U.S. Customs Service (Grand Haven, MI) Records

Identifier: GLMS-0089

Collection Overview

Scope and Contents

The six volumes in this collection partially document the activity of the U.S. Customs House in Grand Haven, Michigan, for the late 19th and early 20th centuries. The daily financial status of the agency is reflected in the Daily Record of Balances (Volumes 1-2), a ledger (Volume 4), and a brief listing of Tonnage Duties (Volume 5). Entrance and clearances (Volume 3) provides a record of vessels entering and leaving the harbor during 1915-1919. A final volume detailing vessels seized for violation of customs laws (Volume 6) covers 1867-1906.


  • 1866-1919


2 Cubic Feet (6 volumes)


Agency History

The United States Customs Service, created by an act of July 31, 1789, became part of the Department of the Treasury when that Department was established in September of 1789. The service has been responsible for the enforcement of numerous laws and regulations pertaining to the import and export of merchandise, collection of tonnage taxes, control of the entrance and clearance of coastwise and fishing trades, and the protection of passengers. A Bureau of Customs was established March 3, 1927, to supervise these activities and in 1942 it assumed the responsibilities of the Bureau of Marine Inspection and Navigation relating to the registering, enrolling, licensing, and admeasurement of merchant vessels. This responsibility was assigned to the Coast Guard in 1967. The act that established the Customs Service in 1789 also provided for the creation of collection districts in various coastal, river, Great Lakes, and inland ports. A Collector of Customs in each district was responsible for the enforcement of all rules and regulations including the protection of American seamen and passengers and the forwarding of basic data on immigration, imports, and exports. A Naval officer in each district, coordinate in rank with the Collector, was required to keep separate accounts and copies of all manifests and entries and to countersign certain of the daily record of all vessel arrivals and clearances, and was assisted by inspectors, weighers, and gaugers in the collection and payment of bounty allowances and fees and the admeasurement of foreign vessels for tonnage duties.

Conditions Governing Access

No known access restrictions.

Conditions Governing Use

Collection is in the public domain.

Language of Materials

Materials in English.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

The Grand Haven, MI, customs records were transferred to the HCGL by Scott Peters via accessions in 1984 and 1990.



Guide to the U.S. Customs Service (Grand Haven, MI) records
Mark Sprang
May 2019
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note