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Lee County, Illinois Genealogy

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

Lee County, Illinois
Boundary map of Lee County, Illinois
Map of the U.S. highlighting Illinois
Location of Illinois in the U.S.
Founded: February 27, 1839
County Seat Dixon
Lee County Courthouse.gif
Photo courtesy Illinois Regional Archives Depository, Illinois State Archives
Address Lee County Courthouse
P.O. Box 329
Dixon, IL 61021
Lee County Website

County Organization[edit | edit source]

Known Beginning Dates for Major County Records[1]
Birth* Marriage Death* Court Land Probate Census
1858 1839 1877 1840 1838 1839 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 Lee County are kept, see the Lee County Courthouse page.

Historical Facts[edit | edit source]

Richard Henry Lee

Lee County is named for Richard Henry Lee who was one of the signers of the Declaration of Independence.

Parent County[edit | edit source]

  • 1839--Lee County was created 27 February 1839 from Ogle County.  County seat:  Dixon [2]

Description[edit | edit source]

The county was named for Lighthorse Harry Lee, officer in the Revolutionary War, or Richard Henry Lee, member of the Continental Congress. The county seat is Dixon and the county was organized on February 27, 1839. The County is located in the North central part of the state.[3]

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.

Record Loss[edit | edit source]

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

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:[4]

Unincorporated communities

Neighboring Counties[edit | edit source]

Records and Resources[edit | edit source]

Biography[edit | edit source]

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

Cemeteries[edit | edit source]

Cemeteries of Lee, 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

Census[edit | edit source]

Historical populations
Census Pop.
1840 2,035
1850 5,292 160.0%
1860 17,651 233.5%
1870 27,171 53.9%
1880 27,491 1.2%
1890 26,187 −4.7%
1900 29,894 14.2%
1910 27,750 −7.2%
1920 28,004 0.9%
1930 32,329 15.4%
1940 34,604 7.0%
1950 36,451 5.3%
1960 38,749 6.3%
1970 37,947 −2.1%
1980 36,328 −4.3%
1990 34,392 −5.3%
2000 36,062 4.9%
2010 36,031 −0.1%
Source: "".

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.


  • Saylor, E. C., et al. Church Records Greenville, Friedens, Wellersburg, Miscellaneous Years, Somerset, Pennsylvania. Salt Lake City, Utah: Filmed by the Genealogical Society of Utah, 1957. Microfilm of a transcript in a day book of a variety of Lutheran records, including some localities in Will County, Illinois. FHL film 22058
  • Wagner, Carl Louis. Records Kept by Carl Louis Wagner, Lutheran Minister, 1920-1965. Salt Lake City, Utah: Filmed by the Genealogical Society of Utah, 1978. Contains baptisms, confirmations, funerals and weddings in several locations, including Dixon and Amboy in Lee County. FHL film 1036647 Item 1


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.

  • 1840-1940 Circuit Court Case Files IRAD-NIU; search for Lee County Records. (Learn more about IRAD.)
  • 1840-1934 Index to Circuit Court Case Files (Common Law) IRAD-NIU; search for Lee County Records. (Learn more about IRAD.)

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]

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 Lee County records. For information on how to use IRAD see the IRAD - Northern Illinois University NIU IRAD Wiki page.

Online Resources

  • 1800s-Present - Use the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) Land Patent Index to obtain original federal land transfer records including homestead, military warrants, and cash entry patents. These records help a research establish location and lead to National Archives' records which may include genealogical information. Earlier land transfer records are housed at the National Archives.
  • Illinois Public Land Purchase Records This record extract includes over 538,000 land sales from the 19th Century. Each entry includes the purchaser's name, purchase date, number of acres, price per acre, and in some cases the purchaser's sex and residence. Available at ($)

Copies of Original Records

  • 1856-1881 Chattel Mortgage Record IRAD-NIU

Additional Resources

Additional resources for Lee County land and property may be found online in the FamilySearch Catalog. Online microfilm are indicated by the camera icon in the catalog entry. Copies of books found in the FamilySearch Catalog may be found in WorldCat catalog and ordered from your local library through interlibrary loan. Explore how to search the FamilySearch Catalog and the Worldcat Online Catalog.

Maps[edit | edit source]

Carroll CountyOgle CountyDeKalb CountyLaSalle CountyBureau CountyWhiteside CountyIL LEE.PNG
Click a neighboring county
for more resources

Military[edit | edit source]

Civil War[edit | edit source]

Civil War service men from Lee 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 Lee County.

