Circuit Court Case Files 1819–1840 St. Clair County, Illinois
About this Circuit Court Case Files Index
Circuit court jurisdiction during this time period covered all criminal cases and all civil suits for more than $20.00. Further history of the Circuit Court and its records is explained on the IRAD website, courtesy Illinois State Archives (ISA).
Only the Plaintiff Index appears on this website. The general arrangement of the index was chronological order within each initial letter – A, then B, etc.). Not transcribed: the record book and page in which the clerk’s copy was recorded.
- Plaintiffs with no surname (usually slaves) are indexed under the alphabet letter beginning their first name.
- Find defendants with the site’s search (link above).
- Criminal cases are indexed under People.
- Case files numbered in the 7000’s followed by an asterisk (7246*) have not been located among the case files at the ISA or at IRAD, and are presumed lost or misfiled.
- The original index also includes the Defendant index, extends through 1857, and is available locally as St. Clair County Index to Court Records, microfilm reel number 30-1441. IRAD has additional indexes and case files.¹
- Name were spelled in various ways throughout the index and handwriting was difficult to interpret or faded in some instances. We suggest you check alternative spellings of names.
The Illinois State Archives (ISA) has the original case files in a vault. Read the Fee Schedule to order photocopies and contact the ISA for ordering details. Provide the complete information for the case file indexed on the SCCGS website.
1. Belleville Public Library (BPL), 121 East Washington Street, Belleville, Illinois 62220. The Illinois Regional Archives Depository – Carbondale has St. Clair’s Circuit Court Indexes from 1790 –1913, and Case Files dated after circa 1844 .
2. The majority of division of property or divorce cases were heard in Chancery Court. The St. Clair Circuit Court Chancery Case File Index (1815 – 1870) is provided by the ISA. Read about the types of documents in Chancery Court Records.
Sample Case Files
This 1856 Legal Dictionary may help with legal terminology.
Transcriptions of the following case files illustrate the various documents ordinarily found within a file.
Contents of the Case Files
Documents in the case files may include: summonses, affidavits of witnesses, subpoenas, bonds, receipts, depositions, declarations, decrees, jury lists, witness lists, indictments, warrants, writs of habeas corpus, verdicts (few), dismissals, and transcripts of coroner’s inquests.
Facts you may learn from a case file include
- the distance traveled by the sheriff to serve a summons at the named person’s place of abode (which could then be mapped);
- former name of a woman;
- relatives and neighbors of either party;
- plans to depart the county;
- the dollar amount of a debt;
- particulars of a divorce situation, and
- the names of relatives with right to property being divided.²
The outcome of the case (Judgment, Decree, or Order) is seldom part of the case file.
- Judgments were filed separately during this time period.
- St. Clair County Judgment Dockets (1825–1874), and Circuit Court Order Books (1801–1881) which are as good as Proceedings, are located at IRAD in Carbondale.
- The Belleville Public Library has Judgment Dockets on roll 30-2146 (Aug 1827– Sept 1834).
St. Clair County Genealogical Society, PO Box 431, Belleville, IL 62222-0431.
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