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McHenry County, Illinois
Map of Illinois highlighting McHenry County
Location in the state of Illinois
Map of the U.S. highlighting Illinois
Location of Illinois in the U.S.
Founded: January 16, 1836
County Seat Woodstock
Address McHenry Co. Government Ctr
2200 North Seminary Avenue
Woodstock, IL 60098


Named for: William McHenry

United States Gotoarrow.png Illinois Gotoarrow.png McHenry County

Civil Records

Record Type: Birth Marriage Death Census Land Probate
records begin:


Birth records for McHenry County are available through the Illinois Regional Archives Depository (IRAD), Northern Illinois Univeristy:

  • Birth Certificates, Delayed - 1849-1900
  • Birth Records, 1877-1902
  • Birth Record Index, 1849-1916

Birth records from 1877-present can be ordered directly from the McHenry County Clerk using the Vital Records Application Form.


1837-1900 Illinois Statewide Marriage Index, 1763-1900
1837-1923 Illinois Regional Archives Depository (IRAD) - Northern Illinois University
1877-present McHenry County Clerk - Vital Records Information and Request Form

Search the Illinois Statewide Marriage Index, 1763–1900 at the Illinois State Archives web site for McHenry County marriages from 1837-1900.[1]

Marriage records from 1837-1923 are available through the Illinois Regional Archives Depository (IRAD), Northern Illinois Univeristy.

Marriage records from 1877-present can be ordered directly from the McHenry County Clerk using the Vital Records Application Form.

Marriages in McHenry County may also have been mentioned in area newspapers.


An Index to McHenry County Death records from 1916-1950 is available as part of the Database of Illinois Death Certificates, 1916-1950 on the Illinois State Archives web site.  Use the index to discover the death date and death certificate number for an ancestor, then contact the McHenry County Clerk to order the corresponding death certificate.

McHenry County death certificates prior to 1916 are not included in the Illinois Statewide Death Index, Pre–1916 on the Illinois State Archives web site (as of July 2011).


Historical populations
Census Pop.  %±
1840 2,578
1850 14,978 481.0%
1860 22,089 47.5%
1870 23,762 7.6%
1880 24,908 4.8%
1890 26,114 4.8%
1900 29,759 14.0%
1910 32,509 9.2%
1920 33,164 2.0%
1930 35,079 5.8%
1940 37,311 6.4%
1950 50,656 35.8%
1960 84,210 66.2%
1970 111,555 32.5%
1980 147,897 32.6%
1990 183,241 23.9%
2000 260,077 41.9%
2010 308,760 18.7%
Source: "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau.


22nd Judicial Circuit Court, Public Case Access to search for family court cases.  Database also includes traffic violations, small claims, and criminal complaints.


McHenry County Recorder
Administration Building
667 Ware Rd.
Woodstock, IL 60098

By mail:
McHenry County Recorder
Government Center
2200 N. Seminary Ave.
Woodstock, IL 60098

Land records are extraordinarily accessible in McHenry County.  The County Recorder's web site includes a free web search.  The index to deeds, mortgages, affidavits, liens, and more can be searched by name and/or document type and/or date.  The system can return a maximum of 200 hits, and begins with the most recent transactions first. Because the index contains thousands of entries, searchers may need to include a date range as well as surname, to ensure that the oldest records are included in the results.

Records from the original leather-bound first volume of the McHenry County Commissioners’ Court Minutes from 1837 - 1848 are available in PDF format online at the County Recorder's site, as well.  This Board established precincts (townships would come later), set the rate for taxable property, and began the process of laying out roads and determining the location for the county seat. Because Lake County wasn't divided off until March of 1839, early Lake County information is included.

Family Maps of McHenry County, Illinois (2008) plats the land of many nineteenth-century McHenry County residents. The publisher's bookstore includes a free online surname index. FHL Book 977.322 E7b


Civil War

3rd Regiment IL Infantry Co G.jpg
Civil War service men from McHenry 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 McHenry County.

-3rd Regiment, Illinois Cavalry, Company A (at right, 1863).

-36th Regiment, Illinois Infantry, Company H.

-52nd Regiment, Illinois Infantry, Company I.

-95th Regiment, Illinois Infantry, Companies A, C, D, F, H, and I.

World War II

Draft cards have been digitzed and indexed, and are available at


An unspecified number of McHenry County probate records are available in the FamilySearch collection Illinois, Probate Records, 1819-1970.  Records include Non-Probated Wills 1886-1976Probate Records 1840-1843Probate Records v. 4 1844-1985,and overlapping collects of Will Records: 1898-1923 and 1915-1919.


Voter Registration

The 1877 Biographical Directory of the Tax-payers and Voters of McHenry County includes listings of men registered to vote or who paid taxes in 1877. Some listings include brief biographies giving his occupation, the date and place of birth for both the man and his wife, their marriage date, and the number of children.

Community Records and Resources


Ethnic Research

African American

The following have information concerning African American research.




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

Church Records

An index to the Early Records of St. John the Baptist Catholic Church, Johnsburg, McHenry County, Illinois, Volume I, 1852-1868 has been created by the McHenry County Illinois Genealogical Society.

