Williamson County, Illinois Genealogy

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Williamson County

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


Williamson County, Illinois
Map of Illinois highlighting Williamson County
Location in the state of Illinois
Map of the U.S. highlighting Illinois
Location of Illinois in the U.S.
Founded: February 28, 1839
County Seat Marion
Williamson County Courthouse.gif
Address Williamson County Courthouse
200 West Jefferson Street
Marion, IL 62959
(618) 997-1301
Williamson County Website

Williamson County Organization

Williamson County's civil records start the following years:

                                     Beginning Dates for Williamson County Records
Birth Marriage Death Census Land Probate
1877 1839 1877 1840 1818 1839

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

1910 Panorama View of Public Square, Marion, Illinois

Historical Facts

Williamson County, Illinois is named for Williamson County, Tennessee because of the many settlers who originated from that area.

1839--Williamson County was created 28 February 1839 from Franklin County.
County seat: Marion [1]


The county was named for Williamson County, Tennessee. The county seat is Marion and the county was organized on February 28, 1839. [2]The County is located in the North Central area of the state.[3]

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 MapofUS.org website.

The present area of Williamson County, or parts of it, were at one time included in the following counties[4]:

1818–1839 Franklin
1816–1818 Jackson
1812–1818 Gallatin
1812–1816 Johnson
1795–1816 Randolph
1790–1801 Knox, Northwest Territory

Record Loss

1875 On 30 May, a fire burned the courthouse and some records were lost or damaged.

For suggestions about research in places that suffered historic record losses, see:


To see a list of places in Williamson County, click on [Show], in the bar above. The preceding list of places includes incorporated cities and towns, unincorporated towns and communities, and place names that may have been used in family histories. Some have well-organized records and even have websites. Some are simply social communities with no official records, but which may be referenced in small-town newspapers. The list is provided to help researchers identify localities within the county. Localities listed in red have no wiki page yet. As records or histories of these localities are identified, a page will be added for each of these place names.

Records and Resources

Williamson County Illinois Historical Society Their official website is located at www.wcihs.org which includes historical information on the towns,​ people and points of interest of Williamson County.

Marion, Illinois is the county seat. Their website is http://www.mihp.org/



Cemeteries of Williamson, 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

The following web sites have additional information on Williamson county cemeteries.


Historical populations
Census Pop.

Illinois Counties 1900-1990

1840, 1850, 1860, 1870, 1880, 1900, 1910, 1920, and 1930 federal population schedules of Williamson County are available online. For tips on accessing census records online, see Illinois Census.

See Williamson County, IL census assignments, including links to transcribed files. The USGenWeb Census Project.

1840 Pensioners

  • 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, Williamson County on page 188.]

Church Records

A chapter on early Williamson County, Illinois church history appears in an 1887 local history, available for free online, beginning on page 515.

Histories of early churches in the county appear in:

See also:



FamilySearch has made parish records from four Belleville Diocese Catholic churches in Williamson County available online (free registration is required). The records include first communions, confirmations, marriages, and deaths:


  • Abney, Ella Lorine Rogers et al. Membership and Friends, First Christian Church: Disciples of Christ. Marion, Ill.: First Christian Church (Disciples of Christ, Marion, Ill.), 1999. FHL Book 977.3993/M1 K2ae.
  • Lake Creek Christian Church. Church Records, 1892-1897. MSS. Copy: FHL Film 966139 Item 9.

Church of Christ

Disciples of Christ


Court Records

1840–Present Original Court records are available at the Williamson County, Illinois Courthouse. See Illinois Court Records for information about how to use county court records.

The following records are abstracted:

Ethnic Research

African American

United States African Americans Gotoarrow.png Illinois African Americans


It is anticipated that this bibliography will eventually identify all known family histories published about residents of this county. Use this list to:

  • Locate publications about direct ancestors
  • Find the most updated accounts of an ancestor's family
  • Identify publications, to quote Elizabeth Shown Mills, about an ancestor's "FAN Club" [Friends, Associates, and Neighbors]

Message Boards


As of March 2011, a query for persons born in Williamson (County), Illinois at World Connect, results in more than 30,000 entries.

