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Judy Nelson

155 N. Main Street
(618) 296-4470

For additional information 
contact Judy Nelson 618-296-4932 
or Elsie Wasser at 618-656-2299

For Immediate Release


EDWARDSVILLE, July 23, 2012 -Madison County Circuit Clerk Judy Nelson announced the Circuit Clerk's Office has undertaken an extensive initiative to preserve thousands of historic court records through digital imaging.

"Creating digital images of historic records ensures they will be available for research and safe against loss or disaster," Nelson said. "But equally important is that once the digital images are created, they are being published online and available to the public. The records are valuable to historians and genealogists, as well as people just curious about family history."

The volumes include probate records that can reveal family relationships as well as household and real estate inventories. The documents present a unique historical perspective of Madison County and its court system. "These court records reveal specific information about economic conditions and the people who lived in Madison County from almost 200 years," Nelson said. "As we celebrate Madison County's Bicentennial, it is appropriate the records are now readily available to the public."

According to Nelson, digital images of more than 407 volumes of probate records have already been created and 118 of those volumes have been uploaded to the internet hosting site: "The site currently contains more than 102,000 images and more are being added every week. When the project is complete, there will be hundreds of volumes of probate case records online," Nelson added.

Emancipation records of freed slaves and 122 volumes of immigration records dating back to 1800s are also part of the online collection. The naturalization and emancipation records at the Circuit Clerk's office were researched by local genealogists and painstakingly recorded some years ago. Two women, Elsie Wasser and Jane Shelley, transcribed the handwritten immigration documents and indexes into typed pages on their own time. Wasser also transcribed the emancipated slave records. "It was clearly a labor of love by these two dedicated individuals, and one that will benefit researchers for many years to come," said Nelson. The typed pages are imaged as well as the original documents and serve as a guide to searching the records.

Nelson said there are three separate collections available at the online site:

Naturalization & Immigration Records - These records from the 1850s through 1950s are searchable by the names and aliases of the immigrants, and the names of spouses and children. Many of these records have photos attached to them. Serious and amateur genealogists will be able uncover ancestors who immigrated from other countries and made their homes in Madison County. More images from the collection will be added to the website over the next year.

Emancipation Slave Registers - Three volumes of records from the 1820s to the 1860s, including images of the original pages from the registries and typed transcripts of documents.

Probate Case Records & Indexes - More than 118 volumes of case records and indexes, beginning in the 1800s, are included in the collection.

For additional information on the digital imaging of records by the Madison County Circuit Clerk's Office, visit the online website at, or contact the Circuit Clerk's Office at 6l8-296-4470.

User fees paid by litigants who file cases at the Circuit Clerk's office were used to finance the online archives project. A one-time $15 Document Storage fee is paid by each party at the beginning of a case.

In 2006, the Madison County Circuit Clerk was the first in the state to image all court records on all case types filed at the office. There are some twenty-five different types of cases filed at the courthouse, and some 100,000 total new cases each year. Millions of pages are filed annually in new and ongoing cases.

Besides making documents available electronically on any computer in the courthouse, imaging assures that there will be copies of documents even were a disaster to strike.


EDITOR'S NOTE: The extensive volumes of Immigration & Naturalization Documents includes many different categories. The list of categories is as follows:

Affidavit for Issuing New Naturalization Paper
Affidavit in Support of Petition
Affidavit of Petitioner
Affidavit of Petitioner Under Provisions
Affidavit of Witnesses
Affidavit of Witnesses/Oath of Allegiance
Alien Registration Receipt Card
Alien's Declaration
Application for Naturalization
Application for Transfer of Petition for Naturalization
Application to take Oath of Allegiance Attachment
Authorization to Clerk of Court to Correct Certificate of Naturalization
Bill of Complaint
Brief Slip
Cancellation of the Declaration of Intention
Certificate of Admission of Alien
Certificate of Arrival
Certificate of Arrival/Affidavit of Witnesses
Certificate of Examination
Certificate of Filing Declaration
Certificate of Loyalty
Certificate of Naturalization
Certificate of Naturalization Memo
Certified Copy
Citizenship Petitions Denied
Citizenship Petitions Granted
Declaration of Citizenship
Declaration of Intention
Declaration of Intention/Affidavit of Witnesses
Declaration of Intention/Certificate of Arrival
Declaration to Become a Citizen
Declarations Taken for use in Support of Petition
Decree for Cancellation of Certificate of Naturalization
Depositions taken for Use in Support of Petition
Discharged Soldiers' Petition for Final Oath
Dismissal of Petition for Naturalization
Facts for Declaration of Intention
Facts for Petition for Naturalization
Final Certificate of Naturalization
Final Decree
Final Papers
Final Papers for Naturalization
First Papers
Form 2218-A Affidavit of Witnesses
Form 2218-A Affidavits of Witnesses
Form 2220-A
Form 2306-A
In Re: Application to Become a Citizen
In the Matter of the Petition for Naturalization
Inspection Card
Interrogatories in Depositions of Witnesses
Letter from Circuit Court
Letter from City Court of Granite City
Letter from Department of Commerce and Labor
Letter from U.S District Court
Letter from U.S. Department of Justice
Letter from U.S. Department of Labor
Letters Returned
List of Family Members with D.O.B. and Residence
Memorandum of Continuances
Minor's Petition, Affidavit of Witnesses & Final Oath
Minor's Petition, Affidavit of Witnesses & Final Oath (Back)
Motion for Certificate of Naturalization
Motion for Continuance
Motion for Denial of Petition
Motion to Dismiss Petition
Motion to Dispose of a Petition for Naturalization
Motion to Set Aside Order of Admission, Cancel Naturalization Certificate
Motion To Strike/Deny
Name change documentation
Name change order
Naturalization Hearings
Naturalization Petitions Recommended to be Continued
Naturalization Petitions Recommended to be Denied
Naturalization Petitions Recommended to be Granted
Note from Madison County Chapter
Notice of Hearing
Notice to Clerk of Naturalization
Notice to take Depositions
Oath of Allegiance
Oath of Allegiance/Order of Court Admitting Petitioner
Order Denying Petition with Prejudice
Order of Court Admitting Petitioner
Order of Court Correcting and Amending Petition
Order of Court Denying Petition
Order of Court Denying Petition for Naturalization
Order of Court Dismissing Petition
Order of Court Transferring Petition
Order of Court Vacating Order of Court
Order Setting Aside Order of Admission, Canceling Certificate of Naturalization
Order Vacating Admission to Citizenship
Petition and Declaration to Become a Citizen
Petition for Amendment of Petition for Naturalization
Petition for Cancellation of Certificate of Naturalization
Petition for Citizenship
Petition for Citizenship Letter
Petition for Citizenship/Affidavit of Witnesses
Petition for Naturalization
Petition for Naturalization Letter
Petition for Naturalization/Affidavit of Witnesses
Petition for Naturalization/Affidavits of Petitioner
Petition for Naturalization/Affidavits of Witnesses
Petition to Become a Citizen
Petition to Cancel Certificate of Naturalization
Petition, Final Oath and Certificate
Petition, Final Oath and Certificate of a Minor
Petition, Oath of Witnesses and Final Oath
Petitions for Naturalization Denied
Petitions for Naturalization Granted
Preliminary Form for Petition for Naturalization
Preliminary Information
RE: Motion to Dismiss Applicant's Petition
Record for Bureau of Naturalization
Record of Admittance
Registration Certificate
Request for Certificate of Arrival
Request for Withdrawal of Petition for Naturalization
Return Envelope from the Circuit Court
St. Louis Court of Appeals
Statement of Petitioner
Statement of Witness
U.S. Department of Labor Envelope
Verification of Landing
Western Union Receipt