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Winnebago County, Illinois

Genealogy and History

 

 

 

Welcome to Genealogy Trails Winnebago County, Illinois

My name is Mark Seeberg and as your Winnebago County, Il host I try to post as much data online as possible in order to make it freely available to all. We gratefully accept contributions of raw data such as census information, marriage/birth/death records, obituaries, county histories, biographies, old newspaper items - anything that would help someone build their family tree!

Please email me @ MSeeberg84@aol.com with your contributions - every little bit helps.


I regret that I am unable to do personal research

This site is always updating

WINNEBAGO COUNTY

Established January 16, 1836

Named for the Winnebago Native American tribe who once occupied
that part of northern Illinois.
The Native American word Winnebago translates to "fish eater."

 

County Seat:   Rockford 


Surrounding Counties
Boone
Dekalb
Ogle
Stephenson

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TOWNSHIPS/TOWNS/CITIES/POPULATED PLACES:

VIEW TOWNSHIP MAP

EAST

  • Laona--no incorporation--includes community of  Lake Summerset
  • Shirland--no incorporation--includes unincorporated village of Shirland
  • Durand--name changed from Howard (circa 1869)--includes village of Durand
  • Harrison--no incorporation
  • Pecatonica --named changed from Lysander (date unknown)-- The name Pecatonica can be traced to the Indian word "peeketolika", meaning "crooked river" --includes village of Pecatonica
  • Burritt--no incorporation
  • Seward--no incorporation/includes unincorporated town of Seward
  • Winnebago--name changed from Elida (circa 1869)--includes village of  Winnebago

WEST

 The PAPER VILLAGE of WINNEBAGO

 

 

 

If I could post these, perhaps the names and situations would ring a bell with people familiar with local history.  There are several paternal relations I'm researching of which mysteries persist.  Notably:

1) The Case of the Bigamous Belgian:  My 2x-grandfather Jules Joseph Carre, a French-speaking immigrant who married an Irish immigrant named Anna Elizabeth Degnan in Rockford, had two children by 1880, then deserted the family and wound up in the newspapers at some point because he had gone on to marry two other women, one in Green Bay, Wisconsin and one in Belgium.  My family refers to him as "the Bigamous Belgian."  When eventually exposed and rejected by all three women in 1897, he declared his real surname was "Lequarie" and disappeared.  Anna Degnan Carre styled herself as "widowed" for the rest of her life.  The story seems to have been carefully ignored by the Rockford papers, possibly because the Degnans were a long-established family of some prominence.  Their daughter, Mary Louise Carre, married Charles Arthur Simpson.

2) The Hidden History of Martha J. Simpson:  My 2x-great-grandmother Martha J. Simpson, married to Theodore Simpson--they came out as a married couple from Franklin County, Pennsylvania, in the 1880's.  We have no idea who she was prior to marriage;  no record of their marriage, actually.  No maiden surname ever given, nor mention of parents of siblings, even in her brief obituaries.  They didn't have any biological children and wound up adopting Charles Arthur Simpson from Ogle County, whom I suspect was also a relative of Theodore's because he had a large family there.  After her husband's death, Martha dealt in real estate and ran a boarding establishment on the second floor of a commercial building on Main Street (it's a half-derelict faux Spanish building with a defunct theater now) where my grandfather, Milton Reeder Getz, met her grand-daughter, his eventual second wife, Mary Elizabeth Simpson.

3) The Strange Estrangement Between Milton Reeder Getz and First Wife Margaret Pearl Driver:  Margaret grew up poor and neglected and before marrying Milton brought up another man on charges of "bastardy."  We never did find out what happened to that child.  She and Milton married shortly thereafter, had a son, Donald, and then in 1919 had a daughter, Mildred Berenice.  Milton immediately put his son in his stepmother's care in Winnebago and went to live in Martha Simpson's Rockford Boarding establishment.  Margaret Pearl sued for spousal support, which the courts denied her for no declared reason the newspapers even got close to mentioning.  She wound up living with little Mildred in the Jennie Snow Home for Aged Ladies until 1920 when the couple appeared in court and agreed to give up Mildred for adoption.  There happened to be a couple looking to adopt a child at the courthouse who promptly took the baby off the judge's hands (I suspect social-worker collusion).  I've traced Mildren to a long life, perhaps never knowing she was adopted.  My uncle and aunts--her half siblings--had never heard of her prior to my investigations.  Obviously, Milton did not believe that Mildred was his daughter and the courts agreed with him without publicly stating why, but I found no evidence that a divorce was ever requested.  Neither Milton nor Margaret appears to have been at all religious.  Sometime after the adoption, Margaret Pearl wound up in the state asylum in Dixon and died in 1930 at the age of 34 of pneumonia.  She's buried anonymously on the hospital's grounds somewhere.  She certainly had a sad life, and someday I'm going to petition an Illinois judge to get her records.  Milton, by then age 35, married my grandmother, age 18, within four months of Margaret's death.

