Rock Island County Genealogy Resources
Below are links to resources that have information on Rock Island County history and its inhabitants.
Rock Island County Clerk
The Rock Island County Clerk maintains vital records for the County. Indices of birth, marriage and death records are now accessible on the County Clerk’s website. County Clerk Karen Kinney says, ”The County Clerk’s office wants to help residents trace their family tree.” County IT programmers currently have PDF versions of the indices online. They are searchable by name and date. People searching will be able to find information like occupations, residences, cause of death, spouses, bride’s and groom’s parents, burials and more. The Rock Island County Clerk began keeping records in 1832. All physical copies of birth, marriage and death records have been scanned and preserved in special acid-free envelopes to prevent deterioration.The office has birth records from 1877 to present, death records from 1878 to present, and marriage records from 1834 to present. Vital records can be purchased in the County Clerk’s office either in person, through the mail or by express mail service. Click here to download the Application for a “genealogical copy” from the Rock Island County Clerk.
Illinois State Archives Databases
The Illinois State Archives maintains a variety of databases and a drop down menu lets you limit the search to Rock Island County. Indexes include vital records, veterans and land tract sales among others. Also provided is a link to the Illinois Regional Archives Depository, showing which Rock Island County records are held at Western Illinois University.
Rock Island County Historical Society
The Rock Island County Historical Society provides an index to selected materials in their collection including obituaries, newspapers, photographs and vertical files.
Birth Record Indexes
Illinois Births and Christenings
This partial index of Illinois births lists name, birth date and place, and names of father and mother.
Index to Certificates of Births in Rock Island County, Illinois (RICIGS Members only) (Available for purchase to non-members in our RICIGS Shop)
This index contains transcribed records from Book 1 (1877-1907) and Book 2 (1908-1921) located at the Rock Island County Courthouse. Data includes name, parents’ names, and year of birth.
Marriage Record Indexes
1833 – 1900
Illinois Statewide Marriage Index lists marriages for Rock Island County from 1833 to 1900. The database includes the name of the bride and groom and the marriage license number and date of marriage. Additional information is available for some dates in the Supplements below.
You will need the license number from the index above to find additional information in these supplements for Rock Island County marriages. Starting in Dec 1877 the place of residence and age of the bride and groom are listed. In Dec 1882 the names of the parents of the bride and groom were added to the record.
Rock Island County Marriage Supplement Part II 1877 (Dec) – 1884 (RICIGS Members only) (Available for purchase to non-members in our RICIGS Shop)
Rock Island County Marriage Supplement Part III 1885 – 1900
1900 (January 3) – 1901 (February 28)
Rock Island County Illinois Marriages (RICIGS Members only) (Available for purchase to non-members in our RICIGS Shop)
This index includes license number, date of marriage and the following information for both the bride and groom: name, place of residence, age and parents’ names.
1907 (July 31) – 1910 (December 15)
Bride and Groom Index – Register of Marriages Rock Island County, Illinois: Book 5 (RICIGS Members only) (Available for purchase to non-members in our RICIGS Shop)
This index includes license number, date of marriage, names of bride and groom and parents’ names.
Death Related Indexes
Rock Island County Cemeteries
The Rock Island County Illinois Genealogical Society has organized information on cemeteries in the County on their website.
Rock Island County Probate Case Files Index
This index includes name, year and type of filing for 7,842 files from Rock Island County held by the Illinois Regional Archives Depository (IRAD) System at Western Illinois University in Macomb. The collection is thought to be nearly complete for this period of time. Images of some Rock Island County Probate files can be found at FamilySearch, https://familysearch.org/search/collection/1834344
Rock Island County, Illinois Will Abstracts, Books A – D
These abstracts of Rock Island County wills usually contain the name of the decedent, family members, witnesses and executors and the dates of death and probate. Sometimes there is information on beneficiaries. (link to members only pdf RI County Will Abstracts A-D)
Early 1900’s-Early 2000’s
Rock Island County Historical Society Obituary Index
This Obituaries Database contains an index of approximately 63,000 obituaries published from the early 1900’s through early 2000’s. Information includes name, date of newspaper and file location of the obituary.
