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Coles County, Illinois Genealogy

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

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Coles County, Illinois
Map
Map of Illinois highlighting Coles County
Location in the state of Illinois
Map of the U.S. highlighting Illinois
Location of Illinois in the U.S.
Facts
Founded: December 25, 1830
County Seat Charleston
Courthouse
Coles County Courthouse.gif
Photo courtesy Illinois Regional Archives Depository, Illinois State Archives
Address Coles County Courthouse
651 Jackson Avenue
Charleston, Illinois 61920

(217) 348-0501
Coles County Website


Coles County Organization[edit | edit source]

Known Beginning Dates for Major County Records[1]
Birth* Marriage Death* Court Land Probate Census
1878 1830 1878 1831 1830 1830 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 Coles County are kept, see the Coles County Courthouse page.

Historical Facts[edit | edit source]

Edward.Coles.png

Coles County is named for Edward Coles who was the second Governor of the State of Illinois.

Description[edit | edit source]

The county was named for Edward Coles, the second governor of Illinois from 1822 to 1826. The County Seat is Charleston and was founded December 25, 1830.[2] It is located in the Central area of the state.[3]

Boundary Changes[edit | edit source]

  • 25 December 1830: - Coles County was created from Clark and Edgar [4]

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.

Records and Resources[edit | edit source]

Biography[edit | edit source]

Cemeteries[edit | edit source]

Cemeteries of Coles, 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]

Federal[edit | edit source]

Historical populations
Census Pop.
190034,146
191034,5171.1%
192035,1081.7%
193037,3156.3%
194038,4703.1%
195040,3284.8%
196042,8606.3%
197047,81511.6%
198052,2609.3%
199051,644−1.2%
200053,1963.0%
IL Counties 1900-1990

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

1840[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, Coles County on page 186.]

1850[edit | edit source]

1860[edit | edit source]

1870[edit | edit source]

United States federal census, 1870, Coles County, Illinois FHL Book 977.372 X2u 1870 (2 vols)

State[edit | edit source]

Church History and Records[edit | edit source]

Church records can give birth, death and marriage information as well as indictate family relationships. See Illinois state wiki article Church Records for more ideas about how to use church records in your research.

Baptist

Whetstone Creek, Coles County, Illinois, records of Freewill Baptist Church, 1844-1905. Manuscript on film. Salt Lake City, Utah: Filmed by the Genealogical Society of Utah, 1949. FHL Film 444 Item 3

Church of Christ

History of the Wiley Brick Church. Courtesy of Illinois Trails.

Presbyterian

Hebron Presbyterian Church (Brooks family extracts) Courtesy of Illinois Trails.

Loxa Presbyterian Church. Courtesy of Illinois Trails.

Union Cumberland Presbyterian, 1904–1971. Courtesy of Illinois Trails.

Court Records[edit | edit source]

Court records may give a person’s age, residence, occupation, and family relationships. Friends and neighbors may have given depositions as witnesses. See Court Records for more information about court records. Original court records are housed at the Coles Circuit Court Clerks office as well as the IRAD depository at Eastern Illinois University.  See IRAD–EIU for more information about using this depository. Original records at EIU are as following:

1832–1935 Circuit Clerk's Miscellaneous Files. IRAD–EIU Search for Coles County records.
1832–1890 Circuit Court Case Files. IRAD–EIU
1835–1910 Circuit Court Record, Chancery Circuit Court IRAD–EIU
1835 County Clerk's Miscellaneous Files IRAD–EIU
1869–1873 Court of Common Pleas Case Files (Mattoon) IRAD–EIU

1869–1873 Court of Common Pleas Case Files (Mattoon) IRAD Online Index Copies of these case files can be orders from IRAD-EIU.


Directories[edit | edit source]

Ethnic Research[edit | edit source]

African American[edit | edit source]

The following have information concerning African American research.

Funeral Homes[edit | edit source]

Genealogy[edit | edit source]

Mailing Lists[edit | edit source]

Message Boards[edit | edit source]

Periodicals[edit | edit source]

History[edit | edit source]


  • The Historical Encyclopedia of Illinois has a Coles County edition.  This includes a state history section along with a county history and biographies of Coles County residents.  See the wiki article for links to available copies and indexes.


Land and Property[edit | edit source]

Gotoarrow.png Illinois Land and Property for more information.

1830-present The original land and property records for Coles County are held by the County Clerk. See the info box above for contact information. The following copies are available:

Online Resources

Maps[edit | edit source]

Moultrie CountyDouglas CountyEdgar CountyClark CountyCumberland CountyShelby CountyIL COLES.PNG
Click a neighboring county
for more resources


Military History and Records[edit | edit source]

The Historical Encyclopedia of Illinois has a Coles County edition.  This includes a state history section along with a county history and biographies of Coles County residents.  See the wiki article for links to available copies and indexes.

Civil War[edit | edit source]

Civil War service men from Coles 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 Coles County.

