and were updated regularly. These maps are a snapshot of a community and its homeowners in one specific time, allowing historians to see how each community has changed over time.

This map viewer overlays the land-ownership maps for each county and township on top of each other. Each map can be turned on and off to reveal the map below and the opacity can be changed to superimposed each map on the 2010 street map for that township.

Each county and township currently has at least two land-ownership maps in the viewer. More maps will be added as they become availible digitally and time allows.

The ambrotypes of the buildings, which are around some of the maps are included in the archives of this site, and are searchable by township and county, as well as, by caption.

Picture of a one room schoolhouse that links to the Educational Activities page

Educational Activities

Based on the 1905 Primer of Michigan History

Kid's learn about Michigan history in an interactive one room schoolhouse setting. Read the original 1905 Primer, watch video lessons based on the Primer, practice your penmenship, take a MI history trivia quiz, and play games.


Historical Photos, Ambrotypes and Records from SW Michigan

Picture a building that links to Archives page

The archives are a searchable repository of SW Michigan family photos, ambrotypes of buildings throughout the area (taken from landownership maps), and a collection of various records pertaining to SW Michigan from the 19th and 20th centuries.

To search the archives, select a surname, township, or county from the lists of image tags, select Show All to browse all images, or use the search-box to search for specific words in the captions.

Picture of a family that links to family focus page

Family Focus

Share Stories and Break Through Brick Walls

Read and download family stories and historical research about SW Michigan, help solve genealogy brick walls, and share stories or images from your own research. We will publish your article as a .pdf for everyone's enjoyment, and any submitted images will go into the archives for others to view and download.

Submit your photos and family stories