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Illinois Genealogy Resources

Census Records

Starting in 1790, the United States government took a census every 10 years. Illinois residents are included in censuses from 1810 to 1930. The 1800 census is lost, and only Randolph County remains from the 1810 census. The 1890 census was destroyed, except for a few names from Mound Township, McDonough County. All other Illinois federal censuses from 1820, 1830, 1840, 1850, 1860, 1870, 1880, 1900, 1910, 1920 and 1930 are available to the public. Original 1880 population schedules are at the Illinois State Archives. The 1850 Edgar County census specifies residents' counties of birth. The Illinois State Archives has originals and microfilm of the 1850-80 agriculture, industry, and mortality schedules; 1880 schedule of "defective, dependent, and delinquent" inhabitants; and social statistics for 1850-70. Microfilms of the special schedules are available on interlibrary loan; many are indexed and published.

The 1790 through 1840 censuses give the name of the head of each household. Other household members are mentioned only by age groupings of males and females. The 1850 census was the first federal census to give the names of all members of each household.

Statewide surname indexes list every household in the Illinois censuses. For most families, they index only the first person listed in each household, who was usually the father or head of the household. Many families, however, had relatives or friends with a different surname living with them when the census was taken. In those cases, the first person of each surname in the household is included in the index.

Statewide surname indexes for the 1820, 1830, 1840, 1850 and 1860 censuses have been published. Indexes for the 1870 census for Chicago and Cook County are also available in book form. There is a SOUNDEX (phonetic) index on microfilm for part of the 1880 census (households with children born between the last half of 1869 and census day in 1880) and all of the 1900, 1910, and 1920 censuses. The Illinois state censuses are brief, but the head of household is listed by name with additional members listed in ten year age brackets divided by sex. This format is similar to the federal censuses taken before 1850. Additional information that was record included: members of the household eligible for Militia duties, value of the livestock, and the number of pounds of wool produced by the farm. The 1855 and 1865 state censuses are helpful in determining people's locations before and after the Civil War

The 1820, 1855, and 1865 schedules have survived reasonably intact, but most returns for 1825, 1830, 1835, and 1845 are missing, and almost half of the 1840 state census has been lost. The 1855 census has ninety (of one hundred) county schedules and includes information beyond what is on federal population schedules (for example, value of manufactured materials, livestock, and products of coal mines, and pounds of wool). The 1865 census adds the amount of coal produced and the numbers of distilleries and flour, grist, and saw mills. All but 3 of the state's 102 county schedules are extant for 1865. Researchers can borrow microfilm of surviving schedules from the Illinois State Library and elsewhere.

Countywide indexes to federal censuses often contain the names of every person in the household and may also include heads of households that were overlooked or whose names were misspelled in statewide indexes.

  • Census Online - Illinois
     
  • Frederick, Nancy Gubb. The 1880 Illinois census index : Soundex code 0200-0240, the code that was not filmed / Nancy Gubb Frederick. Evanston, IL (1208 Maple Ave., Evanston 60202) : N.G. Frederick, 1981. 287 p. ; 28 cm.
     
  • Genealogical Research Series Pamphlet 4: Federal Census Records
     
  • Genealogical Research Series Pamphlet 5: State Census Records
     
  • Historical United States Census Browser - Want to know how many 10-15 year olds were enumerated in the 1800 census? By state? By county? Here's the place to find out that and just about anything else census-related.
     
  • Illinois Census Records. 1818, see Illinois Census Returns 1810 and 1818, Margaret Cross Norton, ed. (Baltimore : Clearfield Co., 2002, reprint of 1935 original and 1969 reprint); 1820 (Edwards County missing), see Illinois Census Returns, 1820, Margaret Cross Norton, ed. (Baltimore : Genealogical Publishing Co. 1969, reprint of 1935 original); 1825 (Edwards, Fulton, Randolph counties only); 1830 (Morgan); 1835 (Fayette, Fulton, Jasper, Morgan); 1840 (thirty-five of eighty-seven counties extant); 1845 (Cass, Putnam, Tazewell); 1855 (90 percent extant); 1865 (all but Gallatin, Mason, Monroe; only Elm Grove Township in Tazewell County). See Illinois State Archives for additional information.
     
  • Illinois Census, 1820 - This is a companion work to the 1810 Federal and the 1818 Territorial censuses published in the Illinois Historical Collections. This Illinois state census lists the population by counties in 1820 and contains notes comparing discrepancies between names as written in the 1818 Territorial, the 1820 State, and the 1820 Federal censuses. There are over 25,000 records which indicate the following information: the name of the head of the family, number of males under 21, number of males age 21 and up, number of females under 18, and number of females age 18 and up. Subscription service from Ancestry.com.
     
  • Illinois 1850 Census - Find your ancestor in Illinois, 1850 Census Records. This  data set is part of the Genealogy Library subscription from Genealogy.com.

  • Illinois State Census 1855 – (FamilySearch) Name indexes for the Illinois State Census taken in 1855. The census names the head of household. Schedules do not exist for the following counties: Carroll, Champaign, Franklin, Gallatin, Henry, Jefferson, Jo Davies, Lake, Stark, Will, and Woodford.
     
  • Illinois State Archives Research Series Pamphlet No. 5: State Census Records
     
  • Jackson, Ronald Vern. Early Illinois / Ronald Vern Jackson, Altha Polson, Shirley P. Zachrison. Bountiful, Utah (1157 East 1850 South, Bountiful 84010) : Accelerated Indexing Systems, [1980- v. <1 > : ill. ; 29 cm.
     
