The relevancy of Bond County as an early Midwestern genealogical research site, may be viewed from the stand point of its historical linkage to statehood development and the early development of transportation access within its present county lines. Originally a part of Madison County, Bond County was one of the few earliest counties established in the transition of the Illinois Territory into statehood in 1818. Within its formation in 1817, the county was a vast land area extending to the shores of Lake Superior and included a large portion of the present State of Wisconsin. Many central and northern Illinois counties were later established from parts of this original Bond County.
The major early roads provided important national and regional migration routes for populations from diverse locations, as well as access for transportation of regional agricultural products destined for the St. Louis markets. Those roads included the western extension of the Cumberland Road now parts of which are State Route 40 and a north-south road later called the Black Diamond Trail, now State Route 127.
Early county settlements were established along or near the travel routes and much information may be found of those early residents. The origin of the early residents reflected the diverse migration patterns gripping the plains. Some came from eastern states of New England and Virginia others from Kentucky, Tennessee, and the Carolinas. Unfortunately, the identity of the very large immigrant population is unknown and the road sides became some of the county's earliest unmarked graves.
The earliest records of the county are from the 1817 temporary county seat at Hill's Fort, and Perryville the first Bond county seat. Both settlements have long since been abandoned and the Perryville site is now located in Fayette County. Other early information pertaining to Bond County has been located in the State Archives in Springfield, Illinois and the National Archives in Washington, D. C. These records include military records and the first land survey.
Records were moved to the present county seat, Greenville, Illinois in 1821. These records moved from various courthouse buildings until the present structure was built. They survived a fire which destroyed the third Bond County Court House in 1883. Fortunately, it appears most of the records were saved. Records from required years are complete with the exceptions of a 1879-80 gap in the Bond County Marriages. Original county records and documents are now located in the Bond County Circuit Clerk's Court House Office.
In 1981 the Bond County Genealogical Society was founded to preserve, research and disseminate the genealogical heritage of Bond County. Over the years the society has developed a collection that now contains over four hundred volumes. The volumes include numerous works relating to the records residing in the County Court House. In addition to these books are numerous microfilms containing pertinent census information and county newspapers.
Click here to read a list of tributes to past BCGS members who have contributed so much to the organization and its collection that their passings cannot go unrecognized.
The Greenville Public Library is home to the Society's collection. Many of the publications that can be viewed for research at the Library are listed on our society's Resources page. A more detailed list is available in a booklet in the Genealogy Room. The Genealogy room at the Public Library has adequate facilities for researching the ever expanding collection. The Library is handicapped accessible. The Library Director Mr. Mike Westbrooks and staff are helpful and accommodating. Photocopying is available from the library at a fee of 25¢ per copy. Because of budget restrictions the Library has limited opening hours:
Monday - Tuesday
|9 am - 5 pm|
Wednesday - Thursday
|10 am - 8 pm|
|8 am - 5 pm|
|8 am - noon|
In May 2012, we moved our Genealogical Resource Collection a few yards across the lower level of the Public Library. We were able to do this after the Library received a donation which allowed them to remodel a former storage room into space for the Genealogical Society Collection. We are grateful for this larger work area with more natural lighting and ample electrical outlets. The Public Library also provides Wi-Fi internet access to its patrons, so you can use your laptop for supplementary research while you are there. To use the new Genealogy Room, please sign in at the main library desk and "check out" the room key.
Greenville Public Library
414 West Main Street
Greenville, Illinois 62246