Fort Michilimackinac
Mackinaw City Genealogy
 In the 18th Century, Mackinaw City was the site of of Fort Michilimackinac, a French and then English fortified community. During the winter of 1780 - 1781 the English moved that community to Mackinac Island.

The village of Mackinaw City was platted in 1857 and the first resident was George W. Stimpson in 1870. Prior to the arrival of the railroads in 1881, Mackinaw was visited almost exclusively by boat. 

The railroads needed a way across the Straits of Mackinac between Michigan's upper and lower peninsulas and the three railways serving the Straits formed the Mackinac Transportation company. The first Straits Ferry was the Algomah, built in Detroit in 1881.

The Dixie highway, East Michigan Pike and West Michigan Pike followed the railroads to Mackinaw. At first the automobiles used the railroad ferries, but the State Highway Department formed Michigan State Ferries and the first seasonal automobile ferry began in 1923.

Mackinaw City, Mackinac BridgeThe ferries increased in number and size, but were never able to handle the few highest traffic days of the year, when the lines would stretch for miles (and hours) down US 23 and US 31. The 5 mile long Mackinac Bridge opened on November 1, 1957 and the automobile ferries ceased.

The railroad ferry Chief Wawatam continued to connect the two peninsulas until 1984, when rail service to St. Ignace ended. The Chief remained at the Mackinaw City dock until 1988.

Mackinaw City is located at the northern most tip of Michigan's lower peninsula. It is located in two townships in two counties. Wawatam Township in Emmet County and Mackinaw Township in Cheboygan county. Prior to 1923, Wawatam Township was a part of Carp Lake Township. The nearest county in the upper peninsula is Mackinac County.

Mackinaw City Lakeview Cemetery photos, index & map

Memories of Mackinaw - history book

1873 Michigan State Gazetteer - Mackinaw business directory
1875 Michigan State Gazetteer - Mackinaw business directory
1884 Mackinaw City Directory
1884 Mackinaw City Directory
All Time Directory of Wawatam Beach Residents to 1957
Mackinaw Loves Its Bridge - memories of long time residents
Mackinac Bridge photos
Mackinac Area Lighthouses
Mackinaw in Winter
Mackinac Island photos

email for lookups from these documents:
July 1961 Michigan Bell Telephone Directory: Cheboygan, Indian River, Mackinaw City
Fiftieth Anniversary: Ames Memorial Methodist Episcopal Church (1937)
Mackinae City's Fvorite Recipes compiled by the Order of Eastern Star Chapter 374 (1950)
Church Messenger - Ames Memorial Methodist Church (1954)
The Church of the Straits (Methodist and Presbyterian) Commemorating 100 years (1982)
The First 100 Years of the First Presbyterian Church of Mackinaw City, Michigan (1982)
Favorite Potluck Recipes - Women's Association Church of the Straits (1984)
Mackinaw City Methodist Church - Celebrating 100 Years of Christian Witness (1988)
The Church of the Straits Directory 1995
The Church of the Straits Directory 1997
Mackinaw City Settlers & The Savage Straits

Off Site Straits area resources

1820 census of Michilimackinack County
1850 federal census of Mackinac County
1850 federal census of Mackinac County (Holmes Township)
Michigan death index 1867 - 1897
1880 US Census Index and Household info at Family Search
The Journal of John McLaughlin, 1886-1891  Great Lakes engineer
1895 Portrait and Biographical Record of Northern Michigan
Emmet County Michigan World War II draftees
Obituaries from the Petoskey News Review
2004 - 2017 Archive of the St. Ignace News

Order Michigan vital records
Other Emmet County cemetery records
Order Cheboygan County vital records

Cheboygan County Genealogy
Emmet County Genealogy
Mackinac County GenWeb

My ancestors' surnames
Alberson, Bateson, Boomer, Boone, Cleland, Cudworth, DeGarmo, Dixon, Dorrance, Emmett, Gordon, Helms, Hope, Ingledan, Kempton, Kerr, Lee, Marble, McNight, Sailler, Sands, Stokes, Taylor, Thomas, Whittemore

Mackinaw City Residents I am currently researching
Please email leads or questions to Keith Stokes

  • Isaac Austin - born in Canada ~1872, emigrated to US ~1875. Married Jane Stokes lived in Ellis Township, Cheboygan County in 1900, Mackinaw City 1910, 1920, 1930
  • Irving George Sands -  born in Canada 11/8/1888, emigrated to US 1891, lived in Charlevoix before Mackinaw. Need details on parents and birth
  • Jane Stokes - born ~1873 in England emigrated to Canada, emigrated to the US ~1886-1894, married Isaac Austin, lived in Ellis Township, Cheboygan County in 1900, Mackinaw City 1910, 1920, 1930
  • Elizabeth J. Bateson - born in Ontario, Canada 9/18/1863, married Samuel Mcknight. living in Minden Township, Haliburton County Ontario in the 1881 and 1901. Mother believed to be Elizabeth Hope/ Father may have been Richard Bateson born in England 1836.
  • Maggie Boone - born in Canada ~1860, married George Sands, emigrated to US 1891, married Sam(p)son Godbold,  lived in Charlevoix 1910 & 1920
  • Mary Helms - born ~1827 probably in Ontario County, New York, married Rev. David "Perry" Dorrance, lived and buried in Boyne City, Charlevoix County, Michigan.
  • Samuel McKnight - born Ireland 1/1/1851, immigrated to Canada 1961. living in Minden Township, Haliburton County Ontario in the 1871, 1881 and 1901 married Elizabeth J. Bateson. Alive in 1922.
  • George Sands - believed born in Canada, married Maggie Boone, emigrated to US 1891
  • David Stokes - born in England, emigrated to Canada. Lived mostly in Ontario but some in Vancouver. Worked as Timber Cruiser. Married Victoria Louise McKnight, Divorced 1923. Had property in Severin Ridge, Ontario. Died ~1960s
  • Robert Cleland Taylor - born in New York 7/12/1834. Son of Catherine Cleland & Tunis Taylor, married Emily Elizabeth Alberson 1865, lived in Charlevoix County, Michigan. died 8/12/1902 
Copyright 2003-2017 by Keith Stokes