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Will County, Illinois
Map
Boundary map of Will County, Illinois
Map of the U.S. highlighting Illinois
Location of Illinois in the U.S.
Facts
Founded: January 12, 1836
County Seat Joliet
Courthouse
Will County Courthouse.gif
Photo courtesy Illinois Regional Archives Depository, Illinois State Archives
Address Will County Courthouse
302 N. Chicago Street
Joliet, IL 60432
(815) 740-4615
Will County Website
United States Gotoarrow.png Illinois Gotoarrow.png Will County

Contents

Will County Organization

Will County's civil records start the following years:

                                     Beginning Dates for Will County Records
Birth Marriage Death Census Land Probate
1877
1836
1877
1840
1835
1837

County records are most often kept at the County Courthouse or another local repository. For further information about where the records for Will County are kept, see the Will County Courthouse page.

Historical Facts

Will County is named for Dr. Conrad Will who was a active politician in the early days of Illinois statehood.

Parent County

  • 1836--Will County was created 12 January 1836 from Cook and DuPage Counties.  County seat:  Joliet [1]

Boundary Changes

See an interactive map of Will County boundary changes.

Record Loss

Places / Localities

Populated Places

Neighboring Counties

Resources

Biography

Cemeteries

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

  • Find A Grave can be searched by the name of a person or family to find where a person is buried.  Usually gives birth and death dates often with a picture of the tombstone.  May give obituaries, names of family members and links to their information in Find A Grave.

In 1946, the Aaron Miner Chapter D.A.R. (Chicago) prepared a List of Cemeteries in Cook - Lake - Will Counties Containing Graves of the Military Dead Who Served in the Wars of the United States. Ancestry ($) digitized this publication.[2]

Census

Historical populations
Census Pop.
190074,764
191084,37112.8%
192092,91110.1%
1930110,73219.2%
1940114,2103.1%
1950134,33617.6%
1960191,61742.6%
1970249,49830.2%
1980324,46030.0%
1990357,31310.1%
2000502,26640.6%
2010677,56034.9%

1840 Pensioners

  • A Census of Pensioners for Revolutionary or Military Services: With their Names, Ages, and Places of Residence, as Returned by the Marshalls of the Several Judicial Districts, Under the Act for Taking the Sixth Census. Washington, D.C., 1841. FHL 973 X2pc 1840; FHL 2321; digital version at Google Books. [See Illinois, Will County on page 188.]

Church Records

Church records may give birth, death and marriage information. It is usually best to locate church records with a search at a local level such as the city, town, or village.

Catholic

  • St. John the Baptist Catholic Church was founded in 1852. The church served many of the early German immigrants. In the 1870's Franciscan friars of the St. Louis province arrived and served the community for nearly 135 years. Today the church serves newer immigrants of Mexican-Americans descent.
  • [1838–1856] Bale, D. Andrew and Jane P. Campbell, editors. The Combined Parish Register of Christ Episcopal Church, Joliet, Ill. & St. John's Episcop. Church, Lockport, Ill., 1838-1856. Wilmington, Illinois: Will/Grundy Counties Genealogical Society, 1990. This indexed book includes a map. Many libraries (WorldCat) book 977.325 K2b
  • [1838–1851] Werling, Norman G. The First Catholic Church in Joliet, Illinois, Including Baptism, Marriage and Death Records for Parts of Northeastern Illinois, 1838-1851. Baltimore, Maryland: Gateway Press, 1987. This book is indexed. Many libraries (WorldCat) book 977.325 K2w

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

  • [1908–1910] Joliet Branch membership records and minutes of meetings.film 1917 Item 2

Court Records

Copies of original records

Ethnic Research

African American

The following have information concerning African American research.

Genealogy

History

Local Histories

A variety of early Will County genealogical records are transcribed in:

  • McLean County, White County, Will County Genealogical Records. Evanston, Ill.?: Illinois Society, D.A.R.?, 1945?. Digital version at Ancestry ($).


Land and Property

  • 1800s-Present - Use the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) Land Patent Index to obtain original federal land transfer records including homestead, military warrants, and cash entry patents. These records help a research establish location and lead to National Archives' records which may include genealogical information. Earlier land transfer records are housed at the National Archives.
  • Illinois Public Land Purchase Records This record extract includes over 538,000 land sales from the 19th Century. Each entry includes the purchaser's name, purchase date, number of acres, price per acre, and in some cases the purchaser's sex and residence. Available at www.ancestry.com ($)

Additional Resources

Additional resources for Will County land and property may be found in the FHLC and FHLC–maps. Copies of records on FHL microfilm and microfiche can be ordered for viewing at Family History Centers. Copies of books found in the FHLC may be found in WorldCat catalog and ordered from your local library through interlibrary loan. Explore how to search the Family History Library Catalog and the Worldcat Online Catalog.

Maps

Military

Civil War

Civil War service men from Will 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 Will County.

- 4th Regiment, Illinois Cavalry, Company D (Also known as Quinby's Escort).
- 8th Regiment, Illinois Cavalry, Companies F and K.
- 20th Regiment, Illinois Infantry, New Company A and Companies B, F, and K.
- 39th Regiment, Illinois Infantry, Companies A, E, and G.
- 64th Regiment, Illinois Infantry (Yates’ Sharpshooters), Companies E, F, G, and I.
- 90th Regiment, Illinois Infantry, Companies C and D.
- 100th Regiment, Illinois Infantry, all Companies.