- 1st Regiment, Illinois Cavalry. Company C.
- 5th Regiment, Illinois Cavalry, Companies B and E.
- 7th Regiment, Illinois Infantry, Company B.
- 8th Regiment, Illinois Infantry (3 months, 1861), Company C.
- 8th Regiment, Illinois Infantry, Company C.
- 10th Regiment, Illinois Cavalry, Companies H and M.
- 21st Regiment, Illinois Infantry, Company B.
- 25th Regiment, Illinois Infantry, Company E.
- 38th Regiment, Illinois Infantry, Company E.
- 41st Regiment, Illinois Infantry, Company D.
- 54th Regiment, Illinois Infantry, Companies A, C, G, I and K.
- 55th Regiment, Illinois Infantry, Company B.
- 59th Regiment, Illinois Infantry, Company H.
- 62nd Regiment, Illinois Infantry, Companies C, E, and K.
- 63rd Regiment, Illinois Infantry, Company K.
- 68th Regiment, Illinois Infantry, Company C.
- 97th Regiment, Illinois Infantry, Company E.
- 109th Regiment, Indiana Infantry
- 123rd Regiment, Illinois Infantry Companies A, C, D, H, I and K.
- 130th Regiment, Illinois Infantry, Company G.
- 135th Regiment, Illinois Infantry (100 days, 1864), Company K.
- 143rd Regiment, Illinois Infantry (100 days, 1864), Companies A and K.
  • Genealogy Trails - Coles County Civil War Soldiers (accessed 20 September 2011) Lists Civil War soldiers from Coles County along with their regiments and residences.

Naturalization and Citizenship[edit | edit source]

Coles County has naturalization records in county circuit and Mattoon city court records.  Naturalization records may reveal immigration and family information.  See Illinois Naturalization for more infomation about this record group. Copies of Coles county naturalization records held at the IRAD depository at Eastern Illinois University are as follows. See IRAD–EIU for more information about this depository.

Online Records

Newspapers and Obituaries[edit | edit source]

Obituary index courtesy of Illinois Trails.

Probate Records[edit | edit source]

Online Probate Records


Original Coles County probate records are available at the Coles County Courthouse. See Illinois Probate Records wiki page for more information about using probate records. The following copies of probate records are available:

Deed records can often include family relationship information.

  • Sargent, Samuel S. Genealogies of Families of Coles County, Illinois, and Miscellaneous Cemetery, Marriage, and Probate Records. Salt Lake City, Utah: Genealogical Society of Utah, 1948. FHL Film 7699 Microproduction of typescript.

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 Coles County are kept, see the Coles 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.  Microfilm and microfiche may be ordered from the FHL collection at a nominal cost.  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 Coles County, Illinois:

Champaign Illinois Family History Center
604 W Windsor Rd
Champaign, Champaign, Illinois
Phone: 217-352-8063
Hours: Thur-Sat 9:30-12:30pm; Thur 7pm-9pm; or by appt]]

Danville Illinois Family History Center
1941 N Bowman Ave
Danville, Vermilion, Illinois
Phone: 217-446-5887
Hours: Sat 9:30am-2pm

Linton Indiana Family History Center
1000 W Lone Tree Rd
Linton, Greene, Indiana
Phone: 812-847-9044
Hours: Wed. 6 - 9 pm, Sat 9 - 2

Terre Haute Indiana Family History Center
1845 N 6 1/2 St
Terre Haute, Vigo, Indiana
Phone: 812-234-0269
Hours: Tue 6:30 p.m. - 8 p.m.
Closed: Mondays after 6:00 p.m., all major holidays, inclement weather, whenever Vigo school are on delays or early dismissals.
Attention: The Center is also available by appointment.

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 Clark 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.

Public Libraries[edit | edit source]

Charleston Public Library
712 Sixth Street
Charleston, IL 61920–2147
Phone: 217–345–4913

Houses the Coles County Illinois Genealogical Society collection of books and materials.  Explore the society's online list of materials.

Mattoon Public Library
1600 Charleston Avenue
Mattoon, IL 61938
Phone:1– 217–234–2621

Social Groups Online[edit | edit source]

Societies[edit | edit source]

Coles County Illinois Genealogical Society.  Explore online databases provided by the Coles County Illinois Genealogical Society.

Taxation[edit | edit source]

Vital Records[edit | edit source]

Gotoarrow.png Illinois Vital Records for more information. See also How to order Illinois Vital Records or order electronically online.


The website of the Coles County Clerk & Recorder includes information and order forms for ordering birth, marriage, and death records.

Births[edit | edit source]

1878–present  The original Coles County birth records 1878- present are housed in the office of the County Clerk. The following copies are available:

  • 1860-1915 Birth Certificates, Delayed - IRAD-EIU Search for Coles County records. How to use IRAD
  • 1878-1915 Birth Record Index – IRAD-EIU Search for Coles County records.

The following abstract are available: Birth abstracts Courtesy of Illinois Trails.

Marriages[edit | edit source]

1831–present  The original Coles County marriage records 1831-present are housed in the office of the County Clerk. The following copies are available:

The following marriage indexes are available:


The following abstracts are available:

Deaths[edit | edit source]

1878–present  The original Coles County death records 1878-present are housed in the office of the County Clerk. The following copies are available:

  • 1878-1918 Death Record - IRAD-EIU Search for Coles County records. How to use IRAD
  • 1878-1913 Death Record Index - IRAD-EIU Search for Coles County records.
  • 1910-1917 Death Record, Coroner - IRAD-EIU Search for Coles County records.
  • 1887-1909 Death Record, Stillbirths - IRAD-EIU Search for Coles County records.

The following abstracts are available:

Mortality Schedules

Websites[edit | edit source]

Databases pertinent to Coles County

References[edit | edit source]

  1. Handybook for Genealogists: United States of America, 10th ed. (Draper, Utah: Everton Pub., 2002), Coles 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. Genealogy Trails History Group, “Coles County, Illinois Genealogy and History”, http://genealogytrails.com/ill/coles/ 4/11/2017.
  3. Wikipedia contributors, "Coles County," in Wikipedia: the Free Encyclopedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Coles_County,_Illinois 4/11/2017.
  4. Handybook for Genealogists: United States of America, 10th ed.; Draper, Utah: Everton Pub., 2002 WorldCat 50140092, FHL Book 973 D27e 2002