Parks' collection is a great place to learn if genealogists have studied your Williamson County family in the past:

The following collections contain genealogies about many families in the county:

  • Crain, Charles L. and Barbara Crain. Whose Family Line Is It ... Anyway: A Brief History of the Crain, Snider, Burkitt, Plumlee, Shingleton and Isom Families in Franklin, Williamson and Surrounding Counties in Southern Illinois. n.p.: C.L. Crain, 2001. FHL CD-ROM no. 772.
  • Grisham, Violet Lee Carter. My Williamson County Pioneer Kinfolks and Descendants. Marion, Ill.: V.L.C. Grisham, 1995. FHL Book 929.273 G919gva.
  • Lind, Helen Sutt, Charla Schroeder Murphy, et al. The Barham Connection: Barham Cemetery Inscriptions and Family Genealogy. 1997? FHL Book 977.3993/M1 V3L.
  • Malone, Daisy Hearne Roberts. A Group of Family Trees of the Early Settlers of Corinth Township, Williamson County, Illinois and Allied Families. Pueblo, Colo.: Rocky Mountain Bank Note Co., 1939. FHL Book 977.3993/C1 D2m


  • [Bohannan] Cotton, Yvonne Bohannan. The Bohannan Family: Ancestors and Descendants of John Ervin and Sarah Bohannan. Glen Rose, Texas: Y.B. Cotton, n.d. FHL Book 929.273 B634c.
  • [Carter] Grisham, Violet Lee Carter. Charles T. Carter, Revolutionary Soldier Whose Children Came to Southern Illinois: Their Related Families, Cunningham, Owens, Croslin, Aikin, Gregory. Marion, Ill.: Violet Grisham, 1994. FHL Book 929.273 C245g
  • [Childers]. Cast a Long Shadow: A Saga of Three Generations of a Southern Illinois Family, Reaching from Williamson County to Belgaum, India. Wilmore, Ky.: R. Seamands, 1994. FHL Book 929.273 C437sr; digital version at Family History Archives.
  • [Cox] Cox, Avis E. and Marion R. Cox. From the Banks of the Dan, a Cox Family Genealogy. Winona, Minn.: A.E. and M.R. Cox, 1994. FHL Book 929.273 C839fc.
  • [Culbreath] Green, John Stinson. Leroy Culbreath and Mary Fulk of Williamson County, Illinois and Stafford County, Kansas. Wichita, Kan.: J.S. Green, 199-?. FHL Fiche 6004641; digital version at Family History Archives.
  • [DeBose], Donald F. Descendants of Isaiah Debose. Carterville, Ill.: D.F. Shrake, 2005. FHL CD-ROM no. 2442.
  • [Duncan] "Descendants of James Frank Duncan," in Effie Maria McFarland Genealogical Collection. MSS. Microfilmed 2002. FHL VAULT Film 1574106 Item 1.
  • [Goddard] Moore, Mary Jo. The Goddard, Spiller, Goodall Connection. Marion, Ill.: M.J. Moore, 1997. FHL Book 929.273 G541m.
  • [Grove] Grisham, Violet Lee Carter. Pioneers to Williamson County, Illinois, George Zacharias and Isaac Groves and Their Descendants. Marion, Ill.: V.L.C. Grisham, 199-?. FHL Book 929.273 Z11c.
  • [Groves] Grisham, Violet Lee Carter. Legends in the New World - The Beginnings. Marion, Ill.: V. Grisham, 1991. FHL Book 929.273 G887g.
  • [Groves] Grisham, Violet Lee Carter and Edward Dean Grisham. Time Traveler. Marion, Ill.: V. Grisham, 1994. FHL Book 929.273 G919gv.
  • [Howell] Howell, Frank R. Historical Sketch of the Howell Family and Biography of William Marion Howell, 1845-1927. Typescript, 1946. FHL Film 960427 Item 9.
  • [Jeter] Jeter, Loren E. and Jeanette Feltl Jeter. Who Am I? A Jeter Family Saga. Cottonwood, Ariz.: L.E. Jeter, Sr., 1989. FHL Book 921.73 J511j.
  • [Klope] Grisham, Violet Lee Carter. Legends in the New World - The Beginnings. Marion, Ill.: V. Grisham, 1991. FHL Book 929.273 G887g.
  • [Potter] Moore, Mary Jo. The Potter Family Tragedy. Marion, Ill.: Williamson County Historical Society & Museum, 1996. FHL Book 929.273 P851m.
  • [Pritchett] "John & Amelia (Mosley) Prichett, TN-Williamson Co., IL," in Doris Melissa Pritchett Horlacher, Pritchett in America, Waller, Pritchard, Prickett, Phelan, 1987. Orem, Utah: Horlacher & Sons, 1987. FHL Film 1421821 Item 9.
  • [Pritchett] Stephens-Dewey, Wanda Dolores. Pritchett Family, 1827-1999: Including Ramsey, Franklin, Coffman, Pryor, Stephens. [Fort Wayne, Texas: W.D. Stephens-Dewey, 1999?]. FHL Book 929.273 P939sd.
  • [Rich] Abney, Ella Lorine Rogers. William Rich and His Descendants of Southern Illinois. Marion, Ill.: E.L. Abney, 2000. FHL Book 929.273 R379a.
  • [Spiller] Gottschalk, Kathrine Cox. The Spiller Family of Prince William County, Virginia; Robertson County, Tennessee; Williamson County, Illinois. Typescript. Microfilmed 1972. FHL Film 896608 Item 2
  • [Spiller] Moore, Mary Jo. The Goddard, Spiller, Goodall Connection. Marion, Ill.: M.J. Moore, 1997. FHL Book 929.273 G541m
  • [Stilley] Stilley, William Douglas. The William Davis Stilley and Nancy Swofford-Stilley Family History and Genealogy. Raytown, Mo.: W.D. Stilley, 1980. FHL Book 929.273 St54sti.
  • [Tanner] Tanner, John W. Six James Tanners. Typescript, Williamson County Historical Society, Ill. Microfilmed 1974. FHL Film 966149 Item 2.
  • [Walker] Keyser, Helen Walker Linsenmeyer. Illinois Pioneer, Matthew Moore Walker, and Descendants. Mountain, Home, Ark.: H.W.L. Keyser, 1993. FHL Book 929.273 W153k; digital version at Family History Archives.
  • [Ward] Abney, Ella Lorine Rogers. The Ward Family. Marion, Ill.: E. Abney, 1985. FHL Book 929.273 W21a.
  • [Zacharias] Grisham, Violet Lee Carter. Pioneers to Williamson County, Illinois, George Zacharias and Isaac Groves and Their Descendants. Marion, Ill.: V.L.C. Grisham, 199-?. FHL Book 929.273 Z11c.


