State of Illinois
Archives, Libraries, Publications
Historical & Genealogical Societies

Archives  •  Museums  •  Libraries  •  Periodicals  •  Historical & Genealogical Societies  •  Newspapers & Publications

It is advisable to acquaint yourself with just about any repository in Illinois which you might drop by by contacting to the relevant archive or library before you proceed.

The majority of, if not all, Illinois repositories contain written and published resources that introduce its collections and also research policy.

Illinois archives and historical institutions usually have On-line web sites that offer identical resources. Quite a few actually include down loadable sources for some or parts from the collections.

Illinois Archives

  • Illinois State Archives, Norton Building, Capitol Complex, Springfield, IL 62756; TELEPHONE: (217) 782-4682, Fax: (217) 524-3930; HOURS: Monday – Friday 8:00 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.
  • National Archives - Great Lakes Region (Chicago), 7358 South Pulaski Road, Chicago, Illinois 60629-5898; 773-948-9001; (Maintains retired records from Federal agencies and courts in Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio, and Wisconsin.)
  • Lake County History Archives, 27277 N Forest Preserve Rd, Wauconda, IL 60084; 847-968-3381 (phone)
  • Illinois Regional Archives Depository [IRAD] - IRAD Coordinator, Illinois State Archives, Archives Building, Spring and Edwards, Springfield, IL 62756; As part of the state archives system, seven regional depositories at state universities include archival material from 102 counties. Located on seven state university campuses, regional depositories house and service those records of local governments which have been appraised as having long-term values and have been transferred to the Archives' custody. County records include:
    • county board proceedings files and meeting minutes
    • records of births, deaths and marriages
    • land deeds, mortgage and tax sale records
    • assessors' and collectors' tax books
    • poll books and voter registers
    • naturalization records, including declarations of intent
    • probate records, including wills and will records, case files, administrators' and executors' records, guardianship records, and inventory and appraisement records
    • civil and criminal court case files, chancery court case files (including divorces), docket books and court proceedings, and insanity proceedings and records
    • coroner's inquest records and inquest files
    • miscellaneous county records, including almshouse/county home records and jail registers.
    • Township, municipal, and school records include township meeting minutes, highway commissioners' minutes, school trustees' minutes, pupil registers, school land sale records, city council proceedings files and meeting minutes, ordinance records and city election records. A special part of IRAD's holdings are from the City of Chicago which includes nearly 35,650 previously unknown documents that predate the Great Chicago Fire of 1871. In addition to these City Council proceedings files of 1833 through 1942, holdings include plats, atlases, and Sanborn Maps. Other Chicago records include election registers for 1888, 1890 and 1892 and ordinance records spanning 1837 to 1916.
  • Eastern Illinois University, Booth Library, 600 Lincoln Ave, Charleston, IL 61920; (217) 581-6093, Counties served: Clark, Clay, Coles, Crawford, Cumberland, Douglas, Edgar, Edwards, Effingham, Jasper, Lawrence, Moultrie, Richland, Shelby, Wabash, Wayne
  • Illinois State University, Campus Box 5500, Normal, IL 61790-5500; (309) 452-6027 Counties: Champaign, DeWitt, Ford, Grundy, Iroquois, Kankakee, Livingston, Logan, Marshall, McLean, Piatt, Tazewell, Vermilion, Woodford
  • Northeastern Illinois University (NEIU), Illinois Regional Archives Depository, Ronald Williams Library, Northeastern Illinois University, 5500 N. St. Louis Avenue, Chicago, IL 60625-4699773-442-4506; (773) 442-4506, Counties served: Cook
  • Northern Illinois University (NIU), Illinois Regional Archives Depository, c/o Regional History Center, Founders Memorial Library, Rm. 400, Northern Illinois University, DeKalb, IL 60115; 815-753-1807 Counties served: Boone, Bureau, Carroll, DeKalb, DuPage, JoDaviess, Kane, Kendall, Lake, LaSalle, Lee, McHenry, Ogle, Putnam, Stephenson, Whiteside, Will, Winnebago
  • Southern Illinois University (SIU), Illinois Regional Archives Depository, c/o Special Collections, Morris Library – 6632, Southern Illinois University, Carbondale, IL 62901-6632; 618-453-3040; Counties served: Alexander, Clinton, Franklin, Gallatin, Hamilton, Hardin, Jackson, Jefferson, Johnson, Madison, Marion, Massac, Monroe, Perry, Pope, Pulaski, Randolph, Saline, St. Clair, Union, Washington, White, Williamson
  • University of Illinois at Springfield (UIS), Illinois Regional Archives Depository, LIB 144, University of Illinois at Springfield, One University Plaza, MS BRK 140, Springfield, IL 62703-5407; 217-206-6520; Counties served: Bond, Cass, Christian, Fayette, Greene, Jersey, Macon, Macoupin, Mason, Menard, Montgomery, Morgan, Sangamon, Scott
  • Western Illinois University Region (WIU), Illinois Regional Archives Depository, University Library, Western Illinois University, 1 University Circle, Macomb, IL 61455; 309-298-2716; Counties served: Adams, Brown, Calhoun, Fulton, Hancock, Henderson, Henry, Knox, McDonough, Mercer, Peoria, Pike, Rock Island, Schuyler, Stark, Warren

