Rock Island County, Illinois Genealogy

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Rock Island County, Illinois
Boundary map of Rock Island County, Illinois
Map of the U.S. highlighting Illinois
Location of Illinois in the U.S.
Founded: February 9, 1831
County Seat Rock Island
Photo courtesy Illinois Regional Archives Depository, Illinois State Archives
Address Rock Island County Courthouse
1504 Third Avenue
Rock Island, Illinois 61201
(309) 558-3570
Rock Island Website


Template:Illinois-stubUnited States Gotoarrow.png Illinois Gotoarrow.png Rock Island County

Rock County Organization

                                     Beginning Dates for Rock Island 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 Rock Island County are kept, see the Rock Island County Courthouse page.

Historical Facts

Rock Island is named for the largest island in the Mississippi River formerly known as Rock Island, but now is called Arsenal Island. [1]

Parent County

  • 1831--Rock Island County was created 9 February 1831 from Jo Daviess County.  County seat: Rock Island [2]

Boundary Changes

See an interactive map of Rock Island County boundary changes.

Record Loss

Places / Localities

Populated Places

Neighboring Counties

Records and Resources



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

  • 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.


Church Records

Court Records

Ethnic Research

African American

The following have information concerning African American research.



Local Histories

  • The Past and Present of Rock Island County, Ill. : containing a history of the county, its cities, towns, &c., a biographical directory of its citizens, war record of its volunteers in the late rebellion, portraits of early settlers and prominent men, general and local statistics, map of Rock Island County, history of Illinois, Constitution of the United States, miscellaneous matters, etc., etc.. Chicago: H.F. Kett & Co., 1877. Digital version at Ancestry ($).
  • Portrait and Biographical Album of Rock Island County, Illinois: containing full-page portraits and biographical sketches of prominent and representative citizens of the county : together with portraits and biographies of all the governors of Illinois, and of the presidents of the United States : also containing a history of the county, from its earliest settlement to the present time. Chicago: Biographical Pub. Co., 1885. Digital version at Ancestry ($).
  • The Biographical record of Rock Island County, Illinois. Chicago: S.J. Clarke Pub. Co., 1897. Digital version at Ancestry ($).
  • Meese, William A. Early Rock Island. Moline, Ill.: Press of Desaulniers & Co., 1905. Digital version at Ancestry ($).
  • Historic Rock Island County : history of the settlement of Rock Island County from the earliest known period to the present time : embracing references of importance, and including a biography of Rock Island County's well-known citizens. Rock Island, Ill.: Kramer & Co., 1908. Digital version at Ancestry ($).
  • Historical Encyclopedia of Illinois and History of Rock Island County. Chicago: Munsell Pub. Co., 1914. Digital version at Ancestry ($).
  • The Early Day of Rock Island and Davenport: The Narratives of J.W. Spencer and J.M.D. Burrows. Chicago: Lakeside Press, R.R. Donnelley & Sons Co., 1942. Digital version at Ancestry ($).

Land and Property



  • Civil War
    Civil War service men from Rock Island 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 Rock Island County.
- 37th Regiment, Illinois Infantry, Companies A and H.
- 43rd Regiment, Illinois Infantry, Company E.
- 45th Regiment, Illinois Infantry, Company H.
- 51st Regiment, Illinois Infantry, Company H.
- 58th Regiment, Illinois Infantry, Company K.
- 65th Regiment, Illinois Infantry (Scotch Regiment), Company B.
- 66th Regiment, Illinois Infantry, Company C.
- 71st Regiment, Illinois Infantry, Company D.
- 89th Regiment, Illinois Infantry, Company F.
- 93rd Regiment, Illinois Infantry, Company A.


Newspapers and Obituaries

Probate Records

An unspecified number of Rock Island County probate records are available in Illinois, Probate Records, 1819-1970.

Rock Island County Probate Case Files Index, 1834-1899, courtesy: Illinois State Archives.


County Courthouse

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

Family History Library

Illinois Regional Archives Depository (IRAD)

Public Libraries

Social Groups Online


Rock Island County Historical Society – Research Library and Museum is located at 822 11th Ave. Moline, IL 61265-1221. Phone: 309-764-8590 for hours of operation as they are open (in 2010) 9 -4 on Wed, Thurs, Fri and Sat.
They have a very good research library containing almost all the local newspapers both in bound volumes and some on microfilm. They also have a large selection of books and surname index cards cross referenced to newspaper articles. Many filing cabinets contain local genealogies, histories, government records, military records, historical documents, church records, etc.


Vital Records

The website of the Rock Island County Clerk's Office explains how to order birth, marriage, civil union, and death records.

Web Sites


  1. Rock Island Arsenal,
  2. The Handybook for Genealogists: United States of America,10th ed. (Draper, UT:Everton Publishers, 2002).