Genealogical Research

Family History Research

Illinois Law did not require birth, death, or marriage records to be recorded until 1916. If the record is not in the index, no record is on file.

Genealogical Search

All genealogical searches are conducted as staffing permits. Walk-in requestors may be asked to prepay, and certificates will be mailed to the applicant upon processing. Please be aware that we may issue a Search Not Found certificate if, after an exhaustive search of multiple years of files, we find we do not have the requested record. Genealogical researchers are welcome to search through our publicly available Birth and Death card catalogs prior to requesting certificates to ensure that we have the record.


Genealogical record fees are $20 for birth, $18 for marriage, and $25 for death. This includes the search and the first copy. Each additional copy of the same search is $10. If the record is searched and not found, the original fee still applies. If you are uncertain of the year, a time frame is still required to conduct the search. The fee for the initial copy applies for the first 5 years searched, and the additional copy fee applies for each additional 5 years searched. If the record is located, one genealogical copy will be provided. You may request a record in person, through the mail, or online.

Note: We are unable to do search requests by phone.

Birth records - from 1860 on

We have a card index file from 1860-1940. This lists the name on the record, birth date, parents’ names, and reference number for finding the record. However, some records dated prior to 1878 may not list the parents’ names. Our website contains a birth index search for the years 1860-1915. We are continually updating the online index; last names beginning with V through Z have not yet been completed.  

Death records - from 1878 on

We have a card index from 1878-1973. This lists only the name on the record, date of death, and the reference book for finding the record. More than one name may be on the card; this does not mean they are related. Family history is not on the records until approximately 1912.

Marriage records - from 1831 on

Our index is in ledgers from 1831-1997. The index will show the year the marriage was recorded, the groom’s name, the bride’s name, and the reference (number and letter) for finding the record. The index is cross-referenced by groom and bride. Family history information will not start until approximately 1878.

Other Resources & Helpful Links

For records from the Illinois Soldiers and Sailor’s Children School (ISSCS), please send your request to:

Midwest Adoption Center
2860 S. River Rd, Ste 450
Des Plaines, IL 60018  

Midwest Adoption Center phone numbers: (847) 298-9096 or (800) 526-9022

McLean County Historical Society
McLean County Genealogical Society
Lexington Historical Society & Genealogical Research Library (The Fort)
McLean County Circuit Clerk’s Genealogy webpage