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
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
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, J. A.
Jones, James, A.
Whenever a baby is unnamed, the index
card is filed as if the first name were "infant". Example:
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:
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
(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
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.
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.
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
- Book A (1866-1889) - intents and
- Minors (1866-1873)
- Book B (1880-1902) - intents and
Records after 1930 are located at the
Federal Courthouse in Urbana, Illinois.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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).
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.
Mortgage Docket Book No. 1 is indexed by name and covers
the years 1908=1925. Please ask the staff for this single volume.
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.
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.