Ford County, Illinois Genealogy

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United States
Ford County

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
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, Illinois State Archives
Address Ford County, Illinois Courthouse
200 West State Street
Paxton, Illinois 60957
(217) 379-9400

County Organization

Ford County's civil records start the following years:

Beginning Dates for Ford County Records
Birth Marriage Death Census Land Probate
1878 1859 1878 1860 1834 1850

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

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


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.[1]

Boundary Changes

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. [2]
    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

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

Records and Resources


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


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


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

Historical populations
Census Pop.
IL Counties 1900-1990

Church Records

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

Court Records

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


Ethnic Research

African American

The following have information concerning African American research.



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

Mailing Lists

Message Boards

Land and Property

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

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


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

Family history centers provide one-on-one assistance and free access to premium genealogical websites. In addition, many centers have free how-to genealogy classes. See family history center for more information. Search the online FHC directory for a nearby family history center. 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


Neighboring Counties

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


For information about using Military records see Illinois Military Records

Civil War

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

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

World War II

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

Naturalization and Citizenship

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 Published in Ford County (Source: Illinois Newspaper Project)

Chronicling America Ford County (Source: The Library of Congress)

Cataloged Titles (Source: Illinois Newspaper Project)


Probate Records

Online Probate 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



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


Social Groups Online


Ford County Historical Society Facebook Home


1833-1876 Taxable Lands Lists. IRAD-ISU

Vital Records

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


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


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


1850-1880 Illinois Mortality Schedules, 1850-1880 at FamilySearch — index and images
1878-1915 Death Record Index. IRAD-ISU
1878-1901 Death Record. IRAD-ISU

Available through the Family History Library

1878-1901 Index to Deaths, Register of Deaths, 1878-1901 FHL film 1401878 items 4-5


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


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