Macoupin County Illinois - Plan A Research Trip To Macoupin County IL

compiled by Gloria Frazier

Please email or call before going especially the County Archives or the County Societies. They are volunteers and may only work a couple hrs a week or by appointment. Some people are arriving thinking they will be open and they are not!!!

Plan A Research Trip
Macoupin County IL

Grandpa was born in Macoupin County IL. He died in Macoupin. Buried with many of his relatives in the same cemetery. He didn't have an education, well, only one day he went. He worked hard. He worked honest. He was a good father. He was strict. He represented a goodly part of the pioneers who arrived in Macoupin County IL.

Weather - Current

If I were planning a first time visit to Macoupin County for research then I would get on the free genealogy mail list and the free MacoupinCountyIL Google group.

The first part below is for one day of research in Carlinville and an added part below this part for more than one day of research in Macoupin County IL.

I had written this before and I have been there and done most of it, especially the courthouse several times. The difference today is that the offices have been changed as to locations in the building.

Good luck and if I can head you somewhere else in Macoupin, holler.

I was raised in the village of Nilwood many moons ago.<g>

Jo Ann Gile has gone to Macoupin to do genealogy research. She recalls..

Kathleen Mirabella's research aid is also very helpful.


One Day of Research In Carlinville Any Week Day

If you go to the courthouse on your own, you have to do your own research.
If you want help with the Courthouse and County Archives, contact Linda Kmiecik <[email protected]> in advance and tell Linda your dates in Carlinville.
Otherwise, no help may be available.
The County Archives is manned by volunteers and only open on Fridays and may not be open on a Friday so the County Archives needs to be contacted via Linda.
Have your list of needs with dates ready. Take a notepad and some small post-it types so you can mark pages you want listed in an index or from a ledger itself.
Go to the courthouse, block east of the square. Magnificent old building.  To enter, you must go to the security entrance at northwest ground. From security, there is an elevator at the south end or walk up the staircase at either the north or south end.
If you need a copy, ask about copies in each office.

They should allow you to take an index book out into the hallway to look up names, make notes & note the Book, page, & certificate numbers.  You may use the table and the request forms on it.  Return one book before obtaining another book. If they aren't overwhelmed with "right now" work, they will probably make a genealogical (not certified) copy ($5) right on the spot for you.
Write down Deed Book # and page number(s) and ask for help to find the Deed Books needed.
A note: you might want to pay the fees and come back later for your certificate copies as time is of the essence. Rush off to your next need in the Courthouse.
Circuit Clerk staff will not make copies. Might be wise to take a scanner. You can ask about copies.
Probate records takes more time than the County Clerk's Office.
You search the recorded and index ledgers yourself (ledgers are more complicated than in the County Clerk's office to find yourself the first time).  Far better is to first do research online at home, via the Macoupin homepage, so you go in with the needed info – go to:
- this includes only Probate Index Book A, earliest (1830s) to c. 1881.
In the Circuit Clerk's Office, check the same Index Book A and copy down all ledgers listed for the probate. For Index Book A extra ledgers are listed on the internet as “Several ledger pages listed.” When we did the online index, we didn't include all ledger names and numbers. We just listed the original packet number.
If the original probate packet is missing, you will need (1) the Will Ledger letter or number and pages, (2) the Inventory Ledger letter or number and pages, (3) the Appraisement Ledger letter or number and pages, (4) the Fee Ledger name or number and page numbers to get your information. It is imperative a person copy down all those ledger and page nos.

At the Courthouse, Probate Index Book B covers 1881 – c. 1910.  Index Book C covers 1911 – c. 1926.  Index Book D covers 1927 – 1948.
In the probate box area, if you find an original packet number you would like to have copies of, oh boy, the boxes are at the ceiling and you might stand out in the hallway and holler for some strong person to help you. That isn't too far off because I haven't known them to get the boxes down for you. I have had first time luck balancing "ceiling" boxes down but it is difficult.  If you need help, the office will recommend that you contact Linda Kmiecik.

For later Probate records, you must ask for help of the Probate Room staff.  These later records are considered “current probates.”  At the least they should find for you the “P” number of the file based on the name of the deceased and approximate death date, which looks like 73P123 = 1973 P(robate) 123rd consecutive probate case for that year.
To get this later file, you need to request it from Linda Kmiecik, providing the “P” number, because these later files are all at the Macoupin Co. Archives building.  Please advise what papers you want copied – only the will, or distribution papers showing who got what, etc.
All I can suggest is that you have Linda along with you and maybe you and Linda can get someone to retrieve the box.  If Linda is not with you, your best bet is to write to her and request that she get it for you, sending her the index info and especially the box number.  Linda charges $10 an hour and 25 cents a page, plus postage.  Linda works fast and combine small originals onto one 8-1/4” x 14” where possible.
If you have time, take the self-guided tour (pick up your walkman-leave returnable deposit at the Circuit Clerk's office - better get your research done first) - leave some time for the library (time running out, may have to fast forward the walkman, you need to be out of the courthouse by 1 or 2 pm <g>). If you remember, when you are outside of the courthouse look south across the street and the old jail (no longer in use) built at the time of the courthouse, abt 1860's, is still there. We called it the "White Rock Hotel" when I lived in Macoupin and it was in use.
Hardees right across from the Carlinville Public Library. Go off the square north about 5 blocks on Route 4 which is Broad St.
Reno’s, an Italian restaurant on the northwest side of square, a great pizza/Italian buffet for lunch

