Shelby County, Illinois Genealogy

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Shelby County, Illinois
Boundary map of Shelby County, Illinois
Map of the U.S. highlighting Illinois
Location of Illinois in the U.S.
Founded: January 23, 1827
County Seat Shelbyville
Shelby County Courthouse.gif
Photo courtesy Illinois Regional Archives Depository, Illinois State Archives
Address Shelby County Courthouse
301 E. Main Street
Shelbyville, Illinois 62565
(217) 774-4421
Shelby County Website


United States Gotoarrow.png Illinois Gotoarrow.png Shelby County

Shelby County Organization

Shelby County's civil records start the following years:

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

Historical Facts

Isaac Shelby.JPG
The county is named after Kentucky's First Governor Isaac Shelby (1750-1826).[1]

Parent County

  • 1827--Shelby County was created 23 January 1827 from Fayette County.  County seat: Shelbyville [2]

Boundary Changes

See an interactive map of Shelby County boundary changes.

Record Loss

November 17, 1894 -- Courthouse burned and many records were damaged.

For further information on researching in burned counties, see the following:

Places / Localities

Populated Places

Neighboring Counties




Gotoarrow.png Illinois Cemeteries for more information.

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.


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, Shelby County on page 188.]

Church Records

Timeline of some of the major churches in Shelby County: [3]

  • 1825 - Methodist Episcopal (M.E.) Church in Shelbyville was the pioneer church in the county
  • 1832 - Church of Christ (Baptist) in Shelbyville. Their first meetinghouse was built in 1843. 1839 - Walnut Grove Presbyterian Church. This congregation did not thrive.
  • 1832 - Ash Grove Baptist Church south of Windsor
  • 1834 - Sand Creek
  • 1843 to 1852 - Shelbyville Presbyterian Church
  • 1850 - St. Paul's Reformed Church located northwest of Shelbyville
  • 1852 -Shelbyville Presbyterian Church organized at Prairie Bird. First building condtructed in Shelbyville in 1856
  • 1859 - Windsor Baptist Church
  • 1860 - Antioch Baptist Church
  • 1860 - Bethany Baptist Church
  • 1860 - Welborn Creek Baptist Church
  • 1860 - West Okaw Presbyterian Church in Prairie Home.
  • 1862 - Shelbyville Baptist Church was the second Baptist Church organized in the County after the original Church of Christ created in 1832
  • 1867 - Tower Hill Presbyterian Church
  • 1867 - Moweaqua Presbyterian Church .
  • 1875 - African Methodist Episcopal (M.E.) Church in Shelbyville
  • 1881 - Cowden Free Methodist was the first Free Methodist church organized in the county. Several others have been organized since.

Court Records

Ethnic Research

African American

The following have information concerning African American research.



Land and Property

Gotoarrow.png Illinois Land and Property for more information.

1827-present The original land and property records for Shelby County are held by the County Recorder. See the info box above for contact information. The following copies are available:



  • Civil War
    Civil War service men from Shelby 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 Shelby County.
- 35th Regiment, Illinois Infantry, Company .
- 41st Regiment, Illinois Infantry, Company H.
- 53rd Regiment, Illinois Infantry, Company G.
- 54th Regiment, Illinois Infantry, Companies F and H.


Newspapers and Obituaries

Probate Records

Gotoarrow.png Illinois Probate Records for more information.


County Courthouse

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

Family History Centers

There are over 4500 Family History Centers worldwide which serve as branch facilities of the Family History Library in Salt Lake City, Utah.  Volunteers provide research assistance to help patrons identify their ancestors.  Microfilm and microfiche may be ordered from the FHL collection at a nominal cost.  Locate your nearest Family History Center at the FamilySearch website.  Call ahead to verify operating hours.  All are welcome.

The following centers are accessible to residents of Shelby County, Illinois:

Champaign Illinois Family History Center
604 W Windsor Rd
Champaign, Champaign, Illinois
Phone: 217-352-8063
Hours: Thur-Sat 9:30-12:30pm; Thur 7pm-9pm; or by appt

Decatur Illinois Family History Center
3955 Lourdes Ln
Decatur, Macon, Illinois
Phone: 217-875-9396
Hours: T, Sat 10am-3pm; Th 6pm-9pm

Springfield Illinois Family History Center
3601 Buckeye Dr
Springfield, Sangamon, Illinois
Phone: 217-529-7930
Hours: T 6pm-9pm; W 10am-2pm, 6pm-9pm; Sat 10am-2pm

Please note: Addresses posted are not mailing addresses. Due to limited staff, Family History Centers are unable to respond to mail inquiries.

Illinois Regional Archives Depository (IRAD)

The Illinois State Archives administers a system of Illinois Regional Archives Depositories (IRAD) to manage the archival records of local governments.  Local governments which have transferred records to the regional depositories include counties, townships, municipalities, and school districts.  The records of Shelby County come under the jurisdiction of the Eastern Illinois University (EIU) regional depository.

Illinois Regional Archives Depository (IRAD)
Booth Library
Eastern Illinois University (EIU)
600 Lincoln Avenue
Charleston, IL 61920
Telephone: (217) 581-6093

Hours: Monday – Friday, except state holidays
9:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.; 1:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m.

Note: The depository is staffed by graduate student interns. Because of class scheduling conflicts, hours may vary somewhat from the published schedule. Researchers are urged to call before planning a visit.


Dry Point Township Library
County Highway 651
Cowden, IL 62422
Phone: (217) 783-2616

Herrick Township Public Library
303 North Broadway
Herrick, IL 62431
Phone: (618) 428-5223

Moweaqua Public Library District
600 North Putnam Street
Moweaqua, IL 62550
Phone: (217) 768-4700

Shelbyville Public Library
154 North Broadway
Shelbyville, IL 62565
Phone: (217) 774-4432

Windsor Storm Memorial Public Library District
102 South Maple
Windsor, IL 61957
Phone: (217) 459-2498

Social Groups Online



Vital Records

Gotoarrow.png Illinois Vital Records for more information.


1848–present  The original Shelby County birth records 1848- present are housed in the office of the County Clerk. The following copies are available:

  • 1848-1915 Birth Certificates - IRAD-EIU Search for Shelby County records. How to use IRAD
  • 1848-1906 Birth Record Index - IRAD-EIU Search for Shelby County records.


1827–present  The original Shelby County marriage records 1827-present are housed in the office of the County Clerk. The following copies are available:

  • 1871–1876 Marriage License Applications - IRAD-EIU Search for Shelby County records. How to use IRAD
  • 1827-1922 Marriage Record - IRAD-EIU Search for Shelby County records.
  • 1878-1906 Marriage Record Index - IRAD-EIU Search for Shelby County records.

The following abstracts are available:


1878–present  The original Shelby County death records 1878-present are housed in the office of the County Clerk. The following copies are available:

  • 1878–1917 Death Record - IRAD-EIU Search for Shelby County records. How to use IRAD
  • 1878–1902 Death Record Index - IRAD-EIU Search for Shelby County records.
  • 1952-1955 Death Certificates, Coroner - IRAD-EIU Search for Shelby County records.

The following abstracts are available:

Web Sites

Databases pertinent to Shelby County


  1. "List of Counties in Tennessee," Wikipedia.
  2. The Handybook for Genealogists: United States of America,10th ed. (Draper, UT:Everton Publishers, 2002).
  3. Historic sketch and biographical album of Shelby County, Illinois : embellished with portraits of well-known residents of Shelby County, Illinois. (Shelbyville, Ill. : The Wilder Pub. Co., 1900.)p 179-204