Difference between revisions of "McLean County, Illinois Genealogy"

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=== Historical Facts  ===
=== Historical Facts  ===
[[Image:Justice_John_McLean_.jpg|thumb|right|200px]]The county was named for John McLean, a pioneer lawyer, Territorial judge, first Representative in Congress from Illinois (1818), and United States Senator (1824-1825).  
The county was named for John McLean, a pioneer lawyer, Territorial judge, first Representative in Congress from Illinois (1818), and United States Senator (1824-1825).  
=== Parent County  ===
=== Parent County  ===

Revision as of 23:12, 9 August 2011

McLean County, Illinois
Boundary map of McLean County, Illinois
Map of the U.S. highlighting Illinois
Location of Illinois in the U.S.
Founded: December 25, 1830
County Seat Bloomington
Address McLean County Government Center115 E. Washington Street
Bloomington, Illinois 61702
(309) 888-5190
McLean County Website


Template:Illinois-stubUnited States Gotoarrow.png Illinois Gotoarrow.png McLean County

McLean County Organization

                                     Beginning Dates for McLean County Records
Birth Marriage Death Census Land Probate

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

Historical Facts

Justice John McLean .jpg
The county was named for John McLean, a pioneer lawyer, Territorial judge, first Representative in Congress from Illinois (1818), and United States Senator (1824-1825).

Parent County

  • 1830--McLean County was created 25 December 1830 from Tazewell County and unorganized territory.

County seat:Bloomington [1]

Boundary Changes

Eastern Part

1827-1830 Shelby
1821-1827 Fayette
1819-1821 Clark
1816-1819 Crawford
1815-1816 Edwards

Western Part

1827-1831 Tazewell
1825-1827 Peoria
1821-1825 Sangamon
1817 - 1821 Bond
1812-1821 Madison
1801-1812 St. Clair
1790-1801 Knox, Northwest Territory

See an interactive map of McLean County boundary changes.

Record Loss

The Bloomington Fire

A Loss of $2,000,000, Covering Five Blocks of Houses and Including the Courthouse.

Bloomington, Ill., June 19.-Fire early this morning swept the business section of the city, burning between forty and fifty business houses and entailing a loss of $2,000,000. Word was sent to Peoria and Springfield to send fire engines. As every effort to check progress of the flames proved futile, the blowing up of buildings with dynamite was resorted to after the fire had been raging for three hours and a half. A strong east wind prevailed, which made the work of the firemen extremely difficult.

Among the buildings destroyed and some of the losses are the following:

..., and the courthouse.

Two firemen are missing and are probably in the ruins. The burned district covers an area of five blocks.

The insurance is approximately $800,000.

Dallas Morning News, Dallas, TX 20 Jun 1900

A Terrible Fire

Half the Business Portion of Bloomington, Ills., Wiped Out by Fire

Courthouse Hotels and Dozens on the City's Finest Buildings Destroyed.

Total Loss Variously Estimated at Between $1,500,000 and $2,000,000

Bloomington, Ills., June 20.-A fire which broke out at 12:30 a.m. wiped out nearly one-half of the business portion of Bloomington, .... Two sides of the courthouse square are in ruins. The north and the east and the other two blocks cornering on the square and one-half of the block west of the square are also destroyed. The courthouse, which is standing, is gutted from dome to basement. As far as known no lives were lost or anyone seriously injured.

The fire broke out in the Model laundry on Monroe Street, in the block northeast of the courthouse. The flames soon got beyond control and spread to the 4-story brick structure belonging to the B.S. Green company.

Government Building Escapes

In an hour the entire block was destroyed excepting the government building in which is located the post office and which escaped unharmed.

... . .with the entire block lying east of the courthouse was destroyed. The courthouse caught from Griesheim building and burned slowly, the clock in the dome running until it struck 4.

The Bloomington, Peoria and Springfield fire departments arrived about 6 a.m., and aided the local firemen in getting the fire burning in a westerly direction under control. In all 40 to 50 business houses were destroyed.

Aberdeen Daily News, Aberdeen, SD 20 Jun 1900


Records and Resources



Cemetery records often identify birth, death, relationship, and military information, as well as religious affiliation.

Evergreen Cemetery (Bloomington) is a 80 plus acre cemetery from the 1820's. It is the final resting place of some prominent MCLean County individuals, including Adlai Stevenson I, baseball player Charles "Ol Hoss" Radbourne, David Davis, Supreme Court Judge and friend of Abe Lincoln, and Dorothy Gage, the inspiration for the Dorothy in the Wizard of Oz. The cemetery caretakers have done a wonderful job with their website, and have over 26,000 burials recorded for on line searching. Each year, it is the host of the Evergreen Cemetery Walk, where actors in period clothing portray the life of some of the individuals in the cemetery, while standing at their grave site. This cemetery has won awards for its dedication to preserving history. 

  • Find A Grave can be searched by the name of a person or family to find where a person is buried.  Usually gives birth and death dates often with a picture of the tombstone.  May give obituaries,names of family members and links to their information in Find A Grave.


Historical populations
Census Pop.
IL Counties 1900-1990

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, McLean County on page 187.]

Church Records

LDS Ward and Branch Records

Cemetery, Church and Family Records of Illinois. by Daughters of the American Revolution. FHL Collection item 5

West Twin Grove Christian Church, Bloominton, Illinois: membership and board meetings, 1847-1908. transcribed by Gerald W. Kattke. FHL 573476 item 12. FHL Book 977.359 K2k

  • Bloomington

Court Records

McLean County Circuit Court, 104 West Front Street, Bloomington, IL 61701

website: http://www.mcleancountyil.gov/circuitcourt/  

This website gives information regarding vital records, court records, immigration and property records.

