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Clay County, Illinois Genealogy

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Guide to Clay County, Illinois ancestry, family history, and genealogy birth records, marriage records, death records, census records, family history, and military records.

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Clay County, Illinois
Map
Map of Illinois highlighting Clay County
Location in the state of Illinois
Map of the U.S. highlighting Illinois
Location of Illinois in the U.S.
Facts
Founded: December 23, 1824
County Seat Louisville
Courthouse
Clay County Courthouse.gif
Photo courtesy Illinois Regional Archives Depository, Illinois State Archives
Address Clay County Courthouse
111 E. Chestnut
Louisville, Illinois 62858
(618) 665-3626
Clay County Website


Clay County Organization[edit | edit source]

Known Beginning Dates for Major County Records[1]
Birth* Marriage Death* Court Land Probate Census
1878 1824 1878 1825 1825 1827 1810
Statewide registration for births and deaths started 1916. General compliance by 1922.

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

Historical Facts[edit | edit source]

Henry Clay.JPG

Clay County is named for Henry_Clay who is known for authoring the "Missouri Compromise."

Description[edit | edit source]

The county was named for Henry Clay, famous American statesman, member of the United States Senate from Kentucky and United States Secretary of State in the 19th century. The County Seat is Louisville and was founded 1824. It is located in the Central area of the state.[2]

Boundary Changes[edit | edit source]

For animated maps illustrating Illinois county boundary changes, "Rotating Formation Illinois County Boundary Maps" (1790-1869) may be viewed for free at the MapofUS.org website.

Record Loss[edit | edit source]

There is no known history of courthouse disasters in this county.


Places and Localities[edit | edit source]

Populated Places[edit | edit source]

For a complete list of populated places, including small neighborhoods and suburbs, visit Hometown Locator. The following are the most historically and genealogically relevant populated places in this county:[4]

Cities
Villages
Unincorporated communities
Townships
Ghost towns

‡This populated place also has portions in an adjacent county or counties

Records and Resources[edit | edit source]

Biography[edit | edit source]

Cemeteries[edit | edit source]

Cemeteries of Clay, Illinois online and in print
Tombstone Transcriptions Online
TombstoneTranscriptions in Print (Often more complete)
List of Cemeteries in the County
See Illinois Cemeteries for more information

Census[edit | edit source]

For information and tips on accessing census records online, see Illinois Census.

Federal[edit | edit source]

Historical populations
Census Pop.
190019,553
191018,661−4.6%
192017,684−5.2%
193016,155−8.6%
194018,94717.3%
195017,445−7.9%
196015,815−9.3%
197014,735−6.8%
198015,2833.7%
199014,460−5.4%
200014,5600.7%
IL Counties 1900-1990

State[edit | edit source]

1840 Pensioners[edit | edit source]

  • 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, Clay County on page 186.]

Church History and Records[edit | edit source]

Catholic[edit | edit source]

Parish records from two Clay County Catholic churches in the Diocese of Belleville are available online at FamilySearch.org. The records include first communions, confirmations, marriages, and deaths:

Court Records[edit | edit source]

Original court records are held in the office of the Circuit Court Clerk. See Illinois Court Records for more information about using court records.

The following copies of original records may be accessed through the Family History Library.

Ethnic Research[edit | edit source]

African American[edit | edit source]

The following have information concerning African American research.

Germans[edit | edit source]

Archives, Libraries, and Museums
Biographies
Church Records
Cemetery Records
Court Records
Histories
Immigration/emigration/migration
Maps
Newspapers
Societies

Genealogy[edit | edit source]

Mailing Lists[edit | edit source]

Message Boards[edit | edit source]

Periodicals[edit | edit source]

Land and Property[edit | edit source]

Original land records are held in the office of the County Clerk . See Illinois Land and Property for more information about using land records.

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

Online Resources

Local Histories[edit | edit source]

Every Name Index to History of Wayne and Clay Counties, Illinois.  Every Name Index compiled by Cathy L. O'Connor, 2010, original text by Globe Publishing Company, Historical Publishers, 1884, reproduction by Unigraphic, Inc., 1970.  EveryNameIndex.com


  • Biographical and Reminiscent History of Richland, Clay and Marion Counties, Illinois. Indianapolis, Ind.: B.F. Bowen & Co., 1909. Digital versions at Ancestry ($); Internet Archive. FHL Film 825601

Maps[edit | edit source]

Ilclay.jpg

Military History and Records[edit | edit source]

Civil War[edit | edit source]

Civil War service men from Clay 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 Clay County.

- 21st Regiment, Illinois Infantry, Company G.
- 40th Regiment, Illinois Infantry, Company K.
- 98th Regiment, Illinois Infantry, Companies A and F.
- 111th Regiment, Illinois Infantry, Company C.
- 136th Regiment, Illinois Infantry (100 days, 1864), Company F.
- 143rd Regiment, Illinois Infantry (100 days, 1864), Company D.
- 152nd Regiment, Illinois Infantry (1 year, 1865), Company E.

