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Revision as of 19:19, 12 April 2014

United States Gotoarrow.png Illinois Gotoarrow.png Archives and Libraries

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Archives, libraries, societies, private enterprise, groups and individuals are posting records online at lightning speed. Still, vast collections of invaluable offline records are available for research through these facilities.

Most have online catalogs or published record-finding aids, such as guides to their own collections or inventories of records housed elsewhere. Archives and libraries located near state boundaries usually collect records relating to the adjacent states.

Many archives and libraries have resources such as maps, gazetteers, and other place-finding aids to help you locate information about Illinois. They may have collections of previous research, such as family and local histories and biographies. Many have record-finding aids such as guides to their own collections or inventories of records housed elsewhere in the state.


An online directory to Illinois libraries is:

Illinois libraries on the Internet: Federal, state, consortia, academic, publc and private.

Names, addresses, and telephone numbers of many archives, libraries, and genealogical and historical societies are given in:

  • Illinois Libraries with Genealogical Collections [1]

The following archives, libraries, and societies have collections or services helpful for genealogical research:

Regional National Archives

National Archives Great Lakes (Chicago)
7358 South Pulaski Road
Chicago, IL 60629
Phone: (773) 581-7816
Internet: National Archives Great Lakes

State Archives, Libraries, and Societies

Illinois State Archives
Margret Cross Norton Building
Springfield, IL 62756
Phone: (217) 782-4682
Fax: (217) 524-3930
Internet: Illinois State Archives

Since the Illinois State Archives responds only by mail to inquiries, all fax, telephone, and e-mail inquiries must also contain a mailing address.

A helpful guide to the holdings of the Illinois State Archives is:

  • Descriptive Inventory of the Archives of the State of Illinois [2] This source is also available on compact disc from the state archives. Internet Archives has a free copy avialable online.

Illinois State Library
Gwendolyn Brooks Building
300 South Second Street
Springfield, IL 62701
Phone: (217) 785-5600
Internet: Illinois State Library

Illinois State Historical Library
Old State Capitol
112 North Sixth Street
Springfield, IL 62701-1507
Phone: (217) 558-8844
Fax: (217) 785-6250
Internet: Illinois State Historical Library

Illinois State Genealogical Society
P.O. Box 10195
Springfield, IL 62791
Phone: (217) 789-1968
Internet: Illinois State Genealogical Society

Illinois State Historical Society
P.O. Box 1800
Springfield, IL 62705-1800
Phone: (217) 525-2781

The State Historical Society was formed to support the Historical Library. The Society is independent of the Library and State, but continue to promote research, writing, and study of Illinois history.
See Collections of the Illinois State Histoircal Society.

Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library
112 N. Sixth Street
Springfield, IL 62701
Phone: (800) 610-2094 or (217) 782-5764

Holdings include: family genealogies; oral histories; county histories; cemetery inscriptions; atlases and plat books; indexes and transcriptions of census, vital records, and naturalization records for many counties. Records of the Grand Army of the Republic , the Civil War Union veteran's society, are also included. The online collection has a statewide obituary search for newspapers held at the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library.

Consortium of Academic and Research Libraries in Illinois (CARLI)
100 Trade Centre Drive, Suite 303
Champaign, IL 61820-7233
Phone: (217) 244-7593 or (866) 904-5843
Internet: br>

CARLI's Digital Collection links to 96 independent collections that are freely viewable by the general public–from an 1829 Alumni Catalog for Illinois College to 1837 snapshots of Chicago streets and everything in between.

Illinois Regional Archives Depository System (IRAD)

Many Illinois local government records are housed in regional archive depositories.  By following the links below you can find which county records are held at each depository.  In addition, the depository sites can help you discover other possible sources for records and information not available from IRAD.

IRAD Research Policy

You may visit an IRAD depository to research available records.  Because many of the depositories are associated with universities and observe university holidays, be sure to call before planning a visit. 

IRAD welcomes mail and telephone requests for research help.  No e-mail requests are available at this time.  There is no charge for research help, except for photocopy costs.  You will be informed if your copies exceed $5.  Otherwise you will be billed for your copy requests.  IRAD requests that you limit your request to 2 names at a time and that you wait for that response before submitting addtional requests.  Send your request directly to the IRAD regional depository holding the county records of interest. You may send requests to up to 5 different depositories at a time. 

IRAD Records Listings

Regional Map of IRAD Depositories  Click on the approprate region, then click on the county of interest for contact information, county formation, and other information about the county.  To search which county records are available in IRAD, from any IRAD page click on Local Governmental Records Holdings Database or link to it directly from here. Once on this page, by only entering the county name in the search box, you can see all IRAD holdings for any individual county.

See A Summary Guide to Local Governmental Records in the Illinois Regional Archives, available from the Illinois Regional Archives Depository System.[3]

For more information about IRAD and the regional depositories see Illinois Regional Archives Depositories.

IRAD Locations and Contacts

Illinois Regional Archives Depository System (IRAD) Wiki article about IRAD
Archives Building
Springfield, IL 62756
Phone: (217) 785-1266

Eastern Illinois University (EIU) Wiki article about EIU
Booth Library
600 Lincoln Avenue
Charleston, IL 61920
Phone: (217) 581-6093
Hours: Monday – Friday, except state holidays
9:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.; 1:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m.
EIU Region
Clark, Clay, Coles, Crawford, Cumberland, Douglas, Edgar, Edwards, Effingham, Jasper, Lawrence, Moultrie, Richland, Shelby, Wabash, Wayne

Illinois State University (ISU) Wiki article about ISU
2016 Warehouse Road
Campus Box 1520
Normal, IL 61790-1520
Phone: (309) 452-6027
Hours: Monday – Friday, except state holidays
9:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.; 1:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m.
ISU Region
Champaign, DeWitt, Ford, Grundy, Iroquois, Kankakee, Livingston, Logan, Marshall, McLean, Piatt, Tazewell, Vermillion, Woodford

