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Champaign County Genealogical Society


Archives Database
Champaign County Historical Archives at the Urbana Free Library has a searchable surname index to local county records available in the archives. This is only a partial listing, additional records and indexes are available in the archives. If you find something on this database, please call or write to the Archives for costs and details to obtain a copy. Adding information to the SURNAME INDEX is an ongoing project. As other records of Champaign County are received our volunteers will be abstracting the information. It is a good idea to check the Index periodically for new additions.

Click to Search the Champaign County Historical Archives Database

 
Information and Instructions

The SURNAME INDEX
to local county records is available in the archives. When you visit the Archives of The Urbana Free Library, one of the first things you should do is check the SURNAME INDEX, a massive file with more than a quarter of a million cards indexing names of Champaign County people. If you are hunting for a person who ever lived in Champaign County, this is the first and easiest place to look.

Cards in the Index are filed alphabetically. When only a surname appears in the Index, the card is filed before a surname with a first name or initial. Example:

Jones
Jones, J. A.
Jones, James, A.

Whenever a baby is unnamed, the index card is filed as if the first name were "infant". Example:

Jones
Jones, Infant
Jones, J. A.

Names beginning with Mc or MAC are filed alphabetically as written. Example:

Macpherson, T. R.
McDonald, A. M.

Cards with Saint or St. are filed as if all letters were spelled out. Example:

St. Clair, G.
Saint John, E.

The Index provides access to the following information:
  1. Pre-1865 marriage records have been copied from courthouse records and are in book form in the Archives stacks. The records are arranged alphabetically. The call number is A ILLINOIS (Champ) MAR.

    Marriage license applications from 1878 through 1975. The index contains entries for all names that appear on the original application, ranging from he bride and groom on early applications to the bride and groom and their parents (including the maiden names of both mothers) on later applications. All the names on each application appear in the index on the groom's card, while the other cards make cross-references to the groom's card.

    The Archives has the original marriage license applications from 1878 through 1975, complete except for a gap in the 1880s. It also has licenses from 1833 through 1915 on microfilm, including those missing from the collection of original applications. Request the microfilm and the applications from the staff. To obtain a copy of the original a marriage license it is necessary to go to the Champaign County Clerk's office.

    Some index cards are stamped "DAR Marriage" and refer to marriage records of Champaign County compiled by the Daughters of the American Revolution. The eleven volumes of compiled records are located in the book stacks of the Archives. The call number is A ILLINOIS (Champ) MAR.

    Parental information begins in 1878 on the marriage register and in 1883 on marriage licenses.
     
  2. Obituaries from 1920-26, 1939-41, 1969 and 1971 to the present are indexed by the name of the deceased. Some index cards contain a brief extract drawn from a published obituary and will refer you to the "Obituary File", which contains the original obituaries clipped from newspapers and other sources. Request individual obituaries from the staff. Many obituaries have been indexed from the News-Gazette but have not been clipped. Copy the date of death and request the microfilm from the staff.

    Index cards that are stamped "DAR Obituaries" refer to obituaries from the News-Gazette for 1948 and 1949. These cards index records that were compiled by the Daughters of the American Revolution. The bound records are in the Archives book stacks under A ILLINOIS (Champ) RIC.
     
  3. Tombstone inscriptions for m any Champaign County cemeteries are indexed by the name of the deceased. Each card includes the name and dates on the tombstone and the name of the cemetery. Many of these cemetery records were compiled by the Daughters of the American Revolution. The volumes of transcribed records - arranged by cemetery - are in the Archives book stacks and are shelved under A ILLINOIS (Champ) CEM.
     
  4. Funeral home records from several local establishments, including Renner, Owens and Mittendorf are indexed by the name of the deceased. Each card includes date of death, date of burial and the name of the funeral home. Some cards also include the birth date, names of parents, name of spouse and place of burial. In addition to the cards in the Surname Index, there are records for the years 1887 to 1917 for the Renner Funeral Home and its predecessor, A. B. Shuck, in the book stacks under A ILLINOIS (Champ) FUN. Owens Funeral Home records also are on microfilm under A MICROFILM ILLINOIS (Champ) OWE. Health Funeral Home records are indexed in the book stacks under A ILLINOIS (Champ) HEA. Please ask the staff to see a copy of the original record.
     
  5. Mortality Schedules of Champaign County for 1860 and 1880. Index cards refer to published census schedules that list deaths that occurred in Champaign County from June 1, 1859 through May 31, 1860 and from June 1, 1879 through May 31, 1880. The volumes are located in the book stacks under A ILLINOIS (Champ) Census 1860 and A ILLINOIS (Champ) Census 1880.
     
  6. Birth records from 1878 through 1901 and September 1907 through June 1909 are indexed by the name of both the child and his parents. Complete information appears on the card for the child and index cards for the parents make cross-references to that card. The Archives owns a microfilm copy of these earlier records; please ask to see it. The original records are stored at the Champaign County Clerk's office in the Courthouse and you will need to go there if you want a copy of an original record.
     
  7. Birth announcements from 1981 to present. The index card contains the name of the child, the year of birth and the reference "see birth announcements file." The birth announcements file contains the original announcements clipped from newspapers. Request individual birth announcements from the staff.
     
  8. Estate (probate) records from 1833 through 1922. A card is provided for each person whose estate was probated, but not for other people, such as relatives, whose names appear in the probate records. The original probate records for this time period are stored in the Archives. Please request records by the year and number that appear on the index card. Estate records after 1922 are located in t he Champaign County Circuit Clerk's office at the Courthouse.
     