Naturalization

Newspapers

The Herald News is a subsidiary of the Chicago Sun Times and writes about events in the Joliet area.

Probate Records

Original estates and wills are held in the office of the Circuit Court Clerk. See Illinois Probate Records for more information about using probate records.

The following abstracts and copies of original records may be accessed through, the Family History Library or the Illinois Regional Archives Depository (IRAD) located at the Northern Illinois University (NIU) - search for Will County records. For information on how to use IRAD see theNIU IRAD Wiki page.

Additional Resources

Additional resources for Will County probates may be found in the Illinois, Will – Probate topic page of the Family History Library catalog (FHLC). Copies of records on FHL microfilm and microfiche can be ordered for viewing at Family History Centers. Copies of books found in the FHLC may be found in WorldCat catalog and ordered from your local library through interlibrary loan. Explore how to search the Family History Library Catalog and the Worldcat Online Catalog.

Repositories

County Courthouse

County records are most often kept at the County Courthouse or another local repository. For further information about where the records for Will County are kept, see the Will County Courthouse page.

Family History Center

Family History Library in Salt Lake City, Utah (United States) and are located all over the world. Their goal is to provide resources to assist you in the research and study of your genealogy.

You may search your address for a center near you on the FamilySearch site. The following center serves Will County:

Joliet Illinois Family History Center
655 Springfield
Joliet, Illinois 60435
Telephone: (815) 725-8621

Illinois Regional Archives Depository (IRAD)

The Illinois Regional Archives Depositories (IRAD), managed by the Illinois State Archives, houses the archival records of local Illinois counties, townships, municipalities and school districts. The seven Regional Depositories are housed on state university campuses scattered throughout Illinois.

The Northern Illinois University (IRAD-NIU) holds the records for Will County. Learn more about finding and using their records.

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

Public Libraries

Joliet Public Library
150 N. Ottawa St.
Joliet, IL 60432
Phone: 815-740-2660
Hours: M-F 9am – 9pm, S 9am – 4pm
Closed Sundays during the summer
Sunday Hours (other than summer): 1:00pm – 5:00pm

  • The Joliet Public Library Main Branch holds microfilm of local Joliet newspapers from the 1840s through current. Among them are the Joliet Signal (1846), Joliet True Democrat (1861), Joliet Daily Sun (1874), Joliet Weekly Press (1883) and Joliet Daily News, Joliet Weekly News, and Joliet Republican from the 1860s until the Joliet News was first published in 1877. The Joliet Herald was instituted in 1904. It later became The Herald-News, its present day name.

The Joliet Public Library Main Branch also houses a local history section containing information about the history of Joliet and Will County, including Joliet city directories dating back to the 1870s.

Joliet Junior College Library
1215 Houbolt Rd.
Joliet, IL 60431-8938
Phone:
815-280-2665 (Circulation Desk)
815-280-2344 (Reference Desk)

  • The Joliet Junior College Library holds several searchable databases, including Digital Sanborn Maps, 1867-1970, listed under their “Magazine and Journal Search” heading.

Social Groups Online

Societies

Will/Grundy Counties (IL) Genealogical Society
P.O. Box 24
Wilmington, IL 60481-0024
The Will/Grundy Counties (IL) Genealogical Society’s collection is located at the Coal City Public Library.

Will County Historical Society
803 S State St
Lockport, IL
Phone: 815-838-5080
Hours: W-Su 12pm - 4pm

The Will County Historical Society holds more than 70,000 documents including plat maps, obituary files, and anniversary files.

Taxation

Vital Records

See Illinois Vital Records for more information about Vital records in Illinois.

Vital records consist of birth, death, marriage and divorce records. Original birth and death certificates recorded until the year 1916 are kept by the Will County Clerk while those recorded after 1916 are kept by the Illinois Department of Public Health with a copy to the County Clerk. Original marriage records are usually kept by the County Clerk from the establishment of the county to the present. Original divorce records are generally in the office of the Circuit Court Clerk. Information on obtaining Vital Records can also be obtained from the County Clerk's Office.

The following abstracts and copies of original records may be accessed through online databases, the Family History Library and the Illinois Regional Archives Depository (IRAD) located at the Northern Illinois University (NIU) - search for Will County records. For information on how to use IRAD see the IRAD Wiki page.

Birth Records

Copies of Original Birth Records

Marriage Records

Copies of original Marriage Records


Death Records

Copies of original Death Records

  • 1910-1915 Coroner's Death Records IRAD-NIU

Divorce

Additional Resources

Additional resources for Will County births, marriages and deaths may be found in the Illinois, Will – Vital Records, and the Illinois, Will – Vital Records - newspapers topic pages of the Family History Library catalog (FHLC). Copies of records on FHL microfilm and microfiche can be ordered for viewing at Family History Centers. Copies of books found in the FHLC may be found in WorldCat catalog and ordered from your local library through interlibrary loan. Explore how to search the Family History Library Catalog and the Worldcat Online Catalog.

Libraries

Family History Centers

Web Sites

References

  1. The Handybook for Genealogists: United States of America,10th ed. (Draper, UT:Everton Publishers, 2002).
  2. Illinois Miscellaneous Genealogical Records: From Counties, Bond, Boone, Calhoun, Cook, Crawford, Du Page, Johnson, Knox, Lake, Will, Pope: Kentucky county, Mercer: Missouri county, Ralls. Evanston, Ill.: Illinois Society, D.A.R., 1946. Digital version at Ancestry ($).

 

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