About Washtenaw County

Washtenaw County is located in southeast Michigan, covering an area of 720 square miles. Its 27 cities, villages and townships are home to about 354,000 citizens in urban, suburban, and rural settings. This mix of different settings provides many opportunities for:

  • Agricultural
  • Business
  • Education
  • Home life
  • Recreation

The two largest cities are Ann Arbor and Ypsilanti, homes to two large universities - the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor and Eastern Michigan University in Ypsilanti.

What Does the Word Washtenaw Mean?

There are many legends concerning the name Washtenaw. Some people think it was the name of an Indian who lived near the mouth of the river. Other people think it was the Potawatamie word for large stream or river. Emerson Greenman, a former curator of the museum of anthropology at the University of Michigan, wrote that Washtenaw derived from the Algonquin and meant 'Far Country' with Detroit as the Point of reference. Source: Michigan GenWeb.

Seal of Washtenaw

Symbolism of the Washtenaw County Seal

Lauren Wild, formerly of Saline, created the design which bears the date of Washtenaw County's legal organization, 1826, and three abstract symbols: tassels of wheat for agriculture, a gear for industry, and a lamp of learning with two flames, representing the County's two universities, the University of Michigan and Eastern Michigan University. The logo appears on most of the County's forms, letterheads, web pages, vehicles and publicity material.

Historical Records

The historical records of Washtenaw County are located in the County Clerk/Register of Deeds Office, beginning with the following dates:

  • Births* 1867
  • Circuit Court Files 1828
  • Deaths 1867
  • Elections 1829
  • Land Records 1824
  • Marriages 1827
  • Military Discharges* 1919
  • Supervisors Proceedings 1835

*Confidential except as provided by law.