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Cass County, Illinois Genealogy

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

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Cass County, Illinois
Map
Map of Illinois highlighting Cass County
Location in the state of Illinois
Map of the U.S. highlighting Illinois
Location of Illinois in the U.S.
Facts
Founded: March 30, 1837
County Seat Virginia
Courthouse
Cass County Courthouse.gif
Photo courtesy Illinois Regional Archives Depository, Illinois State Archives
Address Cass County Courthouse
100 E. Springfield Street
Virginia, Illinois 62691
(217) 452-7217


Cass County Organization[edit | edit source]

Known Beginning Dates for Major County Records[1]
Birth* Marriage Death* Court Land Probate Census
1860 1837 1878 1837 1826 1837 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 Cass County are kept, see the Cass County Courthouse page.

Historical Facts[edit | edit source]

Lewis Cass.jpg

Cass County is named for Lewis Cass who was the 22nd United States Secretary of State.

Description[edit | edit source]

The county was named for Lewis Cass, a general in the War of 1812, Governor of the Michigan Territory, and United States Secretary of State in 1860. Cass was serving as Andrew Jackson's Secretary of War just before the County was named. The County Seat is Virginia and was founded 1837.[2] It is located in the West-Central area of the state.[3]

Boundary Changes[edit | edit source]

  • 3 March 1837: Cass County was created from Morgan County. [4]

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[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 Cass County edition.  This includes a state history section along with a county history and biographies of Cass County residents.  See the wiki article for links to available copies and indexes.

Cemeteries[edit | edit source]

Cemeteries of Cass, 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]

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

Federal[edit | edit source]

Historical populations
Census Pop.
190017,222
191017,3720.9%
192017,8963.0%
193016,537−7.6%
194016,425−0.7%
195015,097−8.1%
196014,539−3.7%
197014,219−2.2%
198015,0846.1%
199013,437−10.9%
200013,6951.9%
IL Counties 1900-1990

State[edit | edit source]

Church[edit | edit source]

Linkpendium has membership lists and other church-related records from various churches in Cass County, Illinois.

The Famly History Library has selected records from a few churches in Cass County. To locate them, search the Library's catalog by "Place names" for the name of the a town, then select the topic "Church records."

Timeline of some churches in Cass County. [5]

  • There were no church buildings built during the first few years of settlement in an area.
  • 1830 - Richmond Precinct. First religious assemblies held.
  • 1830 - Princeton. Zion Presbyterian Society
  • 1832 - Clear Creek Church in Monroe Precinct. This church had ceased regular meetings by 1880.
  • 1832 - Virginia City. Methodist Episcopal. Began as part of the Petersburg Circuit.
  • 1835 - Prinston. Missionary Baptist Church which had passed away by 1880.
  • 1838 - Princeton. Christian Church which had passed away by 1880.
  • 1838 - Hickory precinct. Baptists
  • 1840 - Virginia City. Catholics. They have had an organization in the city since 1840.
  • pre 1842 - Virginia City. Protestant Methodists  was the first Christian Church in City of Virginia, but it was extinct before 1880.
  • 1842 - Virginia City. Cumberland Presbyterian Church. Formed from members of the Shiloh church.
  • 1848 - Hickory Precinct. First Christian services held in the open.
  • 1848 - Oregon Precinct. Methodist Episcopal, known as the Oregon Chapel.
  • pre 1852 - Virginia Precinct. Bethlehem Methodistt Church.
  • 1857 - Virginia Precinct. Shiloh Cumberland Presbyterian Church which grew out of a congregation formed first in Morgan County in 1827 and later in Sangamon County. Early records were either lost or mislaid.
  • 1857 -Ashland. Methodist Episcopal Church.
  • 1863 - Virginia City. Presbyterian Church organized, though they built a building in 1857.
  • 1871 - Ashland. Catholic Church.
  • 1875 - Virginia City. Church of Christ.
Lutheran[edit | edit source]

Correctional Institutions[edit | edit source]

Court Records[edit | edit source]

Original Court records are held in both offices of the Circuit Court Clerk and County Clerk .

The following abstracts and copies of original records may be accessed online or through the University of Illinois at Springfield - search for Cass County records. For information on how to use IRAD see the UIS IRAD Wiki page.

Online Resources

Directories[edit | edit source]

Ethnic Research[edit | edit source]

African American[edit | edit source]

The following have information concerning African American research.

