Jo Daviess County, Illinois Genealogy

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

Jo Daviess County, Illinois
Map of Illinois highlighting Jo Daviess 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, 1827
County Seat Galena
JoDaviess County Courthouse.gif
Photo courtesy Illinois Regional Archives Depository (IRAD), Illinois State Archives
Address Jo Daviess County Courthouse
330 North Bench Street
Galena, Illinois 61036
(815) 777-0161
Jo Daviess County Website

County Organization[edit | edit source]

Known Beginning Dates for Major County Records[1]
Birth* Marriage Death* Court Land Probate Census
1877 1830 1877 1850 1828 1830 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 Jo Daviess County are kept, see the Jo Daviess County Courthouse page.

Historical Facts[edit | edit source]


Jo Daviess County is named for Joseph Hamilton Daviess who was a commander during the Battle of Tippecanoe.

Jo Daviess County is located in the Northwest corner of the Illinois border with the Mississippi River and Iowa to the west and Wisconsin to the north.

Description[edit | edit source]

The county was named for Maj. Joseph Hamilton Daveiss, United States District Attorney for Kentucky, who was killed in 1811 at the Battle of Tippecanoe. The county seat is Galena and the county was organized on 1827. The County is located in the Northwest 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.

Prior to County Formation

County Formation and After

For more information see Origin and Evolution of Illinois Counties or Jo Daviess County Fact Sheet (Illinois State Archives). For interactive county boundary maps see Illinois County Boundaries, 1790-Present, Illinois Historical Counties

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]

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

Cemeteries[edit | edit source]

Cemeteries of Jo Daviess 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]

Historical populations
Census Pop.
1830 2,111
1840 6,180 192.8%
1850 18,604 201.0%
1860 27,325 46.9%
1870 27,820 1.8%
1880 27,528 −1.0%
1890 25,101 −8.8%
1900 24,533 −2.3%
1910 22,657 −7.6%
1920 21,917 −3.3%
1930 20,235 −7.7%
1940 19,989 −1.2%
1950 21,459 7.4%
1960 21,821 1.7%
1970 21,766 −0.3%
1980 23,520 8.1%
1990 21,821 −7.2%
2000 22,289 2.1%
2010 22,691 1.8%
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, Jo Daviess County on page 187.]

Church History and Records[edit | edit source]

List of Churches and Church Parishes

Church records may give birth, death and marriage information. It is usually best to locate church records with a search at a local level such as the city, town, or village.

  • USGenWeb has links for Jo Daviess County church histories and records, including:

Church of the Brethren

  • 1856, 1862, 1871, 1877, 1882 History of the Waddams Grove Church.... Photoreproduction of original published: Elgin, Ill.: Brethren Pub. House, 1910. Includes a list of members from Stephenson and Jo Daviess counties, Illinois, and nearby Wisconsin counties. FHL book 977.333/W1 K2h


Churches in 1878[edit | edit source]

Galena The Methodist Church
The First Presbyterian Church
Episcopal Church
The Free German Evangelical Protestant Church
St Matthew's Evangelical Lutheran Church
First German Presbyterian Church
St Mary's German Catholic Church
African Methodist Episcopal Church
German Methodish Church
The First Baptist Church
The South Presbyterian Church of Galena

Apple River Methodist

Berreman United Brethren Church

Council Hill

Derinda The Albright Evangelical Church
The First German Lutheran Church
The Second German Lutheran Church
The Methodist Episcopal Church

Dunleith Catholic

Elizabeth Methodist

Guilford Baptist

Hanover The Methodist Episcopal Church
The Presbyterian Church
The United Presbyterian Church

Menominee Catholic

Nora The Nora Methodist Church
Wesleyan Methodist Church
The German Baptist Church

Pleasant Valley Catholic
Age-to-Come Adventist Denominations

Rice Methodist Episcopal


Scales Mound Catholic
The Methodist Church
The German Presbyterian Church

Stockton Stockton Centre Church

Thompson The Salem Methodist Episcopal Church
The German Presbyterian Church

Vinegar Hill Catholic
Methodist Episcopal

Ward's Grove Methodist
Free Will Baptist Church

Warren Methodist
The Free Will Baptist Church
The Presbyterian Church

Woodbine The German Methodist Church [4]

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.

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

Copies of Original Records

Ethnic Research[edit | edit source]

African American[edit | edit source]

The following have information concerning African American research.

Genealogy[edit | edit source]

Handcock, Nora I. Allenheads Lead Miners in America. History with the names of Miners that went to America in 1849, on the ship The Guy Mannering. Picture of the ship included. Many headed for Galena, or Rockford Illinois, Jamestown, San Francisco, Irish Hollow, one family moving on to Ballarat, Victoria, Australia. Names of Miners, Samuel and Maria Vickers, Jacob Nattrass, Joseph & Phoebe Reed, John and Hannah Graham, Thomas and Maria Chatt, the Reed and Lee families, John & Ann (followed later) Hewitson, Thomas Foster, George Philipson, William Dawson, Thomas Noble, Jacob Peart, Henry Bell, Andrew Muir, John and Ann Lee, John Stevenson. Dates 1832-1870 and is found in the Northumberland & Durham Family History Society Journal, vol.37 no.4, pages 28-30, Family History Library Ref. 942.8 B2jo, vol. 37 no.4

History[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.

