DeKalb County, Illinois Genealogy

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Guide to DeKalb County, Illinois ancestry, family history, and genealogy birth records, marriage records, death records, census records, and military records.

DeKalb County, Illinois
Map of Illinois highlighting DeKalb County
Location in the state of Illinois, United States Genealogy
Map of the U.S. highlighting Illinois
Location of Illinois in the U.S.
Founded: January 4, 1817
County Seat Sycamore
Dekalb County Courthouse.gif
Photo courtesy Illinois Regional Archives Depository (IRAD), Illinois State Archives
Address DeKalb County Courthouse
110 East Sycamore Street
Sycamore, Illinois 60178
(815) 895-7149
Dekalb County Website

County Organization[edit | edit source]

Known Beginning Dates for Major County Records[1]
Birth* Marriage Death* Court Land Probate Census
1878 1837 1878 1850 1837 1850 1810
Statewide registration for births and deaths started 1916. General compliance by 1922.

*Incomplete birth and death records

Digital images of birth, marriage, death and naturalization records are available at the DeKalb County Clerk's DeKalb County Genealogy Online website. There is no cost to search the index, but you must first create an account. There is a fee to access images.

For further information about where other records for DeKalb County are kept, see the DeKalb County Courthouse page.

Historical Facts[edit | edit source]

Johann de Kalb.JPG

DeKalb County is named for Johann de Kalb who was a German baron who fought on the side of the Americans during the Revolution.

Description[edit | edit source]

The county was named for Johann DeKalb, a German baron, who served in the Colonies during the Revolution, and was mortally wounded at Camden, South Carolina in 1780. The county seat is Sycamore and the county was organized on March 4, 1837.[2] The County is located in the North-central part of the state.[3]

Boundary Changes[edit | edit source]

Prior to County Formation

County Formation and After

For more information see Origin and Evolution of Illinois Counties or DeKalb County Fact Sheet (Illinois State Archives). For interactive county boundary maps see Illinois County Boundaries, 1790-Present, Illinois Historical Counties, or For animated maps illustrating Illinois county boundary changes, "Rotating Formation Illinois County Boundary Maps" (1790-1869) may be viewed for free at the website.

Record Loss[edit | edit source]

There is no known history of courthouse disasters in this county.

Records and Resources[edit | edit source]

For a list of record loss in Illinois counties see: Illinois Counties with Burned Courthouses

Biography[edit | edit source]

The Historical Encyclopedia of Illinois has a DeKalb County edition. This includes a state history section along with a county history and biographies of DeKalb County residents. See the wiki article for links to available copies and indexes.

  • DeKalb County veterans listed in "The Voters and Tax-payers of DeKalb County, Illinois." (Civil War) Courtesy of Illinois Trails.

Cemeteries[edit | edit source]

Cemeteries of DeKalb County, Illinois online and in print
Tombstone Transcriptions Online
Tombstone Transcriptions in Print (Often more complete)
List of Cemeteries in the County
See Illinois Cemeteries for more information

Census[edit | edit source]

Federal[edit | edit source]

For tips on accessing census records online, see Illinois Census.

Historical populations
Census Pop.
1840 1,697
1850 7,540 344.3%
1860 19,086 153.1%
1870 23,265 21.9%
1880 26,768 15.1%
1890 27,066 1.1%
1900 31,756 17.3%
1910 33,457 5.4%
1920 31,339 −6.3%
1930 32,644 4.2%
1940 34,388 5.3%
1950 40,781 18.6%
1960 51,714 26.8%
1970 71,654 38.6%
1980 74,624 4.1%
1990 77,932 4.4%
2000 88,969 14.2%
2010 105,160 18.2%
Source: "".

State[edit | edit source]

1840 Pensioners[edit | edit source]

  • A Census of Pensioners for Revolutionary or Military Services: With their Names, Ages, and Places of Residence, as Returned by the Marshalls of the Several Judicial Districts, Under the Act for Taking the Sixth Census. Washington, D.C., 1841. FHL 973 X2pc 1840; FHL 2321; digital version at Google Books. [See Illinois, DeKalb County on page 186.]