Nick’s Italian Restaurant, 201 McCausland - another great pizza/Italian restaurant go west on Route 108 across the railroad tracks near Sullivan’s drug store, etc., 217-854-4544.
Both Reno’s and Nick’s have week day pizza/Italian buffets for lunch.
McDonalds and Dairy Queen. Leave the square west on Route 108, keep on truckin' west thru the light and across RR tracks, you will see the signs.
A notch above is Magnolia’s Restaurant, highly recommended, located at 531 S. West St. in Carlinville, 217-854-7167.
Walmart Supercenter - On Route 108 westbound, before you cross the railroad tracks and at the light on the east side of the tracks, turn south onto the Shipman blacktop and proceed about a 1/2 mile to the store.

Off the square north about 5 blocks to the stop light, turn east onto West Nicholas Street. Right at the turn, the Carlinville Public Library is on North side of Nicholas street. (call for hours 217-854-3505).
Genealogy room. You will have to do your own research.
Run thru the large metal Surname file cabinets for any file with your family surname - use the post-its.
Obituary Card File cabinet. These are 3x5 index cards.
Original census sheet for Macoupin you just gotta have, ck the microfilm holdings for census (the Carlinville Public Library has all the original copy Macoupin County Censuses on microfilm) and other types of resources.
Microfilm - Carlinville newspapers for obits and stories - the library has all available Carlinville newspapers on microfilm (hopefully, you have experience from the LDS FHC threading the microfilm reader/copier.)
On the book shelves in the Genealogy room, grab the books (history, biographical history, atlas, local town histories, county histories) you need copies from, use the Post-its marking on Post-its the page numbers. Ck the time. Take the stack of material with Post-its to copier.

Rhonda Coulter writes, "I was there last fall. They had a copy machine available for public use. It was 10 cents a copy and they didn't charge me for mistakes. :)"
Tom Bunt added, "The library has two copying machines; one in the Genealogy room and one in the main area. The one in the main area makes color as well as b/w. The color copies are very inexpensive; $1.80 for a BIG colored copy. I've found this handy for making copies of old (or new) photographs, plat book pages that are colored, and other colored maps. It makes especially good copies of old black and white pictures."
If you find a lot of stuff to copy, better have an extra $100 or so with you for that purpose. If that had been my first time for one day, I could have easily spent that and more for copies, etc, especially with the ($15 fee when I researched) $5 fee per certificate in the County Clerk's office and all the other copies I needed.
Hopefully, you will have a spouse or 2nd party with you that you can kinda boss around. I have a husband who has done that for me in many states.

Take you a month to go thru all the goodies when you return home.

There are other places in Carlinville to see and do but for one day of research the above is what I would advise if you have a list of research which needs to be done. Maybe some others can throw some different suggestions out for your day of research in Carlinville.
For area touring, Carlinville Chamber of Commerce on the square.

Townships and Towns



More Than One Day of Research In Macouupin County IL

If I had more than one day for research in Macoupin County IL, I would include:
First, I would make sure I covered the first set of places in Carlinville I mentioned for the one day trip.
If I have another day or two or three, I could slow down a bit and might manage to get back a second time to a place I wanted more out of and get some touring, sightseeing in.


Jo Ann Gile has gone to Macoupin to do genealogy research. She recalls..

"Yes, Gloria, it is everything you say it is and more. I have been there twice and plan to go back.

As I walked up those many steps (steps do not enter the courthouse today because of the security check) to enter the Courthouse I tried to feel the emotions my great grandfather felt as a small boy who was entering the courthouse with his many older siblings to face the judge to receive his inheritance that his much beloved grandfather had left them. The grandfather had remembered his grandchildren and granted to them the share that his much loved first child would of received if she had not died when my grandfather was 5 years old.

I visited the cemeteries and could feel the sorrow the family members felt as they layed my grandparents to rest. Everywhere I went I felt the presence of their struggles, love and sorrow and knew for sure these people had really lived and were not just names on a census or cemetery reading. Yes we need to revisit sites that instill in us the realism that these people were once just like us and like them we will be someday.

I would encourage anyone to go visit Carlinville and live the experience for yourself.

Love you Macoupin people.

Jo Ann"


I made my first trip to Macoupin County this week, and was charmed by the area. I found some great new information on my family (STEELY, DODSON, DANIEL, WHEELER, OWENS and WILKINSON) at both the public library and the courthouse in Carlinville, as well as friendly and helpful staff. I was unpleasantly surprised, however, to learn that the dome of the courthouse has recently been declared structurally unsound and that courthouse staff have been directed to no longer go up there to retrieve the court records that are stored there, which include items such as the earliest indexes to civil court cases, including divorces.

Karen Steely


County Coordinator
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