"The State of Michigan, but more particularly the various county governments, used to maintain institutions for the benefit of the indigent ill, tuberculosis sufferers, and the homeless. The following list identifies the records of this genre that are stored at the State Archives. Some of these records may be confidential, possibly requiring special permission by the creating agency before researchers can gain access to them. The registers received from the county infirmaries and county poor homes are not restricted and permission is not needed from the Department of Social Services to see them. Sanatoria records are confidential, and access to them must be approved by the Department of Public Health."
Note: All of this information was found on the website of the Michigan State Archives.
Main Page at http://www.sos.state.mi.us/history/archive/index.html
This poorhouse information at http://www.sos.state.mi.us/history/archive/circular/c22.html
[Research Tip: Although "Registers" are the best type of record for genealogical research ...
if you cannot locate a register, other types of records very often have inmates mentioned by name. For example, the cost of a coffin may be recorded in some sort of bookkeeping journal and can help you obtain the date of death of an inmate. Minutes of the Superintendent(s) may record the "binding-out" (or indenturing) of children. So don't give up if there remain only these types of records; patience may be rewarded as you search through such tedious records.   PHL ]
Link to an off-site  description of the size and contents of a Poor Home Register (Van Buren)
           POOR HOMES 

RG#     AGENCY            RECORD TYPE          DATES 

35      Social Welfare    Inspection Recs      1882-1913

71-19   Bay County        Bookkeeping Recs     1869-1914

76-74   Branch County     Proceedings of Supt. 1839-1875

63-29   Benzie County     Minutes of Supt.     1871-1921

72-85   Charlevoix Co.    Journals & Ledgers   1912-1923

64-42   Dickinson Co.     Annual Reports       1910-1940

80-120  Eaton County      Resident Register    1859-1936

80-135  Gratiot County    Resident Register    1886-1974

        Gratiot County    Journals & Ledgers   1886-1921

80-118  Ingham County     Resident Registers   1932-1937

87-133  Ingham County     Financial Records    1866-1886

66-73   Ionia County      Minutes of Supt.     1919-1930

76-133  Ionia County      Resident Register    1876-1943

        Ionia County      Cash Journal         1920-1948

83-26   Ionia County      Admission List       1906-1967

63-17   Isabella Co.      Resident Register    1886-1948

79-60   Isabella Co.      Expense Ledger       1929-1953

71-44   Kent County       Expense Journal      1930-1939

69-55   Lenawee County    Expense Journal      1877-1904

78-68   Livingston Co.    Expense Ledger       1904-1933

71-115  Luce County       Annual Reports       1888-1934

79-101  Muskegon Co.      Supt. Letterbook     1899-1907

63-42   Oceana County     Resident Register    1887-1948

63-15   Roscommon Co.     Minutes of Supt.     1879-1914

62-43   Shiawassee Co.    Expense Ledger       1878-1924

        Shiawasee Co.     Cost Ledger          1939-1947

62-22   St. Clair Co.     Minutes of Supt.     1925-1939

        St. Clair Co.     Annual Reports       1922-1943

        St. Clair Co.     Expense Ledger       1935-1939

67-7    St. Clair Co.     Expense Ledger       1888-1914

90-157  Tuscola County    Expense Records      1855-1867

89-517  Van Buren Co.     Resident Registers   1885-1905

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