Church[edit | edit source]

List of Churches and Church Parishes

Church records may contain birth, marriage and death information. Membership lists can show family and neighbors who worshipped together.

The Cornsilk, the Genealogical Society of DeKalb's newsletter, has histories and abstracted records of many early DeKalb church congregations. Explore an online index to the Cornsilk courtesy of the Genealogical Society of DeKalb County, Joiner History Room.

See Periodicals below to explore ways to access copies of Cornsilk.

In addtion, the Illinois State Historical Society Journal has also published articles about churches in DeKalb County. See the wiki page for Illinois Periodicals for more information about this journal.

  • Davy, Harriet Wilson. From Oxen to Jets: A History of DeKalb County 1835–1963. Illinois: DeKalb County Board of Supervisors, 1963. This history relates church names, organization dates, and reorganization information, including congregations which no longer exist. Other Libraries FHL Book 977.328 H2f


  • [1865–1900] St John Catholic Church, Somonauk, DeKalb County. Marriages. Illinois State Genealogical Society Quarterly 24:201, Winter 1992.
  • [1904] St. Mary's Catholic Pew Holders, 1904, Sycamore. Cornsilk. Sycamore, Illinois. Sep 1981. Vol 6 Iss 6.


  • Duncan, Don V. History of First Congregational Church, United Church of Christ, DeKalb, Illinois, 1854-1984. DeKalb, IL : Johnson Printing, 1984. Other Libraries (WorldCat)


  • 100 years: An Inspiration for the Future: Hillcrest Covenant Church, 1883-1983. DeKalb, Illinois: Published for the Centennial Celebration, 1983. Other Libraries (WorldCat) Congregation formerly called Evangelical Mission Covenant and Evangelical Covenant.


  • The Centenary of the First Lutheran Church, DeKalb, Illinois 1858–1958. DeKalb, Ill.: The Congregation, 1958. Other Libraries (WorldCat)


  • [1882] Free Methodist Church Baptisms Cornsilk. Sycamore, Illinois: Winter 2000. Vol 19 Iss 4.
  • 90th Anniversary, 1854-1944, May 7-14, 1944, First Methodist Church DeKalb, Illinois. DeKalb, Illinois: 1944. Other Libraries (WorldCat}


  • [1854–1858] "Sandwich Presbyterian Church Records", Cornsilk, Vol. 8 Iss 2, Summer 1989; Vol 10, Iss 1, Spring 1991.

Court[edit | edit source]

Original court records are held in the office of the Circuit Court Clerk. See Illinois Court Records for more information about using court records.

Directories[edit | edit source]

Ethnic Research[edit | edit source]

African American[edit | edit source]

The following have information concerning African American research.

Genealogy[edit | edit source]

Genealogy Files of Dekalb County Families. Courtesy of USGenweb.

Mailing Lists[edit | edit source]

Message Boards[edit | edit source]

History[edit | edit source]

  • Boies, Henry L. History of DeKalb County, Illinois. Chicago: O.P. Bassett, Printer, 1868. Digital version at Ancestry ($).
  • Portrait and Biographical Album of DeKalb County, Illinois: Containing Full-page Portraits and Biographical Sketches of Prominent and Representative Citizens of the County: Together with Portraits and Biographies of All the Governors of Illinois, and of the Presidents of the United States: Also Containing a History of the County, from Its Earliest Settlement to the Present Time. Chicago: Chapman Bros., 1885. Digital version at Ancestry ($); another Ancestry ($) version.
  • Gross, Lewis M. Past and Present of DeKalb County, Illinois. Chicago: Pioneer Pub. Co., 1907. Digital version at Ancestry ($).

The Historical Encyclopedia of Illinois has a DeKalb County edition. This includes a state history section along with a county history and biographies of DeKalb County residents. See the wiki article for links to available copies and indexes.

Land and Property[edit | edit source]

Original land records are held in the office of the County Clerk . See Illinois Land and Property for more information about using land records.

The following abstracts and copies of original records may be accessed online, through the Family History Library or the Illinois Regional Archives Depository (IRAD) located at Northern Illinois University - search for DeKalb County records. For information on how to use IRAD see the NIU IRAD Wiki page.

