Illinois, State Census, 1865 (FamilySearch Historical Records)Edit This Page

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Access the records: Illinois State Census, 1865 .


Record Description

Name index and images of the Illinois state census taken on 3 July 1865.

The following counties are missing:

  • Gallatin
  • Monroe
  • Part of Mason
  • Part of Tazewell

The state constitution of 1848 accepted the federal decennial censuses as the basis for apportionment of representatives, but also provided for state censuses at mid-decades. As a result state censuses were conducted in 1855 and 1865. The state constitution of 1870 ended the practice of state censuses. Census returns for 1865 exist for 99 of the 102 counties.

For a list of localities currently published in this collection, select the Browse link from the collection landing page.

This census counted and gathered information about the population in 1865.

The census was compiled to obtain a count of the population to determine how many representatives the state would send to Congress.

Reliability of the information in the census is determined by the accuracy of the knowledge of the informant, which could have been any member of the family or even a neighbor. '  

Citation for This Collection

The following citation refers to the original source of the information published in Historical Records collections. Sources include the author, custodian, publisher, and archive for the original records.

Illinois Secretary of State. Illinois State Census 1865. Illinois State Library, Springfield, Illinois.

Suggested citation format for a record in this collection.

Record Content

The census includes the following information:

  • Name of head of family
  • Free white males by decennial age ranges; under 10, 10 to 20, 20 to 30, 30 to 40, etc.
  • Free white females by decennial age ranges; under 10, 10 to 20, 20 to 30, 30 to 40, etc.
  • Numbers of male and female Negros and mulattoes
  • Total number in household
  • Number of males eligible for duty in the militia
  • Manufactories by type (for example: mill, tin shop, saddle shop) and their value
  • Number and tons of coal products
  • Value of live stock
  • Value of grain products
  • Value of all other agricultural products
  • Number of pounds of wool
  • Number of universities and number of students
  • Number of academies and grammar schools and number of students
  • Number of common schools and number of students

How to Use the Records

Begin your search by finding your ancestors in the census index. To search the index you will need to know:

  • The name of your ancestor. If your ancestor was unmarried at the time of the census you will need to know his or her parent's names.
  • Where your ancestor or their parents lived.

Search the Index

Search the index for entries that may match your ancestor. Compare the information to what you already know about your ancestors to determine if this is the correct family or person. You may need to compare the information of more than one family or person to make this determination. Be aware that as with any index, transcription errors may occur.

Using the Information

Use the locator information in the index (such as page number or family number) to locate your ancestors in the census. When you have located your ancestor in the census, carefully evaluate each piece of information about them. These pieces of information may give you new biographical details that can lead you to other records about your ancestors.

For example:

  • Use the age listed to determine an approximate birth date.
  • Use the ages and place of residence to locate the family in federal census records.
  • Use the race information to find records related to that ethnicity such as records of the Freedman’s Bureau.

Tips to Keep in Mind

  • If your ancestor was in the militia they may have military files in the State or National Archives.
  • It is often helpful to extract the information on all families with the same surname in the same general area. If the surname is uncommon, it is likely that those living in the same area were related.
  • Be sure to extract all families before you look at other records. The relationships given will help you to organize family groups. The family groupings will help you identify related families when you discover additional information in other records.
  • Married family members may have lived nearby but in a separate household so you may want to search an entire town, neighboring towns, or even a county.
  • You may be able to identify an earlier generation if elderly parents were living with or close by a married child.
  • You may be able to identify a younger generation if a young married couple still lived with one of their sets of parents.
  • Additional searches may be needed to locate all members of a particular family in the census.
  • You should also be aware that the census may identify persons for whom other records do not exist.

If you do not find your ancestors in the census try the following:

  • Look for alternate spellings of the names.
  • Look in neighboring counties or states.
  • Look for another index. Check with local or historical or genealogical societies as they often have indexes to local records.

Known Issues with This Collection

Important.png Problems with this collection?
See a list of known issues, workarounds, tips, restrictions, future fixes, news and other helpful information.

 For a full list of all known issues associated with this collection see the attached Wiki article. If you encounter additional problems, please email them to Please include the full path to the link and a description of the problem in your e-mail. Your assistance will help ensure that future reworks will be considered.

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Contributions to This Article

We welcome user additions to FamilySearch Historical Records wiki articles. We are looking for additional information that will help readers understand the topic and better use the available records. We also need translations for collection titles and images in articles about records written in languages other than English. For specific needs, please visit WikiProject FamilySearch Records.

Please follow these guidelines as you make changes. Thank you for any contributions you may provide.

Citing FamilySearch Historical Collections

When you copy information from a record, you should list where you found the information. This will help you or others to find the record again. It is also good to keep track of records where you did not find information, including the names of the people you looked for in the records.

Citation Example for a Record Found in This Collection

"Illinois State Census, 1865" images, FamilySearch, ( accessed 21 March 2012). entry for Patrick Green, Downs, McHenry, Illinois; citing state census records, FHL Digital Folder Number 4,679,645, FHL 1012404, Image Number 00126; FHL United States.

A suggested format for keeping track of records that you have searched is found in the wiki article Help:How to Cite FamilySearch Collections


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