Local Histories

History of McHenry County, Illinois : together with sketches of its cities, villages and towns, educational, religious, civil, military, and political history, portraits of prominent persons, and biographies of representative citizens : also a condensed History of Illinois, embodying accounts of pre-historic races, aborigines, Winnebago and Black Hawk wars, and a brief review of its civil and political history.  Chicago: Inter-State Pub. Co., 1885, 991 pgs. (Heritage Quest)

History of McHenry County, Illinois; Chicago: Munsell Pub. Co., 1922, 1076 pgs. (Heritage Quest)


Libraries and Societies

Algonquin Area Public Library

2600 Harnish Dr.
Algonquin, IL 60102
(847) 458-6060

Genealogy and Local History collections at the Algonquin Area Public Library are described in the document Genealogy Pathfinder for Algonquin Library. Digital resources include the Algonquin Area Obituary Index, a searchable listing of selected obituaries mentioning Algonquin or Lake in the Hills from from the Daily Herald and Elgin Courier News beginning January 1, 2005.

The Illinois Digital Archives includes a collection of Algonquin and Lake in the Hills photos and documents.

Crystal Lake Family History Center

480 N Walkup Ave
Crystal Lake, IL  60014

Family History Centers are branches of FamilySearch's Family History Library in Salt Lake City, Utah and circulate microfilm and microfiche from the Family History Library in Salt Lake City, Utah.  Contact the Crystal Lake Family History Center to learn more about their facilities and resources.

Crystal Lake Historical Society

PO Box 1151
Crystal Lake, IL  60039-1151

The Crystal Lake Historical Society is located in the Colonel Palmer House at the intersection of Illinois Route 176 and Terra Cotta Road in Crystal Lake. Their Research/Archives Room resources include newspapers from 1875, published county and local histories, atlases, maps and family files. On-line resources include the Index to Death Notices/Obituaries in the Nunda/Crystal Lake Herald, which provides details of name, age, date of death and date of burial for more than 33,000 people, dating back to 1875.

Crystal Lake Public Library

126 Paddock Street
Crystal Lake, IL 60014
815.459.9581 fax

The Crystal Lake Public Library has a genealogy collection that is helpful in McHenry County research. On-line resources include indexes to the the Lake Avenue, Mt. Thabor, and Union cemeteries.

Illinois State Historical Society

P.O. Box 1800
Springfield, IL 62705-1800

The Journal of the Illinois State Historical Society (1950-2006)

Illinois Heritage (1997-2008)

Marengo-Union Library

200 S. State St.
Marengo, Illinois 60152

Woodstock Public Library

Woodstock Public Library.jpg
414 W. Judd Street
Woodstock, IL 60098

A significant genelogical resource available through the Woodstock Public Library's Genealogy and Local History web site is the on-line searchable Woodstock Surname Index, an every-name index of 13 local history publications

Many of the library's local history pamphlets and local ephemera have been digitized are available on the LookAtIllinois web site. How to Research Your Old House is an excellent research guide to library collections and county records.

The library has made its local historic photos collection available on-line through Flickr, in the Woodstock Illinois Historic Photographs collection. 

Reference librarians are very knowledgeable about Woodstock-area genealogical resources, and are accessible through the library's Contact Us on-line reference request form.


Crystal Lake Herald 

Marriages, 1880-1979 --  These indexes represent a list of couples whose notice of marriage license issued, or marriage performed or wedding conducted, or news items for anniversaries celebrated, appeared in the weekly Crystal Lake Herald newspaper. Information was not necessarily limited to residents of Crystal Lake and/or Nunda Township. Researchers should look for variant spellings within each index.

The Index, broken down by 10 year intervals, gives:

  • Bride’s name
  • Groom’s name
  • Issue date and page

Daily Herald

Elgin Courier News

Woodstock Independent


Northwest Herald



The Algonquin Area Newspapers Index includes obituaries appearing in the Northwest Herald and Algonquin/Lake in the Hills Countryside from January 1, 2005 - Present. Selected obituaries mentioning Algonquin or Lake in the Hills from the Daily Herald and Elgin Courier News are also included.

Crystal Lake/Nunda

The McHenry County Genealogical Society has created an index to the names of deceased individuals whose notice of death appeared in the weekly Crystal Lake Herald newspaper. Information was gleaned from obituaries, death notices, police reports, and newspaper articles and is not necessarily limited to residents of Crystal Lake and/or Nunda Township. It was not unusual for a death notice to appear months and even years after the event, particularly in the case of war dead. Researchers should scan several indexes when searching for the name of a specific individual and look for variant spellings within each index.

Index to Deaths Appearing in the Nunda (Crystal Lake) Herald

Index to Deaths Appearing in the Crystal Lake Herald

History and Geography

Exchange Hotel Woodstock IL 1847.jpg

McHenry County was created 16 January 1836 from Cook County.  Historically, all or part of the present county were parts of the following counties[2]:

1831–1836   Cook
1831–1836   LaSalle
1825–1831   Putnam
1823–1825   Fulton
1821–1823   Pike
1819–1821   Clark
1816–1819   Crawford
1815–1816   Edwards
1812–1815   Madison
1801–1812   St. Clair
1795–1801   Knox, Northwest Territory

If your ancestor lived in what is now McHenry County prior to the county formation in 1836, you may find records mentioning your ancestor in one of the counties listed above.

Neighboring Counties

McHenry County borders the following counties:

Populated Places

Web Sites


  1. "Illinois Statewide Marriage Index-Counties and Date Span Included." The Official Web site for Illinois Secretary of State Jesse White. N.p., n.d. Web. 8 July 2011. <>.
  2. "McHenry County Fact Sheet."