Downtown Timeline Bham Mag 12-2019-1 - Copy
Timeline of the development of birmingham's renowned downtown. Birmingham Magazine, December 2019.

Birmingham Museum  has many records that may be consulted including 1872, 1896, 1908 maps of Birmingham, historical photographs, scrapbooks, tax rolls, Village Minutes, School yearbooks, streetscape and people files, and other archival sources. Research requests are handled by staff in the order in which they are received.  A $25.00 minimum fee covers up to one hour of research, with additional time charged at the rate of $15.00 per hour.  Document photocopies and photographs may be reproduced for an additional fee.  An appointment is required; please contact the Museum during regular hours, Wednesday through Saturday, at 248.530.1928.

The following information is provided to assist those who may be conducting their own research with regard to Birmingham, a particular property, or their own family's history.

How to Search Early Land Records Online is a .pdf with step by step instructions and links to view records at the Bureau of Land Management and also Michigan's early Indian trails.

The Baldwin Public Library has the following resources:

  • Eccentric Newspaper has been indexed and is available on microfilm beginning in 1878.  (Digitized versions can be viewed at the Bloomfield Township Library.)
  • Michigan Pioneer Historical Society Report is a 40 volume publication with two indexes of Michigan's early pioneering families. It was published 1880s-1920s it can be found in the Allen Room.
  • Sanborn Insurance Maps for Birmingham.
  • R.L. Polk & Phone Directories located in the Allen Room. These directories provided names, occupation, spouse's name and sometime children's name. The Directories have two sections. The first is arranged alphabetical by name of resident and businesses. Part two is arranged alphabetically by street name and then by address. These directories only go back to 1937.
  • Telephone Books for Birmingham date back to 1926.

Other Resources:

are the best sources of historical and legal information regarding an historic property. They provide essential information regarding the land. Included are all references to deeds, mortgages, wills, probate records, court litigation, and tax sales. Occasionally an abstract will include description of buildings on the property. Unfortunately, abstracts are not commonly available and are usually in private hands. The following sources can be consulted to re-construct an abstract.

Oakland County Land Records including deeds, mortgages and plat maps are available at Oakland County Offices in Pontiac. Photocopying services are available. Oakland County Offices, 1200 N. Telegraph Rd., Pontiac, MI 48341. Telephone 248.858.0606.

Probate Court Records may provide wills, property inventories and mechanics leans (lawsuits or disputes initiated by contractors for non-payment). These documents may provide evidence of construction activities that may provide a date of construction. Oakland County Offices, 1200 N. Telegraph Rd., Pontiac, MI 48341

Assessment/Tax Records can provide owners names, size of property, addresses and etc. Village of Birmingham and early City of Birmingham tax roll are available at the Birmingham Historical Museum. The years include 1888, 1890-94, 1896-97, 1900, 1909-10, 1913, 1915-1927, 1943-44, 1947 and 1949. Birmingham Historical Museum, 556 W. Maple, Birmingham, MI 48009. Telephone 248.642.2817.

County Tax Records are available at Oakland University's Library for the years 1841-1871. These records provide only a limited amount of information regarding Birmingham.

United States Census Records to determine who was living on property, their occupation, children and spouse. Census information for Birmingham is available, in part, on microfilm at the Troy Public Library. Complete census information can be order and view on microfilm at the Family Research Library, Church of the Latter Day Saints, 425 N. Woodward, Bloomfield Hills, 48304. Telephone 248.647.2708.

Schedule of Products of Agriculture for Oakland County for 1850, 1860, 1870, and 1880 are available at the State of Michigan Archives. These records may contain inventories regarding farmer's properties including outbuildings, barns, live stock, produce production, etc. Michigan Historical Center, State Archives, 717 W. Allegan, Lansing, MI 48918. Telephone 517. 373.0510.