Illinois Death Index
This database provides a list of death certificates filed with the Illinois Department of Public Health between 1916 and 1950. Index includes name, date of death, county and city.
Obituary Indexes (RICIGS)
The Rock Island County Illinois Genealogical Society (RICIGS) has compiled indexes of obituaries found in the Rock Island Argus and/or Quad City Times newspapers. The circulation area for both newspapers includes Eastern Iowa, Metro Quad Cities and Western Illinois. Information includes name, date of death, date of obituary, maiden name when available and newspaper publishing the obituary.
Funeral Memorial Card Index (RICIGS)
The Rock Island County Illinois Genealogical Society collects memorial cards from several funeral homes in the Illinois Quad-Cities. Information in the index includes name, birth date and place, death date and place, place of interment and name of funeral home. The cards are available for viewing in the RICIGS Library at Rock Island County Historical Society Library. Although there are some earlier memorial cards, most are from 2005 to present.
1877 The Past and Present of Rock Island County, Ill.
The Past and Present of Rock Island County, Ill history contains a history of the county, its cities, towns, &c., a biographical directory of its citizens, war record of its volunteers in the late rebellion, portraits of early settlers and prominent men, general and local statistics, map of Rock Island County, history of Illinois, Constitution of the United States, miscellaneous matters, etc. Chicago: H.F. Kett & Co.
1885 Portrait and Biographical Album of Rock Island County, Illinois
The Portrait and Biographical Album of Rock Island County, Illinois history contains full-page portraits and biographical sketches of prominent and representative citizens of the county: together with portraits and biographies of all the governors of Illinois, and of the presidents of the United States : also containing a history of the county, from its earliest settlement to the present time. Chicago: Biographical Pub. Co.
1897 The Biographical Record of Rock Island County, Illinois
The Biographical Record of Rock Island County, Illinois. Chicago: S.J. Clarke Pub. Co.
1905 Early Rock Island
Early Rock Island. Moline, Ill. Press of Desaulniers & Co.
1908 Historic Rock Island County
Historic Rock Island County contains history of the settlement of Rock Island County from the earliest known period to the present time : embracing references of importance, and including a biography of Rock Island County’s well-known citizens. Rock Island, Ill.: Kramer & Co.
1914 Historical Encyclopedia of Illinois and History of Rock Island County.
Chicago: Munsell Pub. Co.
- Volume 1: Historic Rock Island County.
- Volume 2: Biographical history of Rock Island County’s early settlers and leading business men.
Rock Island Argus
The Rock Island Argus for the years of 1861 – 1923 has been digitized and is available through the Library of Congress, Chronicling America National Digital Newspaper Program.
- 1861-1871 The Evening Argus. (Rock Island, Ill.)
- 1871-1872 Rock Island Argus. (Rock Island, Ill.)
- 1872-1873 The Rock Island Daily Argus. (Rock Island, Ill.)
- 1873-1877 The Daily Argus. (Rock Island, Ill.)
- 1877-1885 Rock Island Argus. (Rock Island, Ill.)
- 1885-1886 The Argus. (Rock Island, Ill.)
- 1886-1893 Rock Island Daily Argus. (Rock Island, Ill.)
- 1893-1920 Rock Island Argus. (Rock Island, Ill.)
- 1920-1923 The Rock Island Argus and Daily Union. (Rock Island, Ill.)
The Moline Public Library has digitized the Moline Dispatch and early Moline Newspapers
Newspapers published in RI County
The Illinois Newspaper Project has published a list of known newspapers published in Rock Island County and identifies libraries that hold each newspaper.
Additional links to websites about Rock Island County:
Grave Locator Web Map for Riverside and Moline Memorial Cemeteries
GenWeb Rock Island County Illinois
Illinois Ancestors for Rock Island County
Rock Island Family Search Wiki
Rock Island National Cemetery – National Cemetery Association
Illinois Local Governmental Records Listing – Arranged by County