Copies of Original Records


Online Resources

Maps[edit | edit source]

Winnebago CountyBoone CountyMcHenry CountyOgle CountyLee CountyLaSalle CountyKendall CountyKane CountyIL DEKALB.PNG
Click a neighboring county
for more resources

Military[edit | edit source]

Civil War[edit | edit source]

Civil War service men from DeKalb County served in various regiments. Men often joined a company (within a regiment) that originated in their county. Listed below are companies or regiments that were formed from men of DeKalb County.

- 8th Regiment, Illinois Cavalry, Companies B and K.
- 10th Regiment, Illinois Infantry (3 months, 1861), Company C.
- 10th Regiment, Illinois Infantry, Company H.
- 13th Regiment, Illinois Infantry, Companies E and F.
- 14th Regiment, Illinois Cavalry, Company L.
- 17th Regiment, Illinois Cavalry, Company C.
- 42nd Regiment, Illinois Infantry, Company K.
- 52nd Regiment, Illinois Infantry, Company C.
- 55th Regiment, Illinois Infantry, Company B.
- 58th Regiment, Illinois Infantry, Companies C and E.
- 105th Regiment, Illinois Infantry, Companies A, C, E, G, H and K.
- 132nd Regiment, Illinois Infantry (100 days, 1864), Companies F and K.
- 147th Regiment, Illinois Infantry, Company F.
- 156th Regiment, Illinois Infantry, Company H.

  • List of Pensioners, 1883. Lists certificate no., name of pensioner, address, pension cause, monthly rate, and date of original allowance. Courtesy of Illinois Trails.
  • DeKalb County veterans listed in "The Voters and Tax-payers of DeKalb County, Illinois." (Civil War) Courtesy of Illinois Trails.

World War II[edit | edit source]

Naturalization and Citizenship[edit | edit source]

  • DeKalb County’s Online Genealogy allows free index searches of naturalizations, births, marriages, and deaths from 1837 when the county was created. Searches can be done for naturalizations 100 years or older, births 75 years or older, marriages 50 years or older, and deaths 20 years or older. A copy of the original records can be order online for a fee.

Online Records

Newspapers[edit | edit source]

Obituaries[edit | edit source]

Periodicals[edit | edit source]

The Cornsilk, the Genealogical Society of DeKalb's newsletter, contains abstracted local records and information about research in DeKalb County. Explore an online index to the Cornsilk courtesy of the Genealogical Society of DeKalk County, Joiner History Room.

Cornsilk articles can be acceessed by several different methods.

  1. Find a copy at a library near you. Other libraries (WorldCat).
  2. Article copies can be ordered through PERSI
  3. Volumes 1–8 are available on film through the Family History Library. Book copies are availalbe only at the Family History Library in Salt Lake City. FHL Film 1941080 Items 26 - 41; 1941081 Items 1 - 16 ; Book 977.328 D25c

Places and Localities[edit | edit source]

Populated Places[edit | edit source]

For a complete list of populated places, including small neighborhoods and suburbs, visit Hometown Locator. The following are the most historically and genealogically relevant populated places in this county:[4]

Unincorporated communities
Ghost towns

‡This populated place also has portions in an adjacent county or counties

Probate Records[edit | edit source]

Online Probate Indexes and Records

Repositories[edit | edit source]

  • County Courthouse

County records are most often kept at the County Courthouse or another local repository. For further information about where the records for DeKalb County are kept, see the DeKalb County Courthouse page.

  • Historical and Genealogical Society

See Societies, for the DeKalb County Historical–Genealogical Society (Joiner History Room). The society has a research room for the public.

Family History Centers[edit | edit source]

Family History Center and Affiliate Library Locator map - search for local Family History Centers or Affiliate Libraries

  • Family History Centers provide one-on-one assistance, free access to center-only databases, and to premium genealogical websites.
  • FamilySearch Affiliate Libraries have access to most center-only databases, but may not always have full services normally provided by a family history center.

Local Centers and Affiliate Libraries

  • Illinois Regional Archives Depository (IRAD)

The Illinois Regional Archives Depositories (IRAD), managed by the Illinois State Archives, houses the archival records of local Illinois counties, townships, municipalities and school districts. The seven Regional Depositories are housed on state university campuses scattered throughout Illinois. The Northern Illinois University (IRAD-NIU) holds the records for DeKalb County. Learn more about finding and using their records.