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 Jo Daviess County records. For information on how to use IRAD see the NIU IRAD Wiki page.

Copies of Original Records

  • 1825-1901 Deed Index IRAD-NIU
  • 1828-1902 Deed Record IRAD-NIU
  • 1828-1942 Jo Daviess County, Illinois miscellaneous records, 1828-1942. {{FHL|839379|item|disp=FHL Film 2132379
  • 1829-1902 Deeds FHL Film 1579645 Items 1-3 First of 46 films
  • 1852-1855 Swamp Land Record IRAD-NIU
  • 1853-1883 Applications and proof of preemption purchases of railroad land, Civil War discharges, and other records, 1853-1883. FHL Film 1602733 item 5 – 1602734 Including list of swamp lands, with township maps, estray records and stallion's register.


  • 1893 North West Publishing Company, Plat book of Jo Daviess County, Illinois, 1893 (Salt Lake City, Utah:Filmed by the Genealogical Society of Utah, 1988.) FHL film 1421855 item 5
  • 1986 Rockford Map Publishers, Land atlas and plat book, Jo Daviess County, Illinois, 1986 (Rockford, Illinois : Rockford Map Publishers, c1986.) Other Libraries; FHL Book 977.3343 E7j

Online Resources

Maps[edit | edit source]

Grant CountyLafayette CountyDubuque CountyJackson CountyStephenson CountyCarroll CountyIL JO DAVIESS.PNG
Click a neighboring county
for more resources

Military[edit | edit source]

Civil War[edit | edit source]

Civil War service men from Jo Daviess 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 Jo Daviess County.

- 12th Regiment, Illinois Infantry, Company F.
- 12th Regiment, Illinois Infantry (3 months, 1861), Company F.
- 15th Regiment, Illinois Infantry, Company E.
- 17th Regiment, Illinois Cavalry, Company F.
- 19th Regiment, Illinois Infantry, Company I.
- 21st Regiment, Illinois Infantry, Companies B and H.
- 45th Regiment, Illinois Infantry, Companies A, B, C, D and E.
- 90th Regiment, Illinois Infantry, Company B.
- 96th Regiment, Illinois Infantry, Companies A, E, F, H, I, and K.
- 118th Regiment, Illinois Infantry, Company I.
- 136th Regiment, Illinois Infantry (100 days, 1864), Company I.
- 140th Regiment, Illinois Infantry (100 days, 1864), Company C.
- 142nd Regiment, Illinois Infantry (100 days, 1864), Companies B and E.
- 153rd Regiment, Illinois Infantry (1 year, 1865), Company D.

World War I[edit | edit source]

Naturalization and Citizenship[edit | edit source]

Online Records

Newspapers and Obituaries[edit | edit source] ($) has historical newspapers available on-line. Their database has Freeport City newspapers from the late 1800's and early 1900's that covered local news on residents from Jo Daviess County. The Rock Island Public Library provides free access to this database at its library.

Places / 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:[5]

Unincorporated communities
Census-designated places
Ghost towns

Neighboring Counties[edit | edit source]

Poorhouse[edit | edit source]

JoDaviess County Almshouse Registers Index, 1846-1938, courtesy: Illinois State Archives

Probate Records[edit | edit source]

Online Probate Indexes and Records

An unspecified number of Jo Daviess County probate records are available in Illinois, Probate Records, 1819-1970.

An Index to Estates and Wills 1829 to 1875 are available online, courtesy: ILGenWeb

Repositories[edit | edit source]

County Courthouse[edit | edit source]

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

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)[edit | edit source]

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 JoDaviess 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[edit | edit source]

Although there are other public libraries in Jo Daviess County, the Galena Public Library District's Alfred Mueller Historical Collections Room
provides collections of particular interest to genealogists.

Galena Public Library District
601 S. Beach Street
Galena, IL 61036
Telephone: (815) 777-0200

Social Groups Online[edit | edit source]

Societies[edit | edit source]

Taxation[edit | edit source]

Vital Records[edit | edit source]

See also How to order Illinois Vital Records or order electronically online.

The county clerk maintains the following records:

Births- 1877 to present
Marriages-1830 to present
Deaths-1877 to present

Birth[edit | edit source]

Marriage[edit | edit source]

Death[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), Jo Daviess 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, “Jo Daviess County, Illinois Genealogy and History”, accessed 04/17/2017.
  3. The History of Jo Daviess County Illinois. (Chicago: H F Kett and Company, Time Building, 1878), pp 498-508.
  4. The History of Jo Daviess County Illinois. (Chicago: H F Ketts and Company, Times Building, 1878), pp 547-611.
  5. Wikipedia contributors, "Jo Daviess County, Illinois," in Wikipedia: the Free Encyclopedia,,_Illinois, Last accessed 27 February 2020.