The Circuit Clerk's office has an on line database of immigration records which was done with the assistance of the McLean County Genealogical Society.

The court has one of the more extensive collections of original court records in the state.

The county policies for birth and death records are posted, and copies can be paid for on line, or by mail. On location: the the county clerk has a public index card file of births and deaths. Request for marriage application form on older marriages must be separately.

Ethnic Research

African American

The following have information concerning African American research.



E. Duis, The Good Old Times in McLean County. Bloomington: (Publishers name not given), 1874. Digital version at Google Books. The book contains biographies of the early settlers of McLean County.

A variety of early McLean County genealogical records are transcribed in:

  • McLean County, White County, Will County Genealogical Records. Evanston, Ill.?: Illinois Society, D.A.R.?, 1945?. Digital version at Ancestry ($).

Land and Property

1909-1926 Coal Mine Maps - IRAD-ISU


Military Records

  • War of 1812

Military Land Grants McLean County Illinois for Soldiers of the War of 1812 - USGenWeb

  • Blackhawk War

Captain M.L.Covell's Company - USGenWeb

Captain Robert McClure's Company - USGenWeb

  • Civil War
    Civil War service men from McLean 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 McLean County.
- 33rd Regiment, Illinois Infantry, Companies A, C and G.
- 37th Regiment, Illinois Infantry, Company G.
- 39th Regiment, Illinois Infantry, Companies B and K.
- 58th Regiment, Illinois Infantry, Company G.
- 63rd Regiment, Illinois Infantry, Company D.
- 70th Regiment, Illinois Infantry, Company H.
- 82nd Regiment, Illinois Infantry, Company E.
- 94th Regiment, Illinois Infantry, Companies, A, B, C, D, E, F, G, H, I and K.

Soldiers of the Revolution and the War 1812 buried in McLean County, Illinois. by Milo Custer FHL Collection item 4 FHL book: 977.359 V22c

Grand Army of the Republic

Chas. E. Hovey Post, Normal 1913 - USGenWeb

Chenoa Post, Cheona 1913 - USGenWeb

H.W. Wood Post, McLean 1913 - USGenWeb

Thomas Riddle Post, Le Roy 1913 - USGenWeb

W. T. Sherman Post, Bloomington 1913 - USGenWeb

  • Indian Wars

Military Land Grants in McLean County Illinois for Soldiers of the Indian Wars - USGenWeb


The website of the McLean County Circuit Clerk includes a free online naturalization index (produced with the help of the McLean County Genealogical Society).

1853-1965 Naturalization Abstracts. by Phyllis Abner and McLean County Genealogical Society FHL Collection items 4-6 FHL book: 977.359 P4n

Newspapers and Obituaries

Probate Records

1834-1934 Probate Record -IRAD-ISU

1838-1940 Probate Will Record -IRAD-ISU

1850-1928 Probate Inventory Record - IRAD-ISU

1862-1939 Probate Dockets - IRAD-ISU

1866-1944 Probate Executor's Record IRAD-ISU

1881-1965 Probate Guardian's and Conservator's Account Record - IRAD-ISU

  • 1831-1946 Index to Probate records, McLean County, Illinois. by Nola G. Marquardt FHL Collection


County Courthouse

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

Family History Library

Illinois Regional Archives Depository (IRAD)

Illinois State Universtiy
2016 Warehouse Road Campus
Box 1520
Normal, Illinois 61802
Phone: 309-452-6027

Illinois Regional Archives Depository System - Local Governmental Records Listings Arranged by County

Public Libraries

Social Groups Online


The Lexington Genealogical and Historical Society, Inc. (a.k.a. "The Fort") at Lexington, Illinois is a small building crammed with genalogical materials that cover McLean, Livingston, Woodford and Ford Counties. Their records exist in either paper or microfilm form, the collection is a gold mine. They have saved obituaries from newspapers, extensive cemetery records and have some microfilm of marriage records, etc. from official sources. The staff is friendly and knowledgable.


1898-2001 Inheritance Tax Record IRAD-ISU

Vital Records

The website of the McLean County Clerk's Office explains how to order copies of birth, marriage, and death records.


1860-1900 Birth Index - IRAD-ISU. Available at the Family History Library FHL Collection items 3-9. FHL book: 977.359 V21b

1877-1902 Birth Record - IRAD-ISU. Available at the Family History Library FHL Collection

The website of the McLean County Clerk's Office includes a Birth Index Search from 1860 through 1915.


1831-1912 Marriage Record - IRAD-ISU. Available at the Family History Library FHL Collection index 1831-1911


1877-1900 Death Record - IRAD-ISU. Available at the Family History Library FHL Collection

1878-1899 Death Index cards. McLean County Clerk. {FHL|205289|item|desp= FHL 1379256}}

Web Sites

Databases Pertinent to McLean County
Local Governmental Records Database
Name Index to Illinois Local Governments
Illinois Statewide Marriage Index
Illinois Statewide Death Index, 1916–1950
Illinois Public Domain Land Tract Sales Database
Federal Township Plats of Illinois
McLean County Probate Record Index (1834–1934)

Places / Localities

Populated Places

Neighboring Counties


  1. The Handybook for Genealogists: United States of America, 10th ed. (Draper, UT: Everton Publishers, 2002), 196. (FHL Collection Ref Book 973 D27e 2002). WorldCat entry.