Van Buren County Records

Marriage records indexes: 1865 – 1977
Indexes to marriages show names of groom and bride, dates of marriage, and book and page number of recording.

Marriage records: 1865 - 1951
Marriage records consist of copies of original marriage bond, affidavit of application, certificate of marriage, and certificate of recording. Before 1874, records show only name of bride and groom, date of marriage, and name of person performing ceremony. After 1874, records show name, age, and residence of bride and groom, name of surety bondsman, date of ceremony, and name of person performing ceremony. If either party is under age, record may contain affidavit of consent from parent or guardian. Records usually filed chronologically by date of recording. Individual volumes may have internal indexes.

Will records: 1888 - 1954
Transcriptions of original wills filed with the probate court contain name of deceased (testator), names of heirs, and names of witnesses, proofs of will, names and oaths of subscribing witnesses, date of filing, and signature of clerk. In some cases, the record contains the date of death of the deceased. Volumes may contain internal indexes with name of deceased indexed by the first letter of last name.

Probate court records: 1859 - 1891
Records of proceedings in probate court show title of case, names of deceased, heirs, wards, guardians, administrator or executor, attorneys, trial date, finding of court, order of custody of person or property, motions, petitions, and pleadings. Filed chronologically by court date. Volumes may contain an internal index by the first letter of the last name of the deceased, administrator, or ward.

Probate bonds and letters: none available

Deed records indexes: 1855 - 1930
Direct/Reverse (grantor/grantor) indexes to deeds and mortgages show names of buyer and seller, nature of deed or other instrument, legal description of land, description of other property, amount of consideration, date executed, date signed, and date of entry. Volumes indexed by the first letter of the last name of buyer (grantee) or seller (grantor).

Deed records: 1857 - 1890
Record of deeds and other instruments executed to convey title or mortgage property may also contain affidavits, court decrees, slave sales, manumission records, homestead certificates, marriage records and contracts, land redemption records, liens, chattel mortgages, official bonds and appointments, articles of incorporation or association, and land plats. Records filed more or less chronologically. Books may have internal index by name of grantee and grantor.

Early tax records: [1837 – 1869]
Records of real estate and personal taxes assessed against all male county residents between the ages of 21 and 60 and women and minors who owned personal or real property contain name of taxpayer, number of polls, legal description of property, town lots, slaves, cattle and horses, and other personal property. Records are arranged by year and then in alphabetical order by the first letter of their last name. Non-resident taxpayers are usually listed at the end of each volume.

Personal property tax records: 1870 - 1894
Record of personal property assessment and payment show name of taxpayer, township or school district of residence, number of males assessed or paying poll tax, lists of personal property owned, total assessed valuation, and amount of taxes owned. Record may also indicate if tax payments are delinquent. Records are more or less in chronological order. Names are in alphabetical order by first letter of last name by township or school district.

Real estate tax records: none available

County court records: 1872 - 1881
Records of proceedings of county court (also known as the quorum court) in matters concerning the construction of roads, bridges, and public buildings, purchase and sale of county property, appointment of election officers, formation of school district and townships, payment for inquests, and allowance of claims against county also contain petitions, lists of delinquent taxpayers, and names of road overseers. Entries show dates of court session, names of justices present, and names of parties to the proceedings. Filed chronologically by date of session. Some volumes may be indexed by subject or the first letter of the last name of participant.

Circuit court records: 1860 - 1894
Records of proceedings of criminal cases tried in circuit court show dates of term of court, names of court officers, trial date, offenses charged, names of litigants, names of grand and petit jurymen, and court orders. Arranged chronologically by date of court session.

Chancery court records: 1859 - 1959
The chancery or equity court has jurisdiction over disputes between individuals or between individuals and entities such as businesses rather than over matters of the breach of law. Deals with divorce, alimony, custody of minors, personal debt, foreclosures, disputes concerning estates, property, and contracts. Records contain names of plaintiffs, defendants, witnesses, lawyers, as well as verdicts, judgments, and court orders. Arranged chronologically by court date. Volumes may contain an internal index by first letter of the last name of plaintiff and defendant.

Original survey plats: n. d.
Records of the first original land maps and plats prepared by U. S. government surveyors for land in the county. Arranged by legal description.

Miscellaneous County Records