Today’s Michigan counties did not always exist in the present form. They went through many different changes in the space of a few short years.

Michigan Territorial Counties

The Michigan Territory was established by an act of the United States Congress on January 11, 1805, effective June 30 of that year from the Indiana Territory.

The first territorial governor abolished Wayne County and established new districts. These proved to be short-lived.

When Lewis Cass became governor in 1813, he abolished the districts and re-established a third incarnation of Wayne County that included all lands within Michigan Territory that had been ceded by Indians through the 1807 Treaty of Detroit.

The creation of counties generally occurred in two stages.

  1. First the boundaries of a county were declared and given a name. The county appeared on maps, even though this may have been the entire extent of a county’s tangible existence for several years. During this period, the as yet unorganized county was attached to another already organized county for administrative purposes. The legislature frequently changed the administrative attachment of these unorganized counties.
  2. Residents of such an attached county could petition the legislature for organization, which was the granting of full legal recognition to the county.

The State of Michigan entered the union as the 26th state on January 26, 1837.

Michigan Counties Today

Today, Michigan is divided into 83 counties. States bordering Michigan are WisconsinOhio,  Indiana and Minnesota.

Fun Facts about Michigan Counties

Counties by Name

  • 9 Michigan counties have names adapted from parts of Native American words, but sometimes having parts from Greek, Arabic and Latin roots.
  • 4 Michigan counties were renamed for Irish locales (counties Antrim, Clare, Roscommon and Wexford)
  • 10 Michigan counties were named for persons who served in Andrew Jackson’s presidential administration

Counties by Year

County Size Facts

County Population Facts

Michigan City Facts

Michigan’s 10  largest cities (2010) are:

  1. Detroit (713,777) is in Wayne County
  2. Grand Rapids (188,040) is in Kent County
  3. Warren (134,056) is in Macomb County
  4. Sterling Heights (129,699) is in Macomb County
  5. Lansing (114,297) is in Ingham County
  6. Ann Arbor (113,934) is in Washtenaw County
  7. Flint (102,434) is in Genesee County
  8. Dearborn (98,153) is in Wayne County
  9. Livonia (96,942) is in Wayne County
  10. Clinton Township (96,796) is in Macomb County

Boundary Changes of Michigan Counties from 1790-1897

This Interactive Map of Michigan Counties show the historical boundaries, names, organization, and attachments of every county, extinct county and unsuccessful county proposal from 1790 to 1897.

List of Michigan Counties

List of Old Former / Extinct Michigan Counties

Michigan contains some counties that no longer exist because they were discontinued, renamed or merged with another county. These are important for genealogy research purposes.

The below counties formerly within the area of the State of Michigan no longer exist:

  • Aischum County: Formed in 1 April 1840 from Mackinac County and renamed Lake County in 8 March 1843
  • Anamickee County: Formed in 1 April 1840 and renamed Alpena County in 8 March 1843
  • Bleeker County: Formed in 1861 and renamed Menominee County in 19 March 1863
  • Brown County: Formed in 26 Oct 1818 became part of the Wisconsin Terr. in December 7th 1836. Now in Wisconsin
  • Charlevoix(old) County: Formed in 1840 as Keskkauko County and renamed Charlevoix County in 1843. Merged with Emmet Co in 1853
  • Cheonoquet County: Formed in 1 April 1840 and renamed Montmorency County in 8 March 1843)
  • Crawford(old) County: Formed in 1818 from unorganized land became part of the Wisconsin Terr in 1836. Now in Wisconsin
  • Des Moines County: Formed in 1834 from unorganized land became part of the Wisconsin Terr in 1836. Now in Iowa
  • Dubuque County: Formed in 1834 from unorganized land became part of the Wisconsin Terr in 1836. Now in Iowa
  • Iowa County: Formed in 1830 from Crawford County became part of the Wisconsin Territory. in 1836. Now in Wisconsin
  • Isle Royale County: Formed in 1875 from Keweenaw County and attached to Houghton Co in 1885 abolished in 1897 and became part of Keweenaw Co
  • Kanotin County: Formed in 1 Feb 1840 from unorganized land and renamed Iosco County in 1843
  • Kautawaubet County: Formed in 1 April 1840 from Mackinac County and renamed Wexford County in 8 March 1843.
  • Kayakee County: Formed in 1 April 1840 from Mackinac County, Saginaw Co and unorganized land; renamed Clare County in 8 March 1843
  • Kautawaubet County: Formed in 1840 from Mackinac County and renamed Charlevoix County in 1843
  • Isle Royale County: Formed in 1875 from Keweenaw County and attached to Houghton County in 1885; abolished in 1897and became part of Keweenaw County
  • Negwegon County: Formed in 1840 from Mackinac County and unorganized land; renamed Alcona County in 1843
  • Notipekago County: Formed in 1840 from Mackinac County and Ottawa County; renamed Mason County in 1843
  • Meegisee County: Formed in 1840 and renamed Antrim County in 1843
  • Mikenauk County: Formed in 1 April 1840 from Mackinac County and Unorganized Land renamed Roscommon County in 8 March 1843.
  • Manitou County: Formed in 13 Feb 1855 from Emmet and Leelanau Counties. In 1861 the county government was disorganized and Manitou was attached to Mackinac County. In 1865 it was attached to Leelanau County then again attached to Mackinac County in 1869. Finally in 1895 Manitou was abolished and was absorbed by Charlevoix and Leelanau Counties
  • Meegisee County: Formed in 1 April 1840 from Mackinac County and renamed Antrim County in 8 March 1843
  • Michilimackinac County: Formed in 26 Oct 1818 from Wayne County and renamed Mackinac County in 8 March 1843
  • Milwaukee County: Formed in 1834 from Brown County and became part of the Wisconsin Territory in 1836; now in Wisconsin
  • Negwegon County: aka Neewago; Formed in 1 April 1840 from Unorganized Land and renamed Alcona County in 8 March 1843
  • Notipekago County: aka Nontipekago; Formed in 1 April 1840 from Mackinac County and renamed Mason County in 8 March 1843
  • Okkuddo County: Formed in 1840 from Mackinac County and renamed Otsego County in 1843
  • Omeena County: Formed in 1840 from Mackinac County and abolished in 1853; became part of Grand Traverse County in 1843
  • Okkuddo County: aka Okkudo; Formed in 1 April 1840 from Mackinac County and renamed Otsego County in 8 March 1843
  • Omeena County: Formed in 1840 from Mackinac County and abolished in 1853; became part of Grand Traverse County in 1853
  • Reshkauko County: Organized 1 April 1840 and renamed Charlevoix County 8 March 1843
  • Shawono County: aka Shawano and Shawona; Formed in 26 oct 1818 from Mackinac County and renamed Crawford County in 8 March 1843
  • Tonedagana County: Formed in 1 April 1840 from Mackinac County and renamed Emmet County in 8 March 1843
  • Unwattin County: Formed in 1 April 1840 from Mackinac County and renamed Osceola County in 8 March 1843; Some records in Ottawa County
  • Wabassee County: Formed in 1 April 1840 from Mackinac County and renamed Kalkaska County in 8 March 1843
  • Washington County: Formed in 1867 from Marquette County but declared unconstitutional
  • Wyandiot County: Formed in 1840 from Mackinac County and abolished in 1853; became part of Cheboygan County in 1853

Wyandiot County, Michigan

Created on DATE from LAND. COUNTY County was renamed to COUNTY County on November 7, 1907.

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