ILLINOIS COURTHOUSES
Share your Research Trip Experiences!


What to expect once you get there (wherever "there" may be!). These are the true experiences of researchers who have actually visited the courthouses and tried to obtain copies of their ancestors' records. This webpage is meant to be helpful to prepare you for your research trip. Bear in mind these are the experiences of individuals on individual days -- everyone has a bad day, including county clerks. There is always the chance that something the researcher said or did struck a wrong chord with the county clerk employee that caused an unpleasant response - or the flip side is something they said got them some extra special attention.
Your actual experience may differ :-)



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Note: Illinois Genealogy Trails is not responsible for the opinions of researchers posted here :-)



COUNTY

COMMENTS

Courthouse Location

General Attitude of Courthouse Personnel

Access to Records
(able to go through them yourself or is access restricted to courthouse personnel?)

Original Records Available or typed transcriptions?

Cost of record
(date of visit)

Other Comments

Submitter name &
Surnames being researched in that county

ADAMS
Courthouse located in Quincy

GREAT!

Access to Records, not Vitals

Original

2003:
Marriage - $4.00
Birth/Death - $9.00

They are good about letting you in the basement to look over documents and those are .50 cents each for copies. Vital Statistics WON'T let you look for yourself, you need them to look. They will be more than happy to help as long as they are not busy and if you catch them on the right day, they won't moan about you buying it if they pull it. Their marriage copies are like $4.00 for a certified copy (all they do is certified) and birth and death are $9.00 each

Mindy

ALEXANDER COUNTY

 Last November I went to the Alexander Court clerks office for a visit to the archives. They are not kept at the courthouse. They only allow researchers to access the archives on Friday afternoons and only with an appointment made at least a week in advance. You have to be accompanied by the Clerk of Court personally.
The archives are in great disarray and disorder, with no effort being made to keep them free of mildew, etc. I could find virtually nothing since there was no order. The old records were just stacked randomly on tables and shelves, so crowded it was difficult to walk around the room.
While Mr. Jones, the Clerk, was apologetic, he indicated he had neither funding nor personnel in doing anything to remedy the squalid conditions.
There was no cost for the visit, but there was also no means to copy records if any had been found.
 Gary Whitaker
(Whitaker, Childers, Miller, Hutson, Webb, White family researcher)

gwhitaker@windstream.net
 

Bond County

           

BOONE COUNTY

           

Brown County

           

BUREAU COUNTY

           

Calhoun County

           

CARROLL COUNTY
Courthouse located in Mount Carroll

Friendly and helpful

Yes, looked at the Death Index

Original

2004:
$12.00

 

Chuck Hersey
researching: Hersey, Hammerstein, Hobart

CASS County

           

Champaign County

           

Christian County

           

CLARK County

           

Clay County

           

Clinton County

           

COLES
Courthouse located in Charleston, IL

Business-like, helpful.

Able to view records

Original Available

$14 (Yikes!)
April 2003

View my website for all the rules:
RULES

Very security-conscious. You empty your pockets at the courthouse entrance and walk through a metal detector. They took both the cell phone and a golf tee(!) I had in my pocket and did not return them till I left the courthouse.

Kim is researching
HICKS

COOK
Chicago

     

RULES
The fee for a genealogical record is $7 for the first copy. The fee for geneal. death records is $10

   

CRAWFORD COUNTY

           

CUMBERLAND COUNTY

       

Library folks were very helpful.

Kim is researching
HICKS

DeKalb County

           

De Witt County
Courthouse located in Clinton

Friendly - Helpful

Allowed us in the area and showed us what books we needed

 Original available

 2006

 These people were a great help!

Lacinda Boulware is researching: Tucker, Geer, Cornett, Leek, Beckham, Kohlbecker

DOUGLAS COUNTY

           

DuPage County

           

EDGAR COUNTY

           

Edwards County
Courthouse located in Albion

County Clerk - friendly

Circuit Clerk- indifferent

Able to view records

original available

copies 50 cents
(certified copies up to $5.00)

If possible, look it up yourself. Office employees will not do a THOROUGH search, even if you pay them. Or contact Edwards Co. Historical Society.

 

EFFINGHAM COUNTY

     original available  

 My experience was by mail, Effingham County always responded within 2 weeks time, and I was very happy with their service.

 

Fayette County

           

FORD COUNTY

           

FRANKLIN COUNTY

           

Fulton County

           

GALLATIN COUNTY

           

Greene County

           

Grundy County

           

HAMILTON COUNTY

           

Hancock County

           

Hardin County

           

Henderson County

           

HENRY COUNTY

           

Iroquois County

           

JACKSON COUNTY

           

JASPER
Courthouse located in Newton

Not helpful, bordering on rude.

View indexes only. Not allowed to view whole record before paying for it.

Typed transcriptions

$7.00 in 1998

Newton Public Library personnel were both friendly and helpful.

Kim is researching
HICKS, PRINTZ, STROLE, THOMPSON

JEFFERSON COUNTY
100 S. 10th St.
Mt. Vernon, Illinois

 Friendly, Helpful.

Able to view records. After 1916, they look up.

 Original record

 $ in 2004/05

They accept checks

 Mentioned C.E. Brehm library, They were really Friendly, Helpful too!

Catherine Wiggins is researching Wiggins, Birkhimer, Oliver, Youngblood, Wilson

Jersey County

           

JO DAVIESS COUNTY

           

JOHNSON COUNTY

           

KANE

Not overly friendly, but efficient.

Stand behind the counter and ask for the record you want.

