Ford County, Illinois Genealogy

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

Ford County, Illinois
Map of Illinois highlighting Ford 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: February 17, 1859
County Seat Paxton
Ford County Courthouse.gif
Photo courtesy Illinois Regional Archives Depository (IRAD), Illinois State Archives
Address Ford County, Illinois Courthouse
200 West State Street
Paxton, Illinois 60957
(217) 379-9400

County Organization[edit | edit source]

Known Beginning Dates for Major County Records[1]
Birth* Marriage Death* Court Land Probate Census
1878 1859 1878 1859 1859 1850 1810
*Statewide registration for births and deaths started 1916. General compliance by 1922.

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

Historical Records[edit | edit source]

Governor Thomas Ford.jpg

This county is named for Governor Thomas Ford, its eighth governor.

Description[edit | edit source]

The county was named for Thomas Ford, who served as Governor of Illinois from 1842 to 1846. The county seat is Paxton and the county was organized on 1859. The County is located in the East-central part of the state.[2]

Boundary Changes[edit | edit source]

For animated maps illustrating Illinois county boundary changes, "Rotating Formation Illinois County Boundary Maps" (1790-1869) may be viewed for free at the website.

  • 17 February 1859: Ford County was created from Clark County. [3]
    Note: An earlier attempt to create Holmes County (proposed), on 31 January 1857 in the same general area, was unsuccessful. (Ill. Laws 1859, pub., pp. 29-33) (source:Newberry Library}

Record Loss[edit | edit source]

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

Records and Resources[edit | edit source]

Biography[edit | edit source]

Portrait and Biographical Record of Ford County1892.
History of Ford County, by E.A. Gardner.

Cemeteries[edit | edit source]

Cemeteries of Ford 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]

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

Historical populations
Census Pop.
1860 1,979
1870 9,103 360.0%
1880 15,099 65.9%
1890 17,035 12.8%
1900 18,359 7.8%
1910 17,096 −6.9%
1920 16,466 −3.7%
1930 15,489 −5.9%
1940 15,007 −3.1%
1950 15,901 6.0%
1960 16,606 4.4%
1970 16,382 −1.3%
1980 15,265 −6.8%
1990 14,275 −6.5%
2000 14,241 −0.2%
2010 14,081 −1.1%
Source: "".

Church Records[edit | edit source]

The Farmersville Settlement, by Shirley Hildman Johnson. FHL Book 977.362 Kej

A County History: Ford County History: Ford County, Illinois. by Ford County Historical Society, c. 1984 has a section on church records. FHL book 977.362 D2f

List of Churches and Church Parishes

Court Records[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]

History[edit | edit source]

History of Ford County, Illinois:From it's Earliest Settlement to 1908 :(Ancestry)

Mailing Lists[edit | edit source]

Message Boards[edit | edit source]

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

1885-1890 Deed Record. IRAD-ISU
1888-1897 Chattel Mortgage Extensions. IRAD-ISU
1938-1952 Chattel Morgage Record. IRAD-ISU
Index[edit | edit source]

1860-1941 Chattel Mortgage Index. IRAD-ISU

Available through the Family History Library

1837-1901 Grantor and Grantee Indexes, and Deed Records 1859-1904. FHL film 1401811 first film of eighteen

Online Resources

Library[edit | edit source]

Paxton Carnegie Library 254 S. Market St. |Paxton, Illinois (217)379-3431
Melvin Public Library 102 S. Center St. Melvin, Illinois (217)388-2421
Moyer Library 618 S. Sangamon Ave. Gibson City, Illinois (217)784-5343
Loda Township Library 105 E. Adams St. Loda, Illinois (217)386-2783
Piper City Public Library 39 W. Main Street Piper City, Illinois (815)686-9234
Cullom Memorial Library Inc. 103 Hack Street Cullom, Illinois (815)689-2720
Rankin Public Library 121 S. Main St. Rankin, Illinois (217)397-2133

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
Introduction to Family History Centers

There are no Family History Centers in Ford County.  