Illinois Museums

Illinois Libraries

  • Illinois State Library, 300 South 2nd Street, Springfield, IL 62701-1796; Phone: (217) 785-5600 As the head of the public library system in the state, the library publishes Illinois Libraries, which frequently includes articles of genealogical interest. The library is the repository for federal and state documents; it holds all county histories and offers some research materials on interlibrary loan.
  • Illinois State Historical Library, Old State Capitol, Springfield, IL 62701 County histories, plat books, census indexes, cemetery indexes, city material, family and association files, microfilmed newspapers, manuscripts, and photographs are located beneath the restored old state capitol between 5th and 6th streets and Washington and Adams streets.

Illinois Periodicals

Genealogical journals offer you plenty of sources of facts, they may be overlooked by genealogy and family history researchers and genealogist in looking around for family history. The majority regional and county genealogical and/or historical societies produce periodicals that contain records in relation to the region or surrounding area they operate. Typically these publications have articles pertaining to records which aren't offered somewhere else.

  • Illinois State Genealogical Society Quarterly - has been published quarterly since 1969 by the society, surveying Illinois original source material, family genealogies, and research questions.
  • Illinois Historical Journal - formerly Journal of the Illinois State Historical Society, published four times a year since 1908, has excellent articles on local and state history.
  • Illinois Libraries - is published monthly by Illinois State Libraries, often with genealogical collections information.

Illinois Historical & Genealogical Societies

For almost every state there is a state genealogical society, a state genealogical council, or both. Besides their own work, Illinois groups in some cases help synchronize the efforts of area societies around the Illinois. Their specific publications, newsletters and quarterlies, supplement those created from the area societies.

Regional and State

County, Township and City

Religious and Ethnic

Research in Illinois Newspapers & Publications

Illinois Genealogical publications (magazines, newsletters, periodicals, books, etc.) include all types of worthwhile information about specific ancestors, entire lineages and families, places in time, and about all types of genealogical records and repositories. They enable you to discover a variety of information and facts about your ancestors from many historical newspapers, magazines, and other periodicals. These different kinds of sources can frequently supplement public records and provide information that is not recorded someplace else. Here, you can discover a lot more regarding your ancestor's potential every day activities by setting them in the framework of their time.

In 1814 Kaskaskia was the site of the first publication of the Illinois Herald, the first newspaper in the region. There are many indexes of genealogical data compiled from newspapers available in various locations. Historical and genealogical societies can provide locations of many of those indexes. The Internet is also a valuable source of information on those indexes.

The Illinois State Archives in Springfield is home to the J. Nick Perrin manuscript collection, which contains some of the earliest Illinois documents. In all, it consists of more than 5,000 documents. They cover St. Clair County at Belleville from 1737 to 1850, as well as the old American, French, and British settlements at Cahokia. One of the oldest documents is a marriage contract from 1737. Deaths and births from 1840 to 1858 can also be found in the collection, along with the following documents: Land Claims, Tax Records, Road Petitions, Registers of Slaves and Free Negroes, Probate Records.

The Kaskaskia Manuscripts can be found at the Illinois State Archives. They begin with 1708 and contain many notarial transaction listings including: Acknowledgments of Debt, Marriage Contracts, Land Sales, Clerk of the Court Registers, Documents Filed by Priests or Notaries.

Books

Newspapers - Illinois newspapers can offer all types of clues about historical occasions, local history, court and legal notices, obituaries, and much more.

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