  • Jackson, Ronald Vern. Illinois 1820 census index / editors, Ronald Vern Jackson, Gary Ronald Teeples. Bountiful, Utah (3346 S. Orchard Dr., Bountiful, Utah 84010) : Accelerated Indexing Systems, c1977. [20], 155 p. ; 28 cm.
     
  • Jackson, Ronald Vern. Illinois 1830 census index / editors Ronald Vern Jackson, Gary Ronald Teeples. Bountiful, Utah : Accelerated Indexing Systems, c1976. 63 p. : map ; 28 cm.
     
  • Jackson, Ronald Vern. Illinois 1840 census index / editors, Ronald Vern Jackson, Gary Ronald Teeples. Bountiful, Utah : Accelerated Indexing Systems, c1977. [56], 192 p. : map ; 29 cm.
     
  • Jackson, Ronald Vern. Illinois 1850 census index / editors, Ronald Vern Jackson, Gary Ronald Teeples. Bountiful, Utah : Accelerated Indexing Systems, c1976. [66], 580 p. : maps ; 28 cm.
     
  • Jackson, Ronald Vern. Illinois, 1860, federal census index, addendum : Coles, Dewitt, Franklin, Wabash & Warren Counties / editor, Ronald Vern Jackson. West Jordan, Utah : Genealogical Services, 1996. 1 v. (various pagings) : maps ; 28 cm.
     
  • Jackson, Ronald Vern. Illinois, 1860, north, federal census index / editor, Ronald Vern Jackson. West Jordan, Utah : Genealogical Services, 1996. 2 v. : map ; 28 cm.
     
  • Jackson, Ronald Vern. Illinois, 1860, south, federal census index / editor, Ronald Vern Jackson. West Jordan, Utah : Genealogical Services, 1997. 2 v. : maps ; 28 cm.
     
  • Norton, Margaret Cross, editor. Illinois Census Returns 1810 and 1818. Reprinted Baltimore, Maryland: Clearfield Company, Inc., 2002. Originally published in 1935.
     
  • Weible, Cherié L. "Illinois Sources: Exploring the Census." Illinois State Genealogical Society Quarterly 37, 4 (Winter 2005): 9-13.
The Illinois State Archives has mortality schedules, which list persons who died during the twelve months before the 1850, 1860, 1870 and 1880 federal censuses were taken. (Only Kendall through Woodford counties exist for the 1870 mortality schedules.) In addition to providing the same information about the deceased person that the regular census schedules provided for the living, mortality schedules also state the month and cause of death and the number of days ill prior to death. The Family History Library has copies of the schedules:
  • Jackson, Ronald Vern. Illinois 1850 mortality schedule / editors and compilers, Ronald Vern Jackson, Wylma Winmill, Shirley P. Zachrison. Bountiful, Utah (1157 E. 1850 S., Bountiful 84010) : Accelerated Indexing Systems, [1980] ca. 150 p. ; 29 cm.
     
  • Mortality Schedules of Illinois, 1850–1880. Illinois : Record Management Division, Secretary of State Office, 1967.
Territorial and state censuses were taken in 1810, 1818, 1820, 1825, 1830, 1835, 1840, 1845, 1855 and 1865. The 1810, 1818, and 1820 state censuses have been indexed and published. Some earlier Illinois residents were also listed in the 1807 Indiana territorial census:
  • Census of Indiana Territory for 1807. Indianapolis: Indiana Historical Society, 1980. This includes a surname index. Randolph County residents appear on this census.
     
  • Jackson, Ronald Vern, et al. Indiana 1807 Census Index. North Salt Lake, Utah: Accelerated Indexing Systems International, 1986.
The 1810–1855 territorial, state, and federal censuses have been indexed in one alphabetical sequence along with county election returns and other records. Bear in mind, however, that records for the 1825, 1835, and 1845 state censuses of many counties are missing or incomplete. The Illinois State Archives has the original card index complete through 1855. A microfilm copy made before the index was completed is:
  • Name Index to Early Illinois Records. Springfield, Ill.: Illinois State Archives, 1975.
     
  • Norton, Margaret Cross. Illinois Census Returns: 1810, 1818, Collections of the Illinois State Historical Library, vol. 24, Statistical series, vol. 2. Springfield, Illinois: ISHL, 1935. Only Randolph County is intact for 1810. Missing from the 1818 enumeration are Edwards County and surnames A-E and part of F from St. Clair County.
     
  • Norton, Margaret Cross, editor. Illinois Census Returns: 1820, Collections of the Illinois State Historical Library, vol. 26, Statistical series, vol. 3. Springfield, Illinois: ISHL, 1934.

Though not complete as of 1998, a separate card index to the 1865 state census is at the Illinois State Archives.

French Enumerations. French colonial censuses dated 1726, 1732, and 1752 name settlers in Illinois.

  • de Berardinis, Robert, "The 1726 Census of Illinois," ISGS Quarterly 34 (Summer 2002): 70-78.
     
  • de Barardinis, Robert, "1732 French Census of Illinois," ISGS Quarterly 32 (Fall 2000): 155-64.
     
  • de Barardinis, Robert, "The 1752 French Census of Illinois," ISGS Quarterly 32 (Winter 2000): 195-201.

Military Census. The Illinois State Archives preserves the Civil War enumeration conducted by enrolling officers. Entries include name, age, country or state of birth, occupation, and remarks about military assignment or exemption. These papers often include lists of volunteers and enlistment certificates, organized by township.

  • Military Censuses 1861-1863, record series (RS) 301.029, Adjutant General, RG 301, Illinois State Archives.