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The Daily Genealogist: McHenry County Genealogical Society, Illinois

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Valerie Beaudrault

Valerie Beaudrault
Assistant Editor

McHenry County Genealogical Society, Illinois

McHenry County is located in northeast Illinois. Woodstock is the county seat. The McHenry County Genealogical Society has made a number of resources available on its website. Click on the Search Ancestors tab and choose from the drop down list to access them.

St. John the Baptist Catholic Church Records
Volume 1 of the Early Records of St. John the Baptist Catholic Church, which covers the years 1852 to 1868, contains records from the registers of baptisms, confirmations, marriages, and burials. In 1841 German immigrants organized the church in Johnsburg, Illinois. A permanent priest was not appointed until 1852, when official recordkeeping began. The registers have been translated from ecclesiastical Latin. Select the database from the drop down list and scroll through the records, which are in chronological order. There is also an online surname index. Click on the link to view it.

Newspaper Indexes

The Herald
The Herald newspaper began as the Nunda Herald and became the Crystal Lake Herald in 1908. There are two databases. The first is an index to death notices found in the newspaper from 1880 through 1979. (Issues from July 10, 1891, to July 14, 1893, and July 13, 1894, through July 4, 1895, are missing.) Clicking on the title link will allow you to access the records by selecting the first letter link of the deceased’s surname. This will open a new page with the alphabetical index. The fields in the database are name, age, death date, and information about the issue in which the notice was published. The second database is an index to marriage announcements for the same period; however, you must be a member of the McHenry County Genealogical Society to access the indexes after 1919. There are both brides and grooms indexes. Click on the title link to access the records by selecting the first letter link of the bride’s or groom’s surname.

Woodstock Sentinel
According to the website, the Woodstock Sentinel, which began publication in 1856, is the oldest newspaper being published in McHenry County. The database is an index to death notices that appeared in the newspaper between 1856 and 1894. Click on the first letter link of the deceased’s surname to open a new page with an alphabetical list. The data fields are surname, age, date of death, and date of issue.

Marengo Republican
This weekly newspaper began in 1867, then moved to Marengo a year later and took the name Marengo Republican. It ran until it was purchased in 1987. The index begins in 1872 and covers the remainder of the run. Click on the first letter link of the deceased’s surname to open a new page with an alphabetical list. The data fields are surname, age, date of death, and date of issue.

McHenry Plaindealer
The McHenry Plaindealer was first published in 1875. The database is an index to the death notices published from 1875 through 1880. A number of issues are missing between July 23, 1879 and May 12, 1880, and are not included in the index. Click on the first letter link of the deceased’s surname to open a new page with an alphabetical list. The data fields are surname, age, date of death, and date of issue.

You may purchase copies of the newspaper notices from the McHenry County Historical Society for a small fee.

In addition, the website includes other resources, such as every name indexes to the 1880 and 1930 federal censuses for McHenry County and names indexes to the MCIGS Connection Quarterly, the society’s publication.


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