The term “lenawee” or “lenawai” (Shawnee) cames from the Native American word meaning “man” from the Delaware “leno or lenno”. Lenawee County’s first white settlers were thirty New Yorkers who founded Tecumseh on the River Raisin in May 1824. The Farlin family arrived in the 1820-30s and the West family arrived in the 1840-50s. A railroad between Toledo and Adrian was finished in 1836, opening up the area’s farm land and population to the rest of the world, becoming a leader in agriculture in Michigan. It continues to be agricultural land today, though times for farmers are tough.
Much of the area remains as it was in the middle to late 1800s, with a few spots where farm land has been converted into subdivisions of homes. It remains far outside of metropolitan and populated areas, so growth and change is slow.
I was surprised to find dirt roads leading to my the homesteads of our ancestors, Farlin and West, still there in wide open fields surrounding old farm houses. At times I could tell when the original farm house and barns remained or where replaced by newer buildings, other times, I couldn’t tell if they’d restored the original farm house or not. I wish I’d had time to knock on doors to find out if anyone still remains and knows of any history from that time. I’ll have to plan that for my next visit.
As you drive around Lenawee County, you will see occasional signs marking the homestead as being continuously owned by the same family for over 100 years, paying tribute to the areas history.
The Lenawee County Family Researchers Genealogy Society provides local help and research as well as many events and activities around Lenawee County for historians, genealogists, and residents.
Here are some other helpful online resources I’ve found to help with my family history research in the area.
- Lenawee County Cemetery Information
- American Local History Network – Lenawee County, Michigan
- Lenawee Historical Society Museum
- Michigan Tombstone Transcription and Photography Project
- US National Register of Historic Places – Michigan Lenawee County
- Lenawee County Family Researchers Genealogy Society
- Rootsweb – Lenawee County, Michigan, Links to Area Resources and History
- Linkpendium – Genealogy Resources for Lenawee County, Michigan
- Memoirs of Lenawee County Michigan Vol. 1 and 2 – Online Book by Ancestry.com – Paid Access Only
- Michigan County Histories – Books, Maps, and Resources for Lenawee County
- Lenawee County, Michigan, Gedcom Family Files for Downloading
- Podunk – Cemeteries List for Lenawee County, Michigan
- Rootsweb MIGenWeb Archives for Lenawee County Michigan Cemetery Records and Photos
- Historical Society of Lenawee County
- Index to Lenawee County Naturalization Files
- Requests to the Archives of Michigan – Vital, Naturalization, and Other Document Research and Requests
- The McLain Cemetery, Raisin Township, Lenawee County Michigan
- Lenawee, Michigan, MIGenWeb
- Lenawee MIGenWeb Cemetery by Township List
- Lenawee MIGenWeb Cemetery by Alphabetical List
- Michigan USGenWeb Tombstone Project
- Lenawee County Family Researchers
- Library of Michigan Online Search through Michigan Cemeteries
- Lenawee County Vital Records
- Lenawee County Offices
- Lenawee County MIGenWebLenawee County Library
- 1895 Atlas for Lenawee County
- Lenawee County Platt Maps
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