Genealogy[edit | edit source]

Mailing Lists[edit | edit source]

Message Boards[edit | edit source]

History[edit | edit source]

  • Biographical Review of Cass, Schuyler and Brown Counties, Illinois: Containing Biographical Sketches of Pioneers and Leading Citizens. Chicago: Biographical Review Pub. Co., 1892. Digital versions at Ancestry ($); Genealogy Trails; Internet Archive; USGenWeb (partial).
  • The Historical Encyclopedia of Illinois has a Cass County edition.  This includes a state history section along with a county history and biographies of Cass County residents.  See the wiki article for links to available copies and indexes.

Land and Property[edit | edit source]

Online Resources

  • BLM GLO Records. Search original land patents for Cass County from the Government Land Office (GLO) or Eastern States Office. Some searches include images of the original warrants. All search results include the patent details needed for requesting copies of the land entry files at the National Archives. The GLO is the custodian of millions of land title documents. The General Land Office Automated Records Project is responsible for making these important documents available to the public.
  • Illinois Public Domain Land Tract Sales. The Illinois State Archives has an online index to the records of Public land sales held by the State Archives. The indexes are by purchasers name and by legal description. This is a statewide collection with nearly 550,000 land sales fro 54740 square miles.
  • "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 Ancestry.com ($)
  • "U.S. General Land Office Records, 1796 to 1907" Available at Ancestry.com ($) Records of Illinois are among the 13 states included in this set. It includes images of the land patents which contain the information necessary for ordering the complete case files from the National Archives. This appears to be the same information that is online at the Federal Land Office site http://www.glorecords.blm.gov/.
  • Sheldon, Theodore. Land registration in Illinois. Chicago: Callaghan Co., 1901. Digital book. Explains the laws regarding land and the land systems used in Illinois. Includes court cases involving land issues. In addition to being on Ancestry, this book is available online at no cost at Internet Archives and Google Books.

Copies of original records

Additional Resources

Additional resources for Cass County land and property may be found online in the FamilySearch Catalog. Copies of records on FHL microfilm and microfiche may be available for viewing atFamily History Centers. 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]

Schuyler CountyMason CountyMenard CountySangamon CountyMorgan CountyBrown CountyIL CASS.PNG
Click a neighboring county
for more resources


Military[edit | edit source]

Civil War[edit | edit source]

Civil War service men from Cass 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 Cass County.

- 3rd Regiment, Illinois Cavalry, Company C.
- 6th Regiment, Illinois Cavalry, Company C.
- 14th Regiment, Illinois Infantry, Company A.
- 19th Regiment, Illinois Infantry, Company F.
- 33rd Regiment, Illinois Infantry, Company K.
- 61st Regiment, Illinois Infantry, Company E.
- 114th Regiment, Illinois Infantry, Companies A, C, D, E, G, H, and I.
- 145th Regiment, Illinois Infantry, Company G.

Naturalization and Citizenship[edit | edit source]

Circuit Court:

  • 1837–1892 Naturalization papers available at UIS IRAD Region search for Cass county
  • 1859–1929 Declarations of Intent available at UIS IRAD Region search for Cass county
  • 1859–1894 Naturalization final available at UIS IRAD Region search for Cass county
  • 1871–1899 Naturalization dockets available at UIS IRAD Region search for Cass county
  • 1865–1896 Naturalizations, soldiers and minors available at UIS IRAD Region search for Cass county

County Court:

  • 1860-1906 Declarations of Intent available at UIS IRAD Region search for Cass county
  • 1860-1906 Naturalization Final available at UIS IRAD Region search for Cass county
  • 1860-1905 Naruralizations, minors (under 21) available at UIS IRAD Region search for Cass county
  • 1865-1886 Naturalizations soldiers available at UIS IRAD Region search for Cass county

For help with using the above links, click here for how to use IRAD.

Online Records

Newspapers[edit | edit source]

Obituaries[edit | edit source]

Poorhouses[edit | edit source]

For help with using the above links, click here for how to use IRAD.

Probate Records[edit | edit source]

Online Probate Records

  • 1837–1848 Probate Book A Courtesy of Cass County Historical and Genealogical Society.
  • 1848–1849 Probate Book B Courtesy of Cass County Historical and Genealogical Society.
  • 1849–1852 Probate Book C Courtesy of Cass County Historical and Genealogical Society.
  • 1853–1858 Probate Book D Courtesy of Cass County Historical and Genealogical Society.
  • 1858–1861 Probate Book E Courtesy of Cass County Historical and Genealogical Society.
  • 1861–1864 Probate Book F Courtesy of Cass County Historical and Genealogical Society.
  • Guardianship Book A–1 Courtesy of Cass County Historical and Genealogical Society.

Public Records[edit | edit source]

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

Historical and Genealogical Society[edit | edit source]

The Society has a museum and holdings open to the public. You may find your family in their holdings.