- 7th Regiment, Illinois Cavalry, Company C (Also known as Morgan's Escort, Palmer's Escort, Smith's Escort).
- 10th Regiment, Illinois Infantry, Company G.
- 13th Regiment, Illinois Infantry, Companies A and C.
- 34th Regiment, Illinois Infantry, Companies C and D.
- 89th Regiment, Illinois Infantry, Company I.
- 140th Regiment, Illinois Infantry (100 days, 1864), Company E.

Naturalization[edit | edit source]

Online Records

Newspapers and Obituaries[edit | edit source]

Probate Records[edit | edit source]

Online Probate Records

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 Lee County are kept, see the Lee County Courthouse page.

Family History Center[edit | edit source]

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 Libraries

Family History Centers (FHCs) are branches of the Family History Library in Salt Lake City, Utah (United States) and are located all over the world. Their goal is to provide resources to assist you in the research and study of your genealogy.

You may search your address for a center near you on the FamilySearch site. The following center serves Lee County:

Sterling Illinois Family History Center
2709 N 16th Avenue
Sterling, Illinois 61081
Telephone: (815) 625-1229

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 Lee 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]

Dixon Public Library
221 S. Hennepin Avenue
Dixon, IL 61021
Telephone: (815) 284-7261
Winifred Knox Memorial Library
112 South Elm St.
Franklin Grove, IL 61031
Telephone: (815) 456-2823
Mills and Petrie Memorial Library and Gymnasium
704 North First Street
Ashton, IL 61006
Telephone: (815) 453-2213
Pankhurst Memorial Library
3 South Jefferson Avenue
Amboy, IL 61310
Telephone: (815) 857-3925
Paw Paw Public Library District
362 Chicago Road
P.O. Box 60
Paw Paw, IL 61353
Telephone: (815) 627-9396

Research Center[edit | edit source]

Lee County Historical and Genealogical Society's Research Center holdings include the following: burial records for all cemeteries in Lee County, census records, microfilm of the Amboy News, The Amboy Times - Journal, The Ashton Gazette 1895-1945, The Ashton Press 1889, The Ashton Sentinel 1873-1887, The Black Hawk Courier, 1911, The Dixon Daily News, The Dixon Daily Star, The Dixon Daily Sun, The Dixon Evening Telegraph, The Dixon Sun, The Dixon Star, The Franklin Grove Reporter, The Lee County Times (PawPaw), The Lee County Times (Amboy), and The West Brooklyn News. It also includes land records, local histories, church records, and more.

Lee County Historical and Genealogical Society
Rita Welsh Memorial Library and Stella Grobe Research Center
113 S. Hennepin Ave.
Dixon, Illinois 61021
Telephone: (815) 284-1134

Taxation[edit | edit source]

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.

Vital records consist of birth, death, marriage and divorce records. Original birth and death certificates recorded until the year 1916 are kept by the Lee County Clerk while those recorded after 1916 are kept by the Illinois Department of Public Health with a copy to the County Clerk. Original marriage records are usually kept by the County Clerk from the establishment of the county to the present. Original divorce records are generally in the office of the Circuit Court Clerk.

Birth Records[edit | edit source]

Marriage Records[edit | edit source]

Online Resources

Death Records[edit | edit source]

Online Resources

Copies of original Death Records

Additional Resources[edit | edit source]

Additional resources for Lee County births, marriages and deaths may be found in the Illinois, Ogle – Vital Records, topic page of the FamilySearch Catalog . Online microfilm are indicated by the camera icon in the catalog entry. Copies of books found in the FamilySearch Catalog may be found in WorldCat catalog and ordered from your local library through interlibrary loan. Explore how to search the FamilySearch Catalog and the Worldcat Online Catalog.

Websites[edit | edit source]

References[edit | edit source]

  1. Handybook for Genealogists: United States of America, 10th ed. (Draper, Utah: Everton Pub., 2002), Lee 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. The Handybook for Genealogists: United States of America, 10th ed. (Draper, UT: Everton Publishers, 2002), 195. (FHL Collection Ref Book 973 D27e 2002). WorldCat entry.
  3. Wikipedia contributors, "Lee County," in Wikipedia: the Free Encyclopedia,,_Illinois 04/17/2017.
  4. Wikipedia contributors, "Lee County, Illinois," in Wikipedia: the Free Encyclopedia,,_Illinois, accessed 19 March 2020.