Naturalization and Citizenship[edit | edit source]

Original naturalization records are held in the office of the County Clerk. See Illinois Naturalization Records for more information about using naturalization records.

The following copies of original records may be accessed through the Family History Library or the Illinois Regional Archives Depository (IRAD) located at the Eastern Illinois University (EIU) - search for Clay County records. For information on how to use IRAD see the EIU IRAD Wiki page.

Online Records

Newspapers[edit | edit source]

Obituaries[edit | edit source]

Probate Records[edit | edit source]

Online 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 copies of original records may be accessed online, through the Family History Library or the Illinois Regional Archives Depository (IRAD) located at the Eastern Illinois University (EIU) - search for Clay County records. For information on how to use IRAD see the EIU IRAD Wiki page.

  • 1837-1885 Probate Record IRAD-EIU
  • 1837-1925 Illinois. County Court (Clay County), Probate records, 1837-1925. FHL Film 1008904–1008922
  • 1863-1877 Probate Administrator's Record IRAD-EIU
  • 1863-1894 Probate Guardian's Record IRAD-EIU
  • 1863-1919 Probate Executor's Record IRAD-EIU
  • 1865-1925 Probate Will Record IRAD-EIU
  • 1872-1885 Probate Appraisement Record IRAD-EIU
  • 1874-1896 Probate Widow's Relinquishment and Selection Record
  • 1874-1902 Probate Inventory Record, Guardians IRAD-EIU
  • 1879-1885 Probate Guardian's and Conservator's Account Record IRAD-EIU
  • 1884-1897 Probate Inventory Record IRAD-EIU
  • Bailey, Jean, editor; Rena Lents Thomas; Ann Hoyt, Abstracts of wills and probate records, Clay County, Illinois (Louisville, Illinois:Clay County Genealogical society (Illinois), 1998-2000) FHL Book 977.3795 P28b v. 1–7; WorldCat 39466683
  • Hoyt, Ann, Wills at the Clay County, IL., courthouse (Louisville, Illinois:A. Hoyt, 2000) FHL Book 977.3795 P28h; Other Libraries

Online Resources

Repositories[edit | edit source]

County Courthouse[edit | edit source]

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

Family History Centers[edit | edit source]

Family History Centers provide one-on-one assistance and free access to premium genealogical websites. In addition, many centers have free how-to genealogy classes.

  • For current information about a center near you, go to the Family History Center Map There are over 4500 Family History Centers worldwide which serve as branch facilities of the Family History Library in Salt Lake City, Utah. Volunteers provide research assistance to help patrons identify their ancestors. Some microfilms may be available at local family history centers. Locate your nearest Family History Center at the FamilySearch website. Call ahead to verify operating hours. All are welcome.

    The following centers are accessible to residents of Clay County, Illinois:

    Centralia Illinois Family History Center
    Leafland 3rd Street
    Centralia, Marion, Illinois
    Phone: 618-532-3482
    Hours: Wednesday 2-6pm
    Attention: We have temporarily moved to this new location while our building is being remodeled.

Evansville Indiana Family History Center 
8020 E Covert Ave
Evansville, Vanderburgh, Indiana
Phone: 812-471-0191
Hours: First Wednesday of every month 10:00 - 12:00, Tues & Wed evenings 6:00 - 8:00; other times by appointment
Closed: Closed Major Holidays

Vincennes Indiana Family History Center
1940 N Old Hwy 41
Vincennes, Knox, Indiana
Phone: 812-882-4022
Hours: T, Thu 9am-12:30pm, 5pm-8:30pm
Closed: Closed 1 1/2 weeks for Christmas

Please note: Addresses posted are not mailing addresses. Due to limited staff, Family History Centers are unable to respond to mail inquiries

Illinois Regional Archives Depository (IRAD)[edit | edit source]

The Illinois State Archives administers a system of Illinois Regional Archives Depositories (IRAD) to manage the archival records of local governments.  Local governments which have transferred records to the regional depositories include counties, townships, municipalities, and school districts.  The records of Clay County come under the jurisdiction of the Eastern Illinois University (EIU) regional depository.

Illinois Regional Archives Depository (IRAD)
Booth Library
Eastern Illinois University (EIU)
600 Lincoln Avenue
Charleston, IL 61920
Telephone: (217) 581-6093
Hours: Monday – Friday, except state holidays
9:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.; 1:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m.

Note: The depository is staffed by graduate student interns. Because of class scheduling conflicts, hours may vary somewhat from the published schedule. Researchers are urged to call before planning a visit.