Local Histories

The 1876 local history is also available at Ancestry ($).

  • History of Gallatin, Saline, Hamilton, Franklin, and Williamson Counties, Illinois: From the Earliest Time to the Present, Together with Sundry and Interesting Biographical Sketches, Notes, Reminiscences, etc., etc. Chicago: The Goodspeed Publishing Co., 1887. Digital versions at Ancestry ($) (1967 reprint); Internet Archive.
  • Centennial History of McKendree College. 1928. Digital version at The USGenWeb Project. Includes chapters on St. Clair's history under French rule, under British rule, under American rule, and information about early settlers.

Land and Property

See Illinois Land and Property for more information.

1836-present The original land and property records for Williamson County are held by the County Recorder. See the Williamson County Courthouse page for contact information. The following copies are available:

The following abstracts are available:

Online Resources


Perry CountyFranklin CountyHamilton CountySaline CountyPope CountyJohnson CountyUnion CountyJackson CountyIL WILLIAMSON.PNG
About this image
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for more resources


Revolutionary War

Veterans of the Revolutionary War settled in Williamson County.

Gotoarrow.png See also Census

War of 1812

Veterans of the War of 1812 settled in Williamson County.

  • List of Pensioners on the Roll, January 1, 1883; Giving the Name of Each Pensioner, the Cause for Why Pensioned, the Post-Office Address, the Rate of Pension Per Month, and the Date of Original Allowance... Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office, 1883. FHL Book 973 M2Lp v. 3; digital versions at Google Books and Internet Archive. [See Vol. 3, Illinois, Williamson County, pp. 640-642. Identifies War of 1812 and other veterans living in the county in 1883.]

Civil War

Civil War service men from Williamson 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 Williamson County.

- 9th Regiment, Illinois Infantry, Company G.
- 29th Regiment, Illinois Infantry, Company E.
- 31st Regiment, Illinois Infantry, Companies C and E.
- 56th Regiment, Illinois Infantry, Company E.
- 60th Regiment, Illinois Infantry, Company E.
- 81st Regiment, Illinois Infantry, Companies E, G and H.
- 107th Regiment, Illinois Infantry, Company G.
- 110th Regiment, Illinois Infantry, Company C.
- 120th Regiment, Illinois Infantry, Company G.
- 128th Regiment, Illinois Infantry, Companies A, B, C, D, E, F, G, H, and I.