  9. Chancery Court records fro m1834 through 1922 are indexed by the names of all parties to each case. The index card indicates the type of case (including disputes, divorces, portions of property, trustee cases, bank failures, etc.), the year and the number assigned to the case by the court. The original Chancery records for this period are stored in the Archives. Please request files by number. Records from 1923 to the 1960s are being processed and will be added to the index as time permits. More recent records are in the Champaign County Circuit Clerk's office at the Courthouse.
     
  10. Guardian and conservator records from 1833 through 1922 are indexed by the names of all wards, minors, parents, guardians and conservators in each record. All of these names appear on the index card for the first ward named in each record and the other index cards for that record make cross-references to that card. The original records for this time period are stored in the Archives. Please request them by number. More recent records are stored in the Champaign County Circuit Clerk's office at the Courthouse.
     
  11. Naturalization papers from 1858 to 1930. Tow types of naturalization records are indexed: by declarations of intent to become citizen and final papers. Both types of records are indexed by the name of the person seeking naturalization. The original papers are stored in the Archives and should be requested by book name and/or number. Naturalization papers from 1858 though 1906 also are available on microfilm, including four volumes at the Champaign County Clerk's office:
    • Book A (1860-1866) - intents and final papers
    • Book A (1866-1889) - intents and final papers
    • Minors (1866-1873)
    • Book B (1880-1902) - intents and final papers

    Records after 1930 are located at the Federal Courthouse in Urbana, Illinois.
     

  12. Mothers' Pension records from 1916 through 1941 are indexed b the name of each mother and her dependents. full information, including the names of all dependents and their birth dates, appear on the card for each mother, while the cards for dependents make cross-references to that card. The original records are stored in the Archives. They list the amount of money paid per month to each mother and the date these payments were received. Please request these records from the staff.
     
  13. Five-generation "ancestor charts" are indexed by surname, but not by given name. The charts are copies of those prepared by Archives users and staff in the course of their research. They are stored in large notebooks and are located in the podium under the sign-in sheets. All surnames on each chart have been indexed. Charts are arranged by number.
     
  14. Family files are indexed primarily by surname and are stored in a group of filing cabinets in the book stacks room. Each file folder contains a variety of information on that surname, including newspaper clippings, correspondence, war records, obituaries, etc. A red or blue tag on the folder indicates that the family is descended directly from a pioneer who settled in the country before 1883 and that the family was issued a "Pioneer of Champaign County" certificate by the Champaign County Genealogical Society.
     
  15. Miscellaneous Records file from 1831 through 1972 indexed by the names of those primarily listed in the documents. The file includes military, family and legal documents, such as oaths, justice of the peace certificates, articles of agreement and attorney certificates. The file is located after the last drawer of Probate Records in the research room. Please request these records by file number.
     
  16. Judges Docket-Insanity Records from January 24, 1899 through March 19, 1915 are indexed by the name of the defendant. Records indicate verdict of the court, date of death and Kankakee State Hospital for the Insane admittances. Please request this single volume from the staff.
     
  17. Certificates of Moral Character from 1889 through 1936 are indexed by the name of the recipient. Certificates, issued to attorneys before taking the Bar Exam, include the name of the recipient, issuing judge and testifying lawyer. Please request this single volume from the staff.
     
  18. Jury Certificates from Champaign County Corner's office from 1896 through 1918 are indexed and alphabetically arranged gy name of the deceased. They include name of juror, name of coroner, amount paid for duty (to juror) and date of issuance. Please request records from the staff.
     
  19. Death Certificates from Champaign County Coroner's office from 1986 through 1989 are indexed by teh name of the deceased. Certificates include the name of the deceased, date of death, sex, race, state/country of birth, name of souse, names of parents, occupation, residence at the time of death, cause of death and burial arrangements Please request records from staff by the name of the deceased and date of death.
     
  20. Inquest records from Champaign County Coroner's office from 1916 through 1946 are indexed by the name of the deceased. Contained in three volumes, they include date of inquest, case number, cause of death, name of undertaker and sex, height, complexi0n and eye and hair color of the deceased. Please request records from the staff by date of inquest.
     
  21. Masonic Degree records for Centennial Lodge No. 7474, Philo, Illinois include "Petition for Degrees" for scattered years, primarily 1930-1960. The records are indexed by the name of the petitioner and are in remote storage (Box #27). Please request from the staff. Also included in the box are "Annual Returns" for 1919, 1934-1960, 1966-1971 and 1974-1975. Thee names have not been indexed. Ask the staff for information on other underlined lodge records.
     
  22. Published Legal Notices from the News-Gazette are indexed from January 1990 to the present and include name changes (both to new and former names), juvenile cases (juveniles name and those respondents interested in the juvenile), divorce cases (the names of the petitioner and the respondent), estate notices (the descendant's name), foreclosure notices and property sales (all respondents' names and the mortgagee) and adoptions (the name of the adoptee and those interested, but NOT he names of those adopting). Other miscellaneous notices in the index include orders of protection, orders to repair or destroy dangerous property, cases seeking damages for wrongful death, tax deeds (from non-payment of taxes) and marshals sales (for bankruptcy).
     
  23. Criminal Records from 1839 through 1868 are indexed by the name of the defendant. The record indicates the type of crimes and the date of the court appearance. Approximately 600 cases are indexed.
     
  24. Chattel Mortgage Docket Book No. 1 is indexed by name and covers the years 1908=1925. Please ask the staff for this single volume.
     
  25. Illinois Veterans' Commission Honor Roll indexes veterans buried in Champaign County cemeteries prior to July 1. 1955. The Surname index gives the veteran's name, the name of the war in which he served, the date of death and the cemetery name. Please request microfilm reel A Microfilm ILLINOIS ILL from the staff.

NOTE: Adding information to the SURNAME INDEX is an ongoing project. As other records of Champaign County are received our volunteers will be abstracting the information. It is a good idea to check the Index periodically for new additions.


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