Illinois Regional Archives Depository
c/o Regional History Center
Founders Memorial Library, Room 400
Northern Illinois University
DeKalb, IL 60115
Telephone: (815) 753-1807
  • Public Libraries

Cortland Community Library
63 S. Somonauk Rd.
Cortland, IL 60112
Phone: 1–815-756-7274


DeKalb Public Library
309 Oak Street
DeKalb, Illinois 60115
Phone: 1–815-756-9568

Genoa Public Library
232 West Main Street
Genoa, IL 60135
Phone: 1–815–784-2627

Hinkley Public Library District
100 N. Maple Street
Hinckley, IL 60520

Malta Township Public Library

203 E. Adams St.
Malta, Illinois 60150
Phone: 1–815–825-2525

Somonauk Public Library District
700 E. LaSalle Street
Somonauk, Illinois 60552
Phone: 1–815-498-2440

This library holds local cemetery records and plots, marriage and death records, The Somonauk Reveille on microfilm, and much more. A microfilm reader-printer is available for making copies.

Sycamore Public Library
103 East State Street
Sycamore, Illinois 60178

Social Groups Online[edit | edit source]

Societies[edit | edit source]

Taxation[edit | edit source]

Vital Records[edit | edit source]

DeKalb County’s Online Genealogy allows free index searches of births, marriages, deaths and naturalizations from 1837 when the county was created. Searches can be done for births 75 years or older, marriages 50 years or older, deaths 20 years or older, and naturalizations 100 years or older. A copy of the original records can be order online for a fee.

See Gotoarrow.png Illinois Vital Records for more information about Vital records in Illinois. Vital records consist of birth, death, marriage and divorce records. See also How to order Illinois Vital Records or order electronically online.

Original birth and death certificates recorded 1878–1916 are kept by the DeKalb County Clerk while those recorded after 1916 are kept by the Illinois Department of Public Health with a copy to the County Clerk. The county clerk does not have birth records after 1916. Original marriage records are kept by the County Clerk from 1837 to the present. Original divorce records are generally in the office of the Circuit Court Clerk.

No birth, marriage or death records for DeKalb county are held at the Illinois Regional Archives Depository (IRAD) at Northern Illinois University, except for the Birth and Death Reporting Accounts 1902–1903. See below for other sources of vital records copies, indexes and abstracts.

Births[edit | edit source]

The following indexes to birth records are available:

  • 1878–1903 Genealogical Society of DeKalb County, Illinois. Index to Birth Record Books of DeKalb County, Illinois. Sycamore, Illinois: Genealogical Society of DeKalb County, Illinois, 198-? FHL Book 977.328 V22i v. 1-2
  • 1837–1890 Marshall, Florence Houghton. Some Early Births in DeKalb County, Ill. and Vicinity, 1837-1890.S.l.: s.n., 1987. Other LibrariesFHL Book 977.328 V28m
  • 1902–1903 Birth and Death Reporting Accounts 1902–1903. IRAD–NIU.

Marriages[edit | edit source]

Deaths[edit | edit source]

Online Resources

Websites[edit | edit source]

References[edit | edit source]

  1. Handybook for Genealogists: United States of America, 10th ed. (Draper, Utah: Everton Pub., 2002), DeKalb County, Illinois. Page 192-199 At various libraries (WorldCat); FHL Book 973 D27e 2002; Alice Eichholz, ed. Ancestry’s Red Book: American State, County, and Town Sources, Third ed. (Provo, Utah: Ancestry, 2004), 194-197.
  2. Genealogy Trails History Group, “DeKalb County, Illinois Genealogy and History”, accessed 04/12/2017.
  3. Wikipedia contributors, "DeKalb County," in Wikipedia: the Free Encyclopedia,,_Illinois accessed 04/012/2017.
  4. Wikipedia contributors, "DeKalb County, Illinois," in Wikipedia: the Free Encyclopedia,,_Illinois, Last accessed 19 December 2019.
  5. Genealogical Society of Utah, Parish and Vital Records List (July 1998). Microfiche. Digital version at