Welcome to Bay County Michigan


Proud of Our Ethnic Heritage - New on MFHN


Bay County was organized on February 17, 1857 from parts of  Saginaw and
Midland Counties. The citizens of the bayside communities tired of traveling three days to Saginaw for court cases and in 1854 voted to separate from Saginaw County. 
The county encompasses the mouth of the Saginaw Bay Watershed, the outlet to Lake Huron of the Saginaw, Kawkawlin, Chippewa, Coldwater, Tittabawasse, Shiawassee, Cass and Flint rivers.  The land is a fertile plain, part of the inland lake bed of the glacial Lake Algonquin.   Tobico Marsh, a National Landmark 1976, is part of the largest contiguous freshwater coastal wetland in the United States.
Bay City was once the camping ground of the Sauk, Ojibway, Ottawa and Potawatomi Indians.  Ojibway or Chippewa Indians greeted the French Voyageurs who came to trade for furs in the late 18th and early 19th centuries. The artifacts of the settlements have been unearthed along the Saginaw River causeway.
The natural geographical configuration led to the economic base for the county which included lumber, coal, salt, sugar beets, potatoes, soy beans, wheat and oats, chemical manufacturing, knitting mills, automotive manufacturing and boat building.  The lumber industry started in Bay County in 1844 when a mill was constructed at the mouth of the Kawkawlin River.  Millions of board feet of lumber from Michigan's pine and hardwood forests would pass through the mills of Bay County in the ensuing years.   The county was aptly named the "Lumber Capitol of the World".
The salt mines were tapped as early as 1850.  The Michigan Mine in Monitor Township began mining coal in 1897.  The Monitor Coal Company was the last coal mine in the county to close in 1947.  Producing the coal proved to costly.   Oil production in Bay County in the Kawkawlin pool ranks fourth in the State of Michigan.
Sugar beet  farming and the sugar industry
have also played a part in the economic development of the county.  Sugar beets and chicory were introduced around 1892. 
Shipyards in Bay County produced Great Lakes steel freighters and other water craft.   During WWII the shipyards helped produce U.S. Destroyers and missile vessels for the war effort.  Today the county produces hydroplanes, sailboats, catamarans and iceboats.
In successive waves Bay County was settled by numerous ethnic groups.  The French came from Canada and Southern Michigan and settled in Banks and Dolsenville.  German immigrants settled Frankenlust and Monitor Townships in the early 1850's.  In the 1870's through the early 1900's Polish and Jewish immigrants settled the area between Madison and Hampton streets off Columbus Avenue.  The Irish settled both sides of the river after the Potato Famine.  Other immigrants came from Sweden, Holland, the Austro-Hungarian Empire and Italy.  Numerous immigrant migrant workers from Mexico and Haiti settled permanently in the county.  
All in all a rich heritage, a fertile land and water.........................!

Table of Contents

Search Bay County Michigan Family History Network

Search the MIGenWeb archives for Bay County and Michigan.

Research Aids
files with information on
 Genealogical research Topics

Cemetery Listings & Transcriptions - Cemetery burials and other information. Links (Bay County, Mich., & US)
Places to help with your search online.
Census Data - Online  Census enumerations for Bay County Lookups - people willing to help with research.
Bay County Churches  - selected histories of the counties churches

Schools, Clubs, Associations, Fraternal Organizations  - school census, yearbooks and member lists of organizations.

Cities, Towns, Villages, & Townships - submit your stories about Bay County Maps, Plat Books and Land Owners
Bay County Directories   - directories give the name and address of the person and generally their occupation. Military History: Michigan, Bay County   
Information on enlistments, GAR camps, and photos of Civil War GAR headstones.
Funeral Homes - listing. Native American Resources
Societies, Mailing Lists and Message Boards Post your query, ask and give help. Newspapers - Historical and Online
History - Bay County & Saginaw Valley
Ongoing new uploads of historical articles.
Pictures - postcards, photos, etc. needed!!!! Submit yours.
Libraries and Research Centers - centers for your off line research. Vital Statistics, Obituaries, Online Marriages and Births, Pioneer Obituaries

Personal Genealogy Home Pages - add yours!!

Family Photos - add your family photos here!






Get Involved!: Give Help--Get Help

There are a number of ways to help this project and help others as well as yourself.

Volunteer to index information or do lookups!. If you own or have access to sources for Bay County (birth records, marriage records, tax records, cemetery records, biographical information, county or city histories, etc.) volunteer to index or type up information to make available to other persons interested in the people and history of Bay County.  You may also volunteer to do lookups in those resources for people making requests.  Please contact Donna Hoff-Grambau for more information.

This page was initially created 15 February, 2003.


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Donna Hoff-Grambau  
Volunteers hold copyright to the material they have donated for this site.  Not to be copied and used in any format to any other site or in any other media. 

Portions 2001, 2002, 2003 Jan Nearing and Kay L. Mason, other portions 1999/2000 Bill Carney, 1998-1999 Donna Hoff-Grambau. This page was originally constructed and maintained by Gloria and Eric Craig of South Bend, Indiana. It was visited 6,054 times between the time it was uploaded on 12/11/96 and 1/3/99. 

The original page on the MIGenWeb was dedicated to Doris Alma Gies Bornemann May 11, 1929 to October 27, 1997

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