Madison County is located in southwest Illinois. It lies along the Mississippi River and compirises part of the greater St. Louis metropolitan area. Madison County was formed in 1812 from portions of Randolph and St. Clair Counties. It was named for our fourth U.S. President James Madison and originally contained most of present-day Illinois as well as Wisconsin, Michigan’s Upper Peninsula and part of Minnesota, in other words, a large portion of the Northwest Territory. By 1843 it had been reduced to its current size.
Birth and death records have been kept since 1878. Marriage records date to the founding of the county, while some Probate files and Land Records are even earlier. Many of these records have been digitized and are available at FamilySearch.org.
The county courthouse is located in the county seat of Edwardsville and vital records may be obtained at https://www.co.madison.il.us/departments/county_clerk/vital_records/genealogy_research.php . Some records may also be located at the IRAD at Southern Illinois University. There, in addition to vital records, probate records and land records, one might find poor farm records and naturalization records.
The Madison County Genealogical Society may be found at http://sites.rootsweb.com/~ilmadcgs/index.html. In addition, the Hayner Public Library in Alton contains books and records related to early Madison County. They may be found at https://www.haynerlibrary.org/genealogy-local-history/about-genealogy-local-history.
Note: This was originally published in the "County Spotlight" column in the Illinois State Genealogical Society Newsletter (August 2021).