Libraries[edit | edit source]

Flora Public Library
216 North Main Street
Flora, IL 62839
Phone: (618) 662-6553

Social Groups Online[edit | edit source]

Societies[edit | edit source]

Clay County Illinois Genealogical Society
PO Box 94
Louisville, ILL 62858
Telephone Number: 618-665-4544
Website


Genealogical Society of Southern Illinois has a page with details about its' activities.

Taxation[edit | edit source]

Vital Records[edit | edit source]

See Illinois Vital Records for more information about Vital records in Illinois. See also How to order Illinois Vital Records or order electronically online.

Vital records consist of birth, death, marriage and divorce records. Original birth and death certificates recorded until the year 1916 are kept by the Clay 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.

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 Eastern Illinois University (EIU) - search for Clay County records. For information on how to use IRAD see the EIU IRAD Wiki page.

Births[edit | edit source]

Copies of original Records

  • 1877-1918 Birth Record - IRAD-EIU
  • 1877-1904 Birth Record Index - IRAD-EIU
  • 1844-1944 Birth Record, Delayed- IRAD-EIU
  • 1862-1918 Clay County (Illinois) County Clerk, Birth records, 1862-1918. FHL Film 1008787

Abstracts

  • 1842-1889 McPeak, Becky, Clay County, Illinois delayed births, 1842-1889 [i.e.1863-1889](Louisville, Illinois:Clay County Genealogical society, Illinois, 1997.) FHL Book 977.3795 V2m; Other Libraries
  • 1886-1907 Hoyt, Ann Clay County, Illinois birth records:alpha (Louisville, Illinois :A Hoyt, 2000,2002.) FHL book 977.3795 V38h v. 1–4; Other Libraries
  • 1877-1885 McPeak, Becky Early birth records of Clay County, Illinois 1877–1885 (Louisville, Illinois: Clay County Genealogical Society, Indiana, 1994.) FHL Book 977.3795 V2mc

Marriages[edit | edit source]

Copies of Original Records

Abstracts

  • 1825-1845 Wiegant, Winifred, Seenah Fry, Berdella McGrew, Early Clay County marriage records, 1825-1845 (Salt Lake City, Utah:Filmed by the Genealogical Society of Utah, 1976.) FHL Collection
  • 1825-1877 Clay County Genealogical Society, Clay County [Illinois] marriages (Louisville, Illinois:Clay County Genealogical Society, Illinois, 1989.) FHL Book 977.3795 V2cci; Other Libraries
  • 1874-1881 Frye, Mary Ann, Becky McPeak, Clay County, Illinois marriage book D (Louisville, Illinois:Clay County Genealogical Society, Indiana, 1977.) FHL Book 977.3795 V2f; Other Libraries
  • 1877-1895 Tanner, John, Becky McPeak, Clay County, Illinois marriages (Louisville, Illinois:Clay County Genealogical Society, Indiana, 1990.) FHL Book 977.3795 V2t v. 2a, 2b;
  • 1895-1916 Clay County Genealogical Society; indexed by Becky McPeak, Clay County, Illinois marriages (Louisville, Illinois:clay County Genealogical Society, Illinois, 1994-1996.) FHL Book 977.3795 V2c
  • 1840-1899 Taylor, Lola B., Early marriages of Richland County, Illinois, 1840- (Olney, Illinois:Taylor Print Shop, c1970.) FHL Book 977.377 V25t v. 1; Other Libraries Includes Clay, Lawrence and Jasper Counties.

Illinois Marriages Clay County marriage records for 1860 and 1861 are interspersed with each other. Not overlapped at the end of the year. but mixed at other dates.

Online Resources

Deaths[edit | edit source]

Copies of Original Records

Abstracts

Online Resources

Websites[edit | edit source]

Databases Pertinent to Clay County

References[edit | edit source]

  1. Handybook for Genealogists: United States of America, 10th ed. (Draper, Utah: Everton Pub., 2002), Clay County, Illinois. Page 192-199 At various libraries (WorldCat); FHL Book 973 D27e 2002; Alice Eichholz, ed. Ancestry’s Red Book: American State, County, and Town Sources, Third ed. (Provo, Utah: Ancestry, 2004), 194-197.
  2. Wikipedia contributors, "Clay County," in Wikipedia: the Free Encyclopedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Clay_County,_Illinois 4/11/2017.
  3. WorldCat 50140092, FHL Handybook for Genealogists: United States of America, 10th ed.] (Draper, Utah: Everton Pub., 2002)
  4. Wikipedia contributors, "Clay County, Illinois," in Wikipedia: the Free Encyclopedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Clay_County,_Illinois, Last accessed 7 December 2019.
  5. Genealogical Society of Utah, Parish and Vital Records List (July 1998). Microfiche. Digital version at https://www.familysearch.org/wiki/en/images/1/10/Igiillinoisac.pdf.
  6. Genealogical Society of Utah, Parish and Vital Records List (July 1998). Microfiche. Digital version at https://www.familysearch.org/wiki/en/images/1/10/Igiillinoisac.pdf.

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