Winnebago County, Illinois Genealogy

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United States
Illinois
Winnebago County

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

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Winnebago County, Illinois
Map
Map of Illinois highlighting Winnebago County
Location in the state of Illinois
Map of the U.S. highlighting Illinois
Location of Illinois in the U.S.
Facts
Founded: January 16, 1836
County Seat Rockford
Courthouse
Winnebago County Courthouse.gif
Photo courtesy Illinois Regional Archives Depository, Illinois State Archives
Address Winnebago County Courthouse
404 Elm Street
Rockford, IL 61101
(815) 987-3050
Winnebago County Website


Winnebago County Organization

Winnebago County's civil records start the following years:

                                     Beginning Dates for Winnebago County Records
Birth Marriage Death Census Land Probate
1877
1836
1877
1840
1836
1837

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

Historical Facts

Winnebago County is named for the Winnebago Indians who once inhabited that part of Illinois

Parent County

  • 1836--Winnebago County was created 16 January 1836 from Jo Daviess County.  County seat:  Rockford [1]

Description

The county was named for the Winnebago Native American tribe who once occupied that part of northern Illinois. The Native American word Winnebago translates to "fish eater." The county seat is Rockford and the county was organized on January 16, 1836.[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.

Record Loss

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

Places / Localities

Populated Places

Neighboring Counties

Records and Resources

Biographies

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

Cemeteries

Cemeteries of Winnebago, 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 site has additional information on Winnebago county cemeteries.

  • ePodunk gives the names of the cemeteries in the county with a link to more information such as address, phone number, and web site.

Church Records

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.

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.

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


Copies of original records

Ethnic Research

African American

The following have information concerning African American research.

Genealogy

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

Local Histories

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.

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 Winnebago 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 www.ancestry.com ($)


Copies of original records


Abstracts

  • Family Maps of Winnebago County, Illinois (2007) plats the land of many nineteenth-century Winnebago County residents. The publisher's bookstore includes a free online surname index. FHL Book 977.331 E7b


Additional Resources

Additional resources for Winnebago County land and property may be found online in the FamilySearch Catalog and FamilySearch Catalog–maps. 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

Ilwinnebago.jpg

Military

Civil War

Civil War service men from Winnebago 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 Winnebago County.

- 8th Regiment, Illinois Cavalry, Companies L and M.
- 11th Regiment, Illinois Cavalry, Company D.
- 11th Regiment, Illinois Infantry (3 months, 1861), Company D.
- 11th Regiment, Illinois Infantry, Company D.
- 12th Regiment, Illinois Cavalry, Company A.
- 15th Regiment, Illinois Cavalry, Company M.
- 15th Regiment, Illinois Infantry, Company C.
- 17th Regiment, Illinois Cavalry, Company K.
- 44th Regiment, Illinois Infantry, Company G.
- 45th Regiment, Illinois Infantry, Companies F and G.
- 52nd Regiment, Illinois Infantry, Company E.
- 55th Regiment, Illinois Infantry, Company C.
- 65th Regiment, Illinois Infantry (Scotch Regiment), Company K.
- 90th Regiment, Illinois Infantry, Company A.
- 132nd Regiment, Illinois Infantry (100 days, 1864), Company K.
- 141st Regiment, Illinois Infantry (100 days, 1864), Company E.
- 146th Regiment, Illinois Infantry, Companies B and C.
- 147th Regiment, Illinois Infantry, Company A.
- 153rd Regiment, Illinois Infantry (1 year, 1865), Company G.

Naturalization

Newspapers and Obituaries

Newspaperarchive.com ($) 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 Winnebago County. The Rock Island Public Library provides free access to this database at its library.

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.

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 the Northern Illinois University (NIU) - search for Winnebago County records. For information on how to use IRAD see the NIU IRAD Wiki page.

Copies of original records

Repositories

County Courthouse

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

Family History Center

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.

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 Winnebago County:

Rockford Illinois Family History Center
324 University Dr.
Rockford, Illinois 61107
Telephone: (815) 332-7782

Illinois Regional Archives Depository (IRAD)

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 Winnebago 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

Rockford Public Library
215 N. Wyman St.
Rockford, IL 61101
Telephone: (815) 965-6731
Their Local History Room includes materials for Winnebago county as well as neighboring counties.

Social Groups Online

Societies

Winnebago/boone Counties Genealogical Society
PO Box 10166
Rockford 61131-0166
Website

Kishwaukee Genealogists
PO Box 5503
Rockford, IL 61125
Website



Taxation

Vital Records

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

Original birth and death certificates recorded until the year 1916 are kept by the Winnebago County Clerk while those recorded after 1916 are kept by the Illinois Department of Public Health with a copy to the County Clerk. Original divorce records are generally in the office of the Circuit Court Clerk. Winnebago County uses an outside service to fulfill internet requests for copies of birth, marriage and death records.  For more information, see the Winnebago County Clerk's web page for information on Ordering Copies.

See the on-line Genealogy Indexes of Winnebago County records:

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

See Illinois Vital Records for more information about Vital records in Illinois.

Birth Records

Copies of Original Birth Records

Marriage Records

Copies of original Marriage Records

Death Records

Copies of original Death Records

Divorce

Additional Resources

Additional resources for Winnebago County births, marriages and deaths may be found in the Illinois, Winnebago – Vital Records, the Illinois, Winnebago – Vital Records - indexes, the Illinois, Winnebago – Vital Records - newspapers and the Illinois, Winnebago – Vital Records - newspapers indexes topic pages 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

References

  1. The Handybook for Genealogists: United States of America,10th ed. (Draper, UT:Everton Publishers, 2002).
  2. Genealogy Trails History Group, “Winnebago County, Illinois Genealogy and History”, http://genealogytrails.com/ill/winnebago/ accessed 04/20/2017.
  3. Wikipedia contributors, "Winnebago County," in Wikipedia: the Free Encyclopedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Winnebago_County,_Illinois 04/20/2017.