Old MCRR Standish MI Train Depot

Arenac Co Family History/Genealogy Research Suggestions

Arenac County is situated along the Saginaw Bay of Lake Huron in the Great Lakes region of the United States Midwest-Plains. It is rich in indigenous history and these cultures play a large role in the economic and cultural health of the county today. Once covered with white pine and hardwoods, logging played a prominent part in the growth of Michigan, and Arenac was a major contributor. Convenient rivers leading to Saginaw Bay led to a strong shipping commerce as well. A summer resort industry blossomed along with the ships that came to the county’s western border. Disastrous wildfires eventually destroyed the logging business, reshaping the economy, population and government of Arenac County.

Arenac County was first created by Michigan Territory in 1831, with boundaries very different from what it has today. The county was named by the US Indian Agent Henry R. Schoolcraft. There are many opinions purporting how he came up with the word “arenac” and what that word means. Arenac County switched from the Territory of Michigan to the State of Michigan in 1837. In 1857, the formation of Bay County engulfed Arenac. Twenty-six years later, in 1883, Arenac County was re-organized out of Bay County, with boundaries different from its previous incarnation. Today, Arenac County covers approximately 681 square miles, nearly equally comprised of land and water. Its first county seat was briefly Omer but now the county seat is Standish.

Header photo courtesy cmh2315fl on Flickr.com, 28 Dec 2021.