--Charmaine Getz, clgetz@comcast.net

 

 

THIS WEEK'S LINK OF INTEREST:

 Official Webstire of the AAGPBL, All-American Girls Professional Baseball League Players Association (Rockford Peaches)

UPDATES

Some history concerning the Rockford Peaches --various sources

News articles regarding Winnebago County soldiers in World War I  --various sources

News articles regarding Winnebago County soldiers in Vietnam --various sources 

Rockford Native and Cinema, Radio and Television Star, Betty Jane Rhodes in the News --various sources

The Swedish Element in Rockford  --O.M. Nelson, 1940

News Concerning Rockford Stuntman Raymond "Suicide" Hayes --various sources

A Research Summary Concerning The Steamboat "Rockford" --Contributed by Ric Skinner, Sturbridge MA, SKINNER/BURRITT/ARNDT/CLEWELL, Ric.skinner@gmail.com

List of Civil War Pensioners, 1883

Carl Johan Fabian Carlsson --a letter from Rockford, 1892 --contributed by Joel Anderson, Karlstad, Sweden

The History of South Beloit in the News --various sources

Metropolitan Holiness Church, The "Holy Jumpers" in Rockford --various sources

 


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Online Data

 

 WINNEBAGO COUNTY

ROCKFORD

Rockford 1857 City Register

MAPS

1835 ILLINOIS/MISSOURI *

*courtesy of Mr. Michael Eaton, Pecatonica Historical Society

Emigrants from Falkoping area, Skaraborg, Sweden - Winnebago County *

*courtesy of Annelie Jonsson , Emigrant.se

Immigrants from Falkoping, News and Obits

NEWSPAPER GLEANINGS

--includes birth, marriage and death notices, business, farming, gossip, tragedies, weather and historically significant events

 

FAMILIES

The Wetherell Family *

 *Courtesy of Mrs. Muriel Ellis muriel.ellis@virgin.net

The Hersey-Talcott Family*

*courtesy of Marion T.(Mick) Hersey, mick143fely@hotmail.com

The Layton and Eleanor Larson Family

The Gustaf Nilsson Family*

*Courtesy of Mr. Gunnar Sch?nberg, gunnar@emiko.se

Carl Johan Fabian Carlsson --a letter from Rockford, 1892 --contributed by Joel Anderson

 

BIRTHS

Pre-1855 births

1855-1931 births

DEATHS IN WINNEBAGO

Death index 1844-1981

Death Notices

 

MARRIAGES

Marriages 1836-1956

Marriage Announcements

 

BIOGRAPHIES

Lewis Lemon --the only slave in the county

  CENSUS RECORDS

Winnebago County Residents in the 1880 Census of Patients at the Illinois Northern Hospital for the Insane

1880 Supplemental Census Schedules  

15th Census 1930

MILITARY DATA

 

BROTHERS AND SISTERS

clubs, fraternal and sororal organizations and other societies

 

FAITH AND WINNEBAGO COUNTY

CRIME AND PUNISHMENT

 BOOKS


 SURNAMES

Names submitted by parties researching ancestry

SCHOOLS

CEMETERIES

INDUSTRY

Winnebago County
Convicts in the Joliet Prison

"ODD" WINNEBAGO

 

INVENTION AND INNOVATION   

 

Death and Marriage notices from Winn Scrapbook Contributed to Hamburg Historical Society

HISTORIC DISTRICTSAND NEIGHBORHOODS

Blackhawk Island

Kishwaukee

Morristown-- history and news from Morristown

 

 IMMIGRANTS 

The Swedish Element in Rockford --O.M. Nelson,

CAMP GRANT

history

pictures

Camp Grant in the News

 

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Back to the Illinois Page

 Grand Army of the Republic (G.A.R.)

Helpful Addresses

     

County Clerk or Recorder
Winnebago County Administration Building
404 Elm Street
Rockford, IL 61101
Telephone:
County Clerk
Recorder

(815) 987-3050
(815) 987-3100

Circuit Clerk
Winnebago County Courthouse
400 West State Street, Room 101
Rockford, IL 61101
Telephone: (815) 987-2510

IRAD Depository
Regional History Center
Founders Memorial Library
Room 400
Northern Illinois University
DeKalb, IL 60115
Telephone: (815)
753-1807

1. BIRTH, DEATH, MARRIAGES 1878 ON ARE VERY DETAILED COURT HOUSE RECORDS. INDEXES ARE ONLINE.
THE AREA LIBRARIES WITH WINNEBAGO CO. B.D.M. MICROFILMS ARE - ROCKFORD PUBLIC LIBRARY 3R FLOOR GENEALOGY ROOM & IDA PUBLIC LIBRARY BELVIDERE HISTORY ROOM & FHCL (L.D.S.) BRANCH LIBRARY 2 BLOCKS NORTH OF 16 PLEX THEATER OFF E. STATE ST.
2. ROCKFORD PUBLIC LIBRARY 3RD FLOOR HISTORY ROOM ALSO HAS MICROFILM COPIES OF ROCKFORD SWEDISH CHURCH RECORDS.
SWEDISH - BAPTIST, SWEDISH METHODIST, SWEDISH LUTHERAN, ETC... MANY OF THE FILMS HAVE VERY DETAILED MEMBERSHIP LISTS, GIVING
THE TOWN & COUNTY & PROVINCE BORN & MARRIED IN ETC.. & FIRST CHURCH IN U.S. THEY JOINED. SOME CHURCHES HAVE SEVERAL MENBERSHIP
LISTS IN THE OLD MICROFILMED CHURCH BOOKS.
3. 20 PERCENT OF ILLINOIS MARRIAGES TOOK PLACE IN WISCONSIN. IT WAS CHEAPER & FASTER TO GET MARRIED THERE. THE ROCK & WALWORTH COUNTY
TRANSCRIBED MARRIAGE ENTRIES THRU 1907 GIVE ALL INF. ON MARRIAGE APPLICATION . MARRIAGE DATE & PLACE, TOWN MARRIED IN, TOWN BORN IN, PARENTS NAMES.
THESE TWO BOOKS ARE AT ROCKFORD & BELVIDERE PUBLIC LIBRARIES HISTORY ROOMS. THEY ARE FULL OF ILLINOIS MARRIAGE ON EVERY PAGE IN THE TWO BOOKS.
 
 
--MARTIN W. JOHNSON - BELVIDERE ILL. HISTORIAN.

 

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