The D. W. McKenney & Company livery stable in Dixon (Lee County) circa 1860
Photo courtesy of the Illinois State Historical Library

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Mailing List

The Illinois State Archives 

The following databases can be accessed online:
Public Domain Land Tract Sales Database

Database of Illinois Servitude and Emancipation Records




Have the name of a town, but don't know what county it is in?

The following resources can assist you.

Geographic Names Information Server

USGS Mapping Information




Illinois County Boundaries
1790 - Present



Illinois Statewide Marriage Index, 1763–1900

     An Ongoing Project of the Illinois State Archives & the Illinois State Genealogical Society.

      Many of you are already aware of the following, but for those who are not aware of this fine resource available for searching for marriage records in Illinois, I am listing the following guidelines: 

      First, check the Illinois Statewide Marriage Index, 1763–1900, to see if you can find your ancestors listed.  If you don't find them the first time, then try different variations of the spellings.  Also, don't narrow your search to only the county you think they might have been married in.  I suggest doing a general search for the surname(s). 

      If you find a marriage for your ancestor in the data base, then you can request a copy of that record. 

  Copies of marriage records included in the Statewide Marriage Index may be obtained from the Illinois Regional Archives Depository System if IRAD holds marriage records for that county or from the county clerk in the county in which the marriage occurred. 

     Illinois Regional Archives Depositories (IRAD) hold original marriage records or microfilm copies for many Illinois counties. The IRAD holdings include marriage records for over seventy of the 102 counties in Illinois. 

      Consult the Local Governmental Records Holdings Database to see if IRAD has marriage records for the county and date of the marriage you are requesting. 

      Type the search term MARRIAGE in the title field to return all marriage records in the IRAD holdings. 

      If  IRAD does have marriage records for the county you are searching, and for the pertinent time period, write the appropriate IRAD depository and include in your letter all of the information on the marriage given in the Illinois Statewide Marriage Index. 

      Click here for the addresses and telephone numbers of the Illinois Regional Archives Depositories.

      Marriage record searches are free, but a small copy fee will be billed for records found. IRAD provides uncertified copies only. Certified copies must be requested from the county clerk. 

     County clerks are the official custodians of all marriage records recorded in Illinois counties. To obtain copies of marriages found in the Illinois Statewide Marriage Index, write the appropriate county clerk and include in your letter all of the information on the marriage given in the Illinois Statewide Marriage Index. 

      Click here for the addresses of the county clerks in all 102 Illinois counties. 

      Only county clerks may issue certified copies of marriage records. Search and copy fees will vary from one county to another. 





Searching for Death Records in Illinois

An in-depth resource guide for researching 
death records in Illinois. 
What records are available, where they are located
and how to access them. 



The Illinois State Archives

Census Records

The Illinois State Archives has Illinois census records, 
both federal and state, for the period 1810–1920. 

~ 1810–1860 ~

The Archives has indexes covering decennial federal censuses and existing state censuses for this period. 

All state censuses and federal censuses prior to 1850 list only the names of heads of household with family members indicated by simple tallies. 

Beginning with the 1850 federal census, all family members are listed under the head of household.

~ 1865 ~

This final state census currently is indexed only partially. 

County and township residences are necessary for efficient searches. 

Searches of unindexed townships with populations exceeding 2,500 cannot be performed because of limitations on staff research time. 

Only the names of the heads of households are given.

~ 1870 ~

The Archives has a published index to this census, providing access to heads of households.

~ 1880 ~

The index for this census lists only those households which had children 10 years old or younger at the time of the enumeration. 

Searches are made by names of heads of households.

~ 1890 ~

This census was destroyed by a fire in 1921 and consequently is not available for research.

~ 1900–1920 ~

The 1900, 1910, and 1920 censuses can be searched by the names of the heads of households.

Further information concerning the Archives holdings of census records and their contents is available by requesting copies of Federal Census Records: Genealogical Research Series #4 and State Census Records: Genealogical Research Series #5. 

There is no charge for these publications.




Census Schedule Guide for Illinois
 (in progress - not yet connected)



Illinois Regional Archives Depositories




The Illinois State Historical Library


*** NOTE ***


The Illinois State Historical Library (ISHL) continues to be open to the public for onsite reference and research services: Monday-Friday, 8:30 a.m.-5:00 p.m. underneath the Old State Capitol in downtown Springfield. The ISHL has not moved into its new facility, the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library. No date has been announced for the start of the move. 

The ISHL will RESUME its interlibrary loan services and mail reference and research services on July 7, 2003. 

Please continue to visit our website for updated information. Thank you. 

*** The above is from the ISHL Web Site.  I will post updates on the status of the Library's move as they develop.


  This is the premier repository for materials relating to the history of the Illinois. The Library houses "books, pamphlets, manuscripts, monographs, writings, and other materials of historical interest and useful to the historian, bearing upon the political, religious, or social history of the State of Illinois from the earliest known period of time." 

  Especially interesting and helpful to the Illinois researcher are the Newspaper Archives at the ISHL. 