Original

$7.00 in 1999
NEW FEES, 2004: The base fee increased to $9. People getting those copies also pay $2 into the county's automation fund, which collects money to pay for future technology updates, so the actual cost of a getting a copy of a marriage license, birth and death certificate will be $11.

I *think* you can browse an index. I needed only 1 record and I already had the date. I had to sign a form giving my relation to the deceased for a death record from 1966 ("Cousin" sufficed)

Kim is researching
PRINTZ

KANKAKEE COUNTY

           

KENDALL COUNTY

           

KNOX COUNTY

           

LASALLE COUNTY

           

Lake County

           

Lawrence County

           

LEE COUNTY

           

Livingston County
Courthouse is located in Pontiac

friendly with a little bit of attitude  Able to view records  transcription only  2000: $7.00    

Logan County
Courthouse is located in Lincoln

 Friendly, Helpful

 There were indexes but records were Limited

 Original

 2005: $5.00

 

 Becky Hebert researching: Hall, Dengler, Purlee, James

MACON COUNTY

           

MACOUPIN COUNTY

           

MADISON COUNTY

           

Marion County

           

MARSHALL COUNTY

           

Mason County
Courthouse is located in Havana

 All were very friendly and helpful

 Able to view records

Original

 8/26/2004 Marriage $3.00, general records $.25 if you made copy, $.50 if they made copy

 Someone is usually available just to help researchers and they are very knowledgeable!

 
Nash, Bowen

MASSAC COUNTY

           

MCDONOUGH COUNTY

           

MCHENRY COUNTY

           

McLean County

           

MENARD
Menard County Courthouse is in Petersburg, IL

Friendly and helpful


"Very Friendly"

Able to view records

Original

2003: $1.00

Have names and dates - it makes things go a lot faster.


This is the only courthouse that I was able to videotape on the inside, it seems that many staff frown on pictures in the courthouse

Betty Albert


Doug

Mercer County

           

MONROE COUNTY

           

Montgomery County

           

MORGAN COUNTY

           

MOULTRIE COUNTY

           

Ogle County

           

PEORIA COUNTY
Courthouse located in Peoria

2004:
Staff were Helpful, Business-like



Summer 2008:
Most difficult, and with the rudest staff, I've ever encountered
   

June 2004

50 ¢ for copies



Summer 2008:
For each name: $5 to search and then $11 for a non-cert. copy

Anyone familiar with doing research will find this is probably one of the most user friendly counties in the area. The personnel are friendly and helpful. (2004)


Summer 2008
The clerk behind the desk informed me that someone would have to search the documents and it was $5 a name, and then $11 to get a non-cert copy of the document. When i asked if i could search the index or files myself, i was emphatically told no, only the clerks could view the documents. Then, she dismissed me and waited on the next person in line.

 Bette Clarke - 2004



Cindy Hall - 2008

PERRY COUNTY

           

Piatt County

           

PIKE COUNTY
Courthouse located in Pittsfield

VERY FRIENDLY & HELPFUL

Able to view records

ORIGINAL

2002:
25 ¢ to $10.00

The people in Pike Co are wonderful, the records in good order. You will have a pleasant experience

Christine is researching the KESTERSON surname

POPE COUNTY

           

PULASKI
Courthouse is located in Mounds City

friendly, helpful

limited access

transcription only

July 2003

As of July 2003, their vault containing old documents including probate records was closed off to the public due to disarray of records. According to clerk, clean-up is in progress.

 

PUTNAM COUNTY

           

RANDOLPH COUNTY

           

RICHLAND COUNTY

           

ROCK ISLAND COUNTY

           

SALINE COUNTY

           

SANGAMON

           

SCHUYLER COUNTY
Rushville, Illinois

super friendly on the phone

 phone 2006

 ORIGINAL

 $3.00

received records by mail in under a week

 

Scott County

           

SHELBY COUNTY

           

ST. CLAIR COUNTY
# 10 Public Square, Belleville, Illinois

By phone - Very Helpful, Kind, Friendly, Organized, Timely

experience was by phone....

 ORIGINAL

Death Cert. $13.85 (money order) - 2004/05

They only take Money Orders, no checks or cash, I have used many County courthouses, here in Illinois and Indiana. They are the BEST.

C. Wiggins

STARK COUNTY

           

Stephenson County

 Very helpful, willing to answer all questions asked

 online access

 ORIGINAL

$4.00 - 2005

 Very friendly. Current Court records also available at www.judici.com

 

TAZEWELL COUNTY

           

UNION COUNTY
Jonesboro

Very, very helpful and friendly

Able to view records

ORIGINAL

2001

 

Casper, Owen, Harris, Land

VERMILION COUNTY
Courthouse is located in Danville, Vermilion County

Friendly & helpful.

Full access.
Indexes available

??
I transcribed.

??
I transcribed

They were kind of surprised anyone wanted to view their records & didn't quite know what to do with me. They ended up opening their vault and leaving me alone to hunt around in whatever books I wanted. Genealogist's paradise!

Kim
HINTON, HICKS

Wabash County

           

Warren County

           

WASHINGTON COUNTY

           

Wayne County

           

WHITE COUNTY

           

WHITESIDE COUNTY

           

WILL COUNTY

           

WILLIAMSON
Courthouse is located in Marion

Very Friendly and helpful

Indexes only, they would read you the information off the original document so you don't end up with a copy you don't need

Original record available

$2.00 - Oct 2003

Only 4 lookups allowed per day

Thanks to Terry R who is researching
Fly, Chew, Jarvis

Winnebago County

           

WOODFORD COUNTY

           

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©2003, Kim Torp