Illinois Archives and Libraries

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

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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.


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

Directory of Illinois Museums Including Historical, Cultural, and Scientific Agencies. Springfield, Illinois: Illinois Association of Museums and Illinois Historic Preservation Agency, 1996. This source is not available at the Family History Library, but most libraries in Illinois have a copy. An earlier source is:

  • A Guide to the Cultural Resources in Illinois [1]

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

National Archives Great Lakes Region (Chicago)

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

State Archives, Libraries, and Societies

Illinois State Archives
Margret Cross Norton Building
Springfield, IL 62756
Telephone: 217-782-4682
Fax: 217-524-3930

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
Telephone: 217-785-5600

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

Illinois State Genealogical Society
P.O. Box 10195
Springfield, IL 62791
Telephone: 217-789-1968
Other genealogical societies are listed in the Directory of Illinois Museums and the Reithmaier book, both cited at the beginning of this section.

Illinois State Historical Society
Old State Capitol
Springfield, IL 62701
Telephone: 217-525-2781

Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library
112 N. Sixth Street
Springfield, IL 62701
Telephone: 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
Telephone: 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.

A useful guide to records in IRAD depositories is:

  • A Summary Guide to Local Governmental Records in the Illinois Regional Archives [3]

Further Reading

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

IRAD Depositories

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

IRAD—Eastern Illinois University (EIU) Wiki article about EIU
Illinois Regional Archives Depository - Booth Library
Eastern Illinois University
600 Lincoln Avenue
Charleston, IL 61920
Telephone: (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

IRAD—Illinois State University (ISU) Wiki article about ISU
Illinois Regional Archives Depository
Illinois State University
2016 Warehouse Road
Campus Box 1520
Normal, IL 61790-1520
Telephone: (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

IRAD—Northern Illinois University (NIU) Wiki article about NIU
Illinois Regional Archives Depository
c/o Regional History Center
Founders Memorial Library
Room 400
Northern Illinois University
DeKalb, IL 60115
Telephone: (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

IRAD—University of Illinois at Springfield (UIS) Wiki article about UIS
Illinois Regional Archives Depository
LIB 144
University of Illinois at Springfield
One University Plaza, MS BRK 140
Springfield IL 62703-5407
Telephone: (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

IRAD—Southern Illinois University (SIU) Wiki article about SIU
Illinois Regional Archives Depository
c/o Special Collections
Morris Library – 6632
Southern Illinois University
Carbondale, IL 62901-6632
Telephone: (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

IRAD—Northeastern Illinois University (NEIU) Wiki article about NEIU
Illinois Regional Archives Depository
Ronald Williams Library
Northeastern Illinois University
5500 N. St. Louis Avenue
Chicago, IL 60625-4699
Telephone: (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

IRAD—Western Illinois University (WIU) Wiki article about WIU
Illinois Regional Archives Depository
University Library
Western Illinois University
1 University Circle
Macomb, IL 61455
Telephone: (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
Telephone: 312-943-9090
Telephone to 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.

Major collections at the Newberry Library are described in:

  • Guide to Local and Family History at the Newberry Library [4]

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[5]

Family History Library

To learn more about the history and record-keeping systems of Illinois counties, use the 33 inventories of the county archives published around 1940 by the Historical Records Survey. The Family History Library has copies of most of these. These inventories can be found in the Family History Library Catalog by using a Place Search under:


Web Sites

You can find computerized 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. Addresses on the Internet change frequently. The following sites are important gateways to additional sites:

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

Cyndi's List: Links to a wide variety of Illinois resources.

Illinois USGenWeb. In The USGenWeb Project [Internet site]. N.p., 1999 [accesssed 18 May 2011]. This is a cooperative effort by many volunteers to list genealogical databases, libraries, bulletin boards, and other resources available on the Internet, for each county, state, and country.

United States Resources: Illinois. In RootsWeb. N.p., 28 August 1999 [accessed 18 May 2011]. Available at This list of sites and resources includes a large, regularly updated research coordination list.

Most Family History Centers have computers with access to a variety of premium content genealogy web sites. Most public libraries and college libraries provide free access to and HeritageQuest.


  1. Reithmaier, Tina M., ed. A Guide to the Cultural Resources in Illinois. Springfield, Illinois: The Office of the Secretary of State, 1988. WorldCat 18848702 FHL Book 977.3 C44g.
  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 21428656 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. Sinko, Peggy Tuck. Guide to Local and Family History at the Newberry Library. Salt Lake City, Utah: Ancestry, 1987. Ancestry is a trademark of Ancestry, Inc. WorldCat 17321761 FHL Book 977.311 A3s
  5. The Genealogical Index of the Newberry Library. Boston, Massachusetts: G.K. Hall, 1960. WorldCat 83367401 FHL 130151 Film 928135–37FHL 973 D22n vols. 1–4 Large Q Book.