Cass County Historical and Genealogical Society
109 S. Front St.
Virginia, Illinois 62691
217-452-7977
Email: cchgs@casscomm.com

Family History Centers[edit | edit source]

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.

  • For current information about a center near you, go to the Family History Center Map 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. Currently there are no Family History Centers located directly in Cass County.

You may search your address for a center near you on the FamilySearch site.

The following centers are located in surrounding counties. Their wiki pages may supply hours and other information.

Jacksonville Illinois Family History Center
1053 E. Vandalia Road
Jacksonville, Illinois 62650
Phone: 217-245-8113

Springfield Illinois Family History Center
3601 Buckeye Drive
Springfield, Illinois 62707
Phone: 217-529-7930

Macomb Illinois Family History Center
2000 W. Adams
Macomb, Illinois
Phone: 309-836-3201

Quincy Illinois Family History Center
210 Cardinal Terrace
Quincy, Illinois
Phone: 217-224-3220

Illinois Regional Archives Depository (IRAD)[edit | edit source]

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.

The University of Illinois at Springfield (UIS) houses the records for Cass County. The link will help you find and use the records. There address is:

Illinois Regional Archives Depository
LIB144
University of Illinois at Springfield Region
One University Plaza, MS BRK 140
Springfield, Illinois 62703-5407
217-206-6520

Public Libraries[edit | edit source]

Prairie Skies Public Library District
125 West Editor Street
Ashland, Illinois 62612
Phone: 217-476-3417

Beardstown Houston Memorial Library
13 Boulevard Road
Beardstown, Illinois 62618
Phone: 217-323-4204

"The library provides you with online access to complete articles from thousands of magazines and journals, and that's just the beginning. Also available are biographies, reports, pamphlets and additional reference materials. You will need an authorization code and password to access these databases. Contact the local librarian."

Virginia Memorial Public Library
100 North Main Street
Virginia, Illinois 62691
Phone: 217-452-3846
Email: vmpl@casscomm.com

Schools[edit | edit source]

Social Groups Online[edit | edit source]

Societies[edit | edit source]

Cass County Historical and Genealogical Society
109 S. Front St.
Virginia, Illinois 62691
Telephone Number: 217-452-7977
E-mail:cchgs@casscomm.com
Website

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 (1860) and death (1878) certificates are kept by the Cass 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 kept by the County Clerk from 1877 to the present. Original divorce records are generally in the office of the Circuit Court Clerk.

Copies of original records may be accessed through the Family History Library and the Illinois Regional Archives Depository (IRAD) located at the Universtiy of Illinois–Springfield(UIS). Search Cass County records in the Local Governmental Records Holdings Database . For information on how to use IRAD see the IRAD–UIS Wiki page.

Explore Cass County vital records found in the FamilySearch Catalog. Other libraries(at WorldCat) also hold copies of abstracted Cass County vital records. (How to explore WorldCat).


Births[edit | edit source]

  • 1860–1915 Birth Records available at UIS IRAD Region search for Cass county
  • 1860–1915 Birth Records index available at UIS IRAD Region search for Cass County
  • 1917–1950 Birth Certificates (Ashland Twp) available at UIS IRAD Region search for Cass County

For help with using the above links, click here for how to use IRAD.

Marriages[edit | edit source]

For help with using the above links, click here for how to use IRAD.

Deaths[edit | edit source]

For help with using the above IRAD links, click here for how to use IRAD.

Newspapers[edit | edit source]

[ Obituary and Birth Announcements] Courtesy of ILGenWeb.

Divorce[edit | edit source]

Websites[edit | edit source]

References[edit | edit source]

  1. Handybook for Genealogists: United States of America, 10th ed. (Draper, Utah: Everton Pub., 2002), Cass 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, “Cass County, Illinois Genealogy and History”, http://genealogytrails.com/ill/cass/ 4/11/2017.
  3. Wikipedia contributors, "Cass County," in Wikipedia: the Free Encyclopedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cass_County,_Illinois 4/11/2017.
  4. Handybook for Genealogists: United States of America, 10th ed.; Draper, Utah: Everton Pub., 2002 WorldCat 50140092, FHL Book 973 D27e 2002
  5. History of Cass County, Illinois, ed. William Henry Perrin. Chicago, Illinois : O.L. Baskin, 1882.FHL film 924750 Item 1; book 977.3465 H2p
  6. Genealogical Society of Utah, Parish and Vital Records List (July 1998). Microfiche. Digital version at https://www.familysearch.org/wiki/en/images/1/10/Igiillinoisac.pdf.