I have a relative I have never met who, like me, is a double Downing. We are descendants of one of the three marriages of children of Robert Downing to children of Samuel Downing. Although these families settled within a mile or so of each other on Salt Creek they were not related prior to the marriages.
My “cousin” said he’d like to find out more about his wife’s genealogy. Her ancestors are also from Logan County. I said send me what you have, you never know, I might know something that would help. Her ancestors lived in Lincoln so it was a long shot. He did.
Imagine my surprise when I read his list of names. His wife is also related to me. Her ancestor Charity Bowman was a sister to my ancestor Hannah Bowman. Both ladies, along with their mother, are buried at Steenbergen Cemetery.
It’s a small world.
In 1900 only 18 states [including future states] registered vital records. It was not mandatory in all of those, but it was encouraged.
Thus you might find vital records in Vermont back to 1779, Massachusetts 1842, New Jersey 1843, Connecticut 1859, Hawaii, Rhode Island and Virginia 1853, Delaware 1861, Florida 1865, Michigan 1867, Arizona, Iowa, New Hampshire, New York 1880, Illinois 1887, Maine 1892, North Dakota 1893, Maryland 1898.
Illinois did not mandate the registration of vital records with the state until 1916. Marriage records were always kept but birth and death were not. Logan County has marriage records back to 1857 but marriage records also exist for 1820-1839 under Sangamon County at IRAD. The only missing records are those for 1839-1856 due to the courthouse fire.
Logan has sporadic birth and death records dating to 1878. Probate records go back to 1855 and, again, there are earlier records at IRAD. Deeds go back to 1829. Court records date to 1857. Initial land purchases from the beginning are at the Bureau of Land Management.
The 1855 Illinois State Census for Logan County exists as well as the federal census records for all years. There is also the 1862 Military Census. Remember that Logan County is covered in the 1830 Sangamon County federal census. Census images for 1830 Sangamon, 1840 and 1850 Logan are online free along with lists for the 1855 Logan County state census and the 1862 military census. Go to the Logan County ILGenWeb site for links.
Cemetery lists for many cemeteries are online at the Logan County site. The Decatur Genealogical Society has cemetery listings made in the 1960s and early 1970 for most cemeteries in books which they sell quite reasonably. The Logan County Genealogical & Historical Society has some cemetery books and several history books with name indexes.
Much time has passed since I started this. Two other blogs relating to this area’s genealogy have materialized in the interim. Ancestor Hunting is mostly about my ancestors and things I learn about genealogy research. Graveyards of South Logan County is about cemeteries, generally but not necessarily located in Logan County. I admit it — I forgot I had this one too. It happens.
This will be about genealogy questions relating to Logan County, Illinois, but not necessarily related to me or my ancestors. I get questions from researchers. I run across something interesting while researching. I confess, I am easily distracted by something interesting. It may be a fact. It may be a question without an answer. Whatever, it is interesting.
If you have an interesting genealogical question or fact relating to genealogy in Logan County, Illinois, email me.