The nearest facitlity is:

Champaign Illinois Family History Center
604 Windsor Road
Champaign, Illinois

Maps[edit | edit source]

Neighboring Counties[edit | edit source]

Livingston CountyKankakee CountyIroquois CountyVermilion CountyChampaign CountyMcLean CountyIL FORD.PNG
Click a neighboring county
for more resources

Military[edit | edit source]

For information about using Military records see Illinois Military Records

Civil War[edit | edit source]

Civil War service men from Ford 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 Ford County.

[76th Regiment, Illinois Infantry|76th Regiment, Illinois Infantry]], Company K.
List of Pensioners on the Roll January 1, 1883 (Source: Internet Archives)

World War I[edit | edit source]

World War I Draft Registration Cards, 1917-1918 (Source: $ )

World War II[edit | edit source]

World War II Casualities, Army and Army Air Corps (Source: Access Genealogy)

Naturalization and Citizenship[edit | edit source]

Original naturalization records are held in the office of the County Clerk. See Illinois Naturalization Records for more information about using naturalization records.

The following copies of original records may be accessed through the Family History Library

1859-1906 Naturalization Records.

Online Records

Newspapers[edit | edit source]

Obituaries[edit | edit source]

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

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

Probate Records[edit | edit source]

Online Probate Indexes and Records

Original estates and wills are held in the office of the Circuit Court Clerk. See Illinois Probate Records for more information about using probate records.

1860-1942 Will Record, 1859-1929 Administrator's Record, and 1859-1953 Guardian Record. Ford County Courthouse. FHL film 1401890-1401895

Guardianships[edit | edit source]

Repositories[edit | edit source]

IRAD is a system of Illinois Regional Archives Depositories managed by the Illinois State Archives, housing 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. Illinois State University houses the records for Ford County.

  • County Courthouse

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

  • Illinois Regional Archives Depository (IRAD)

Illinois State Universtiy (ISU)
2016 Warehouse Road Campus
Box 1520
Normal, Illinois 61802
Phone: 309-452-6027

Illinois Regional Archives Depository System

Illinois State University Region

Schools[edit | edit source]

Social Groups Online[edit | edit source]

Societies[edit | edit source]

Taxation[edit | edit source]

1833-1876 Taxable Lands Lists. IRAD-ISU

Vital Records[edit | edit source]

See Illinois Vital Records for more information about Vital records in Illinois. See also How to order Illinois Vital Records or order electronically online.

IDPH Registrar of Vital Records
Room 101 Courthouse
200 West State Street
Paxton, IL 60957

Order Birth and Death Certificates Online

Births[edit | edit source]

1878-1909 Birth Record Index
1878-1901 Birth Records. IRAD-ISU

Available through the Family History Library

1870-1909 Index to Birth Records, Birth Records, 1878-1909 FHL film 1401878 items 2-3

Marriages[edit | edit source]

1805-1985 Illinois, Church Marriages, 1805-1985 at FamilySearch — index
1810–1934 Illinois, County Marriages, 1810-1934 at FamilySearch — index and images
1833-1889 Illinois, Civil Marriages, 1833-1889 at FamilySearch — index
1859-1983 Marriage Record Index. IRAD-ISU. Available throught the Family History Library FHL film 1401876 item3
1859-1927 Marriage Record. IRAD-ISU. Available through the Family History Library FHL|23833|itme|disp=FHL films 1401877 - 1401878

Deaths[edit | edit source]

Available through the Family History Library

Online Resources

Websites[edit | edit source]

Databases Pertinent to Ford County
Local Governmental Records Database
 Name Index to Illinois Local Governments
 Illinois Statewide Marriage Index
Illinois Statewide Death Index, 1916–1950
Illlinois Statewide Death Index, pre-1916
Illinois Public Domain Land Tract Sales Database
Federal Township Plats of Illinois

References[edit | edit source]

  1. Handybook for Genealogists: United States of America, 10th ed. (Draper, Utah: Everton Pub., 2002), Ford 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. Wikipedia contributors, "Ford County," in Wikipedia: the Free Encyclopedia,,_Illinois 04/013/2017.
  3. Handybook for Genealogists: United States of America, 10th ed.; Draper, Utah: Everton Pub., 2002 WorldCat 50140092, FHL Book 973 D27e 2002
  4. Wikipedia contributors, "Ford County, Illinois," in Wikipedia: the Free Encyclopedia,,_Illinois, Last accessed 3 January 2020.