Northeastern Illinois University (NEIU) Wiki article about NEIU
Ronald Williams Library
5500 N. St. Louis Avenue
Chicago, IL 60625-4699
Phone: (773) 442-4506
Hours: Monday – Friday, except state holidays
9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.
NEIU Region
Cook and City of Chicago

Southern Illinois University (SIU) Wiki article about SIU
c/o Special Collections
Morris Library – 6632
Carbondale, IL 62901-6632
Phone: (618) 453-3040
Hours: Monday – Friday, except state holidays
9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.
SIU Region
Alexander, Clinton, Franklin, Gallatin, Hamilton, Hardin, Jackson, Jefferson, Johnson, Madison, Marion, Massac, Monroe, Perry, Pope, Pulaski, Randolph, St. Clair, Saline, Union, Washington, White, Williamson

Northern Illinois University (NIU) Wiki article about NIU
c/o Regional History Center
Founders Memorial Library, Room 400
DeKalb, IL 60115
Phone: (815) 753-1807
Hours: Monday – Friday, except state holidays
8:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.; 1:00 p.m. to 4:30 p.m.
NIU Region
Boone, Bureau, Carroll, DeKalb, DuPage, JoDaviess, Kane, Kendall, Lake, LaSalle, Lee, McHenry, Ogle, Putnam, Stephenson, Whiteside, Will, Winnebago

University of Illinois at Springfield (UIS) Wiki article about UIS
LIB 144
One University Plaza, MS BRK 140
Springfield IL 62703-5407
Phone: (217) 206-6520
Hours: Monday – Friday, except state holidays
9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
UIS Region
Bond, Cass, Christian, Fayette, Greene, Jersey, Macon, Macoupin, Mason, Menard, Montgomery, Morgan, Sangamon, Scott

Western Illinois University (WIU) Wiki article about WIU
University Library
1 University Circle
Macomb, IL 61455
Phone: (309) 298-2716
Hours: Monday – Friday, except state holidays
8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.
WIU Region
Adams, Brown, Calhoun, Fulton, Hancock, Henderson, Henry, Knox, McDonough, Mercer, Peoria, Pike, Rock Island, Schuyler, Stark, Warren

Newberry Library

For further details see the Newberry Library Wiki page.

Newberry Library
60 West Walton Street
Chicago, IL 60610
Phone: (312) 943-9090
Reference desk: (312) 255-3512
Internet: Newberry Library

This library has research guides on various subjects related to genealogy and library holdings cataloged from 1978.  See Genealogy Collection Guides and Research Tools for more information about the collections. 

A surname index to genealogical periodicals and local history books in the Newberry Library was completed in 1915 and published as The Genealogical Index of the Newberry Library[4] Since this index is old, be sure to use the online guide sheet to this collection before using the source.

Swenson Swedish Immigration Research Center.png
Swenson Swedish Immigration Research Center
Denkman Memorial Library Augustana College

639 38th Street
Rock Island, IL 61201-2296
Telephone: 309-794-7204
Fax: 309-794-7443
E-Mail: sag@augustana.edu
Internet: http://www.augustana.edu/general-information/swenson-center-/about-us

Family History Centers

Family History Centers (FHCs) are branches of FamilySearch and the Family History Library in Salt Lake City, Utah (United States). There are many centers located in Illinois. Their goal is to provide resources to assist you in the research and study of your genealogy and family history by:

  • Giving personal one-on-one assistance to patrons
  • Providing access to genealogical records through the Internet or microfilm loan program
  • Offering free how-to classes (varies by location).

You can locate the nearest Family History Center and learn about them by:

  • Going to the county in the Research Wiki, and searching for Archives and Libraries. There will be a link to the Centers nearby.
  • You can go to the FamilySearch Centers. By clicking this link you will type in your address and searching. The nearest centers will come up on a map.
  • Clicking this Family History Center search for you will find a list of articles about the centers in Illinois. Each article will give you the address and location.

Illinois Online Records

Hand and keyboard.jpg Illinois
Online Records
Links to online databases and indexes that may include vital records, biographies, cemeteries, censuses, histories, immigration records, land records, maps, military records, naturalizations, newspapers, obituaries, or probate records.

Web Sites

You can find research tips and information about ancestors from Illinois in a variety of sources at local, state, national, and international levels. Much of the information is available at little or no cost. The following sites are important gateways to additional sites:

Cyndi's List: Links to a wide variety of Illinois resources.
Illinois USGenWeb. Volunteer-created list of genealogical databases, libraries, bulletin boards, and other resources available on the Internet, for each county.
Linkpendium: categorized links to many genealogy resources.


  1. Volkel, Lowell M., ed. Illinois Libraries with Genealogical Collections. Springfield, Illinois: Illinois State Genealogical Society, 1992. WorldCat 27373857 FHL Book 977.3 J53i.
  2. Bailey, Robert E., and Elaine Shemoney Evans, eds. Descriptive Inventory of the Archives of the State of Illinois. 2nd ed. Springfield, Illinois: Illinois State Archives, 1997. WorldCat 678163486 FHL book 977.3 J53ir
  3. Bailey, Robert E., et al., eds. A Summary Guide to Local Governmental Records in the Illinois Regional Archives. Springfield, Illinois: Illinois State Archives, 1992. WorldCat 26342080 FHL Book 977.356/S1 J53s.
  4. The Genealogical Index of the Newberry Library. Boston, Massachusetts: G.K. Hall, 1960. WorldCat 83367401 FHL films 928135–928137 and FHL book 973 D22n vols. 1–4