World War I

  • Baird, S. S. Williamson County, Illinois, in the World War: Containing a Brief Review of the World War, Complete History of Williamson County's Activities, Photographs and Service Records of Williamson County's Soldiers, Sailors and Marines, Industrial Review of Business and Professional Firms Who Have Made This History Possible. Marion: Williamson County War History Society, c1919. Digital versions at Ancestry ($); Internet Archive.


Online Records

Newspapers and Obituaries

Information about the following newspapers is available through the Illinios Newspapers Project:

Probate Records

Online Probate Records

For more information about probate records see Illinois Probate Records.

1840–present The original probate records for Williamson County are held by the Circuit Court Clerk.  See the Williamson County Courthouse page for contact information. The following copies are available:

The following abstracts are available:

  • 1847–1872 Grisham, Violet Lee Carter. Williamson County, Il. Wills, Book A.(Marion, Illinois):V.L.C.Grisham, 1998. WorldcatFHL Book 977.3993 P2g
  • 1898–1911 Murphy, Charla Schroeder. Probate Book C, Circuit Clerk's Office: Administrators Book A, County Clerk's Office, Williamson County, Illinois. S.l: C.S. Murphy, 2004.Worldcat FHL Book 977.3993 P2mc

Online Resources

  • 1853–1919 Probate records are also available in Illinois, Probate Records, 1819-1970. Click on the browse through images link, select Williamson County, and select the record type you are interested in.


County Courthouse

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

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.

Illinois Regional Archives Depository (IRAD)

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. Southern Illinois University houses the records for Williamson County.

Public Libraries

Social Groups Online


Williamson County Historical Society
Museum and Genealogy Library
105 S. Van Buren St.
Marion, Illinois 62959
Telephone Number: 618-997-5863

Herrin Area Historical Society
PO Box 127
Herrin, IL 62948


Vital Records

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


1877–present - The original Williamson County birth records 1877-present are housed at the County Clerk's office. The following copies are available:

The following abstracts are available:


1839–present - The original Williamson County marriage records 1877-present are housed at the County Clerk's office.
Copies of marriage licenses and other marriage records are available through the Illinois Regional Archives Depository system at Southern Illinois University. How to use IRAD

  • 1839–1870 Marriage Licenses, 1839- 1870 IRAD-SIU 6/0325/09
  • 1839–1916 Marriage Record, 1839-1916 IRAD-SIU 6/0325/07
  • 1865–1885 Marriage Record Index 1865-1885 IRAD-SIU 6/0325/06

Other copies of marriage records:

The following abstracts are available:

  • 1830–1850 Illinois USGenWeb Archives
  • 1839–1853, 1865  Winget, Judy Walley. Williamson County, Illinois marriages, 1839 to 1853 and 1865; Pope County, Illinois marriages, 1826 to 1845; Johnson County, Illinois marriages, 1857 to 1860. S.P.: Saline County Genealogical Society (Illinois), 1984. Worldcat FHL Book 977.399 V2w
  • 1839–1902 Hoffard, Gay Roberson and Joyce Stephens Smith.Marriages on Record in Marion, Williamson County, Illinois Courthouse. Marion, Illinois: Williamson County Historical Society [Illinois], 1988. WorldcatFHL Book 977.3993 V2h Vol. 1-5

The Williamson County Marriage Project is a user-contributed listing of about 600 Williamson County marriages. Many listings include e-mail contact information for the individual who contributed the information.


  • 1877-present The original Williamson County death records 1877–present are housed at the County Clerk's office. The following copies are available:

The following abstracts are available:



  1. The Handybook for Genealogists: United States of America,10th ed. (Draper, UT:Everton Publishers, 2002).
  2. Genealogy Trails History Group, “Williamson County, Illinois Genealogy and History”, http://genealogytrails.com/ill/williamson/ accessed 04/20/2017.
  3. Wikipedia contributors, "Williamson County," in Wikipedia: the Free Encyclopedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Winnebago_County,_Illinois 04/20/2017.
  4. "Williamson County Fact Sheet." The Official Web site for Illinois Secretary of State Jesse White. N.p., n.d. Web. 29 Mar. 2011. http://www.cyberdriveillinois.com/departments/archives/irad/williamson.html