  If you know the exact (or very close) date of incidents which occurred in Illinois, such as deaths, accidents, marriages, etc., anything which would normally be included in a newspaper, I would suggest contacting the Illinois State Historical Library, which has a wonderful archive of Illinois Newspapers on microfilm. 

  You can request that the library staff do a search for you.  If they find the information you are seeking, they will send you a photocopy of the section of the newspaper in which the incidents are featured. 

For Illinois residents there is a non refundable copy fee of $1.00, which must accompany each letter.  Each letter must be limited to no more than two (2) search requests. 

For Non Illinois Residents there is a non refundable fee of $10.00 per search.  Each letter is limited to no more than four (4) search requests. 

      Visit their web site and follow the instructions you will find there. 

      The URL for Genealogical Research at the Illinois State Historical Library is:
  Their snail mail address is:
Illinois State Historical Library
Old State Capitol
Springfield, IL 62701




Purchasing Illinois Reference Materials

This listing contains sites on the web that sell reference materials relating to Illinois in general.  For a listing of what materials may be available for a certain Illinois County, please visit that county and see what they have. 




Illinois Migrations Project

This is a web site where you can post your Family's migratory patterns and view the patterns of other Illinois Families.  You can submit your family data or volunteer to transcribe information from primary source records, biographical sketches, obituaries or other records into the database.




Illinois State Genealogical Society

Some of the great stuff you will find there:

Links to:
     Illinois Marriage index up to 1900
     Illinois Civil War soldiers database
     Illinois Regional Archives holdings
     Illinois Civil War soldiers certificate project
     Cemeteries in Illinois by county: A location guide
     Conference and workshop information

And much more! 




Genealogical & Historical Societies Of Illinois 

This ILGenWeb site contains information regarding:
Statewide Societies
Ethnic & Religious Societies
Societies Associated with Military Groups
County Specific Societies





Illinois Vital Records Information

This web site contains information about where to obtain copies of Illinois vital records, such as birth & death certificates, marriage licenses & divorce decrees. 

Make sure you read their guidelines page on ordering!



Don't forget to try your search on The USGenWeb Project's Archives by state

Be sure to select Illinois as the state, enter the surname you are searching for, and then read the results!




The ILGenWeb Project Lookup Page

If your ancestors are from Illinois, you can request that a volunteer check for them in their reference material.  Since this service is graciously provided by "volunteers", they ask that you:

     ~  please keep your requests simple
     ~  ask for only one or two names at a time
     ~  include only enough information for the volunteer 
              to find your ancestor
     ~  do not ask the volunteers to lookup your Non-Illinois Ancestors 

This is an internet genealogy service provided by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.  This service is also free and contains many databases, the more information you have on your ancestor, the easier it will be to filter through the many results that you will locate there.




NARA Archival Information Locator (NAIL)

This site has some excellent information.  Just be sure to follow the instructions, this resource can get confusing.




Illinois County Boundaries 1790 - Present




Historical Maps of Illinois and the Northwest Territory

This site (a joint project between the University of Illinois and the Follett Corp.) contains 84 records showing North America, the Northwest Territory, the state of Illinois, and counties and townships within the state, as well as historical maps of North America. These range in time from 1650 to 1994. 



Illinois Time Line
Illinois State Museum
Interactive site regarding family life in Illinois from
1700 to the present.



US GenWeb Kidz Site.
Great for school projects!




Sharpen Your Research Skills!

Whether you are a beginner or an already skilled genealogist you will find something of interest on this site.

Genealogical research is more that just finding people who are researching your family line and downloading all the vital data they have collected. It is really great to make such contacts but the quality of the information we get from others depends ultimately on the primary records on which the information is based and the care with which the researcher copies and records his source of information.

Primary records, those prepared near the time of the event by someone directly involved, should be the ideal to strive for. 

Secondary sources, which include anything else that is published or even unpublished, may contain serious errors and you can spend a lot of time chasing someone else's ancestors. 

While sharing information with others can provide many shortcuts to learning about your family, the careful researcher will search for primary records to verify his information. It is with these thoughts in mind this section of skill building sites has been selected to help the beginning genealogist. 




In Memory

Without his vision, this project would never have existed.

Please take a minute to visit the 

GenWeb Project Memorial Page

In honor of our Volunteers who have passed on before us. 

They are sadly missed, but their tireless work, dedication and priceless

contributions to our research will live on throughout the ages, 

making the path an easier one for those of us to follow

in search of our ancestors.



After all those links and you still can't find what you're looking for? 

Have you tried some of the links on the Illinois History Page?

Still Nothing?  Well, then it's time to post that message on our Message Board! 

Click on the link below and carefully read the instructions before you post your message and be sure to include the surnames of the family line you are searching for!

Illinois Unknown County Message Board




These pages are copyrighted by ILGenWeb for the sole use of 
The USGenWeb Project and The ILGenWeb Project

No part of this site's original content is to be reproduced or published 
elsewhere in any form without written permission. 

The USGenWeb Project is a non-profit organization and is NOT affiliated with USGenWeb, Inc., a for-profit company.

Copyright 2000  ILGenWeb



If you find a broken link or have a link  that you would like to see added, please E-Mail me!

This Page Updated:

Monday, 09-Aug-2004 11:07:38 MDT