Illinois Archives, Societies & Publications

It is a good idea to familiarize personally with just about any repository in Illinois that you simply might travel to by communicating with to the best suited archive or library in advance.

Most, if not all, Illinois repositories have written and published content that present its collections as well as research policy.

Illinois archives and historical organizations usually have On-line sites that provide equivalent details. Several also contain down loadable data for some or parts of their collections.

List of Illinois Archives

  • Illinois State Archives, Norton Building, Capitol Complex,
    Springfield, IL 62756; TELEPHONE: (217) 782-4682, Fax: (217) 524-3930; HOURS: Monday – Friday 8:00 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.
  • National Archives – Great Lakes Region (Chicago), 7358 South Pulaski Road, Chicago, Illinois 60629-5898; 773-948-9001; (Maintains retired records from Federal agencies and courts in Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio, and Wisconsin.)
  • Lake County History Archives, 27277 N Forest Preserve Rd, Wauconda, IL 60084; 847-968-3381 (phone)
  • Illinois Regional Archives Depository [IRAD] – IRAD Coordinator, Illinois State Archives, Archives Building, Spring and Edwards, Springfield, IL 62756; As part of the state archives system, seven regional depositories at state universities include archival material from 102 counties. Located on seven state university campuses, regional depositories house and service those records of local governments which have been appraised as having long-term values and have been transferred to the Archives’ custody. County records include:
    • county board proceedings files and meeting minutes
    • records of births, deaths and marriages
    • land deeds, mortgage and tax sale records
    • assessors’ and collectors’ tax books
    • poll books and voter registers
    • naturalization records, including declarations of intent
    • probate records, including wills and will records, case files, administrators’ and executors’ records, guardianship records, and inventory and appraisement records
    • civil and criminal court case files, chancery court case files (including divorces), docket books and court proceedings, and insanity proceedings and records
    • coroner’s inquest records and inquest files
    • miscellaneous county records, including almshouse/county home records and jail registers.
    • Township, municipal, and school records include township meeting minutes, highway commissioners’ minutes, school trustees’ minutes, pupil registers, school land sale records, city council proceedings files and meeting minutes, ordinance records and city election records. A special part of IRAD’s holdings are from the City of Chicago which includes nearly 35,650 previously unknown documents that predate the Great Chicago Fire of 1871. In addition to these City Council proceedings files of 1833 through 1942, holdings include plats, atlases, and Sanborn Maps. Other Chicago records include election registers for 1888, 1890 and 1892 and ordinance records spanning 1837 to 1916.
  • Eastern Illinois University, Booth Library, 600 Lincoln Ave, Charleston, IL 61920; (217) 581-6093, Counties served: Clark, Clay, Coles, Crawford, Cumberland, Douglas, Edgar, Edwards, Effingham, Jasper, Lawrence, Moultrie, Richland, Shelby, Wabash, Wayne
  • Illinois State University, Campus Box 5500, Normal, IL 61790-5500; (309) 452-6027 Counties: Champaign, DeWitt, Ford, Grundy, Iroquois, Kankakee, Livingston, Logan, Marshall, McLean, Piatt, Tazewell, Vermilion, Woodford
  • Northeastern Illinois University (NEIU), Illinois Regional Archives Depository, Ronald Williams Library, Northeastern Illinois University, 5500 N. St. Louis Avenue, Chicago, IL 60625-4699773-442-4506; (773) 442-4506, Counties served: Cook
  • Northern Illinois University (NIU), Illinois Regional Archives Depository, c/o Regional History Center, Founders Memorial Library, Rm. 400, Northern Illinois University, DeKalb, IL 60115; 815-753-1807 Counties served: Boone, Bureau, Carroll, DeKalb, DuPage, JoDaviess, Kane, Kendall, Lake, LaSalle, Lee, McHenry, Ogle, Putnam, Stephenson, Whiteside, Will, Winnebago
  • Southern Illinois University (SIU), Illinois Regional Archives Depository, c/o Special Collections, Morris Library – 6632, Southern Illinois University, Carbondale, IL 62901-6632; 618-453-3040; Counties served: Alexander, Clinton, Franklin, Gallatin, Hamilton, Hardin, Jackson, Jefferson, Johnson, Madison, Marion, Massac, Monroe, Perry, Pope, Pulaski, Randolph, Saline, St. Clair, Union, Washington, White, Williamson
  • University of Illinois at Springfield (UIS), Illinois Regional Archives Depository, LIB 144, University of Illinois at Springfield, One University Plaza, MS BRK 140, Springfield, IL 62703-5407; 217-206-6520; Counties served: Bond, Cass, Christian, Fayette, Greene, Jersey, Macon, Macoupin, Mason, Menard, Montgomery, Morgan, Sangamon, Scott
  • Western Illinois University Region (WIU), Illinois Regional Archives Depository, University Library, Western Illinois University, 1 University Circle, Macomb, IL 61455; 309-298-2716; Counties served: Adams, Brown, Calhoun, Fulton, Hancock, Henderson, Henry, Knox, McDonough, Mercer, Peoria, Pike, Rock Island, Schuyler, Stark, Warren

List of Illinois Libraries & Museums

  • Illinois State Library, 300 South 2nd Street, Springfield, IL 62701-1796; Phone: (217) 785-5600As the head of the public library system in the state, the library publishes Illinois Libraries, which frequently includes articles of genealogical interest. The library is the repository for federal and state documents; it holds all county histories and offers some research materials on interlibrary loan.
  • Illinois State Historical Library, Old State Capitol, Springfield, IL 62701County histories, plat books, census indexes, cemetery indexes, city material, family and association files, microfilmed newspapers, manuscripts, and photographs are located beneath the restored old state capitol between 5th and 6th streets and Washington and Adams streets.
  • Boone County Historical Museum, 311 Whitney Blvd., Belvidere, Illinois 61008; Phone: (815) 544-8391
  • Colonel Davenport Historial Foundation Rock Island, P. O. Box 4603, Rock Island, IL 61204-4603; Tel. (309) 786-7336
  • Ellwood House & Museum, 509 N. First Street, DeKalb, IL 60115
  • Weld House Museum, 1380 Mulholland St., Nauvoo,IL 62354
  • The Rheinberger House Museum, P.O. Box 69, Nauvoo, IL 62354
  • Kankakee County Historical Museum, 801 S 8th Avenue, Kankakee, Illinois; Phone: 815-932-5279
  • Little White School Museum, 72 Polk Street, PO Box 23, Oswego, IL 60543; (630) 554-2999

List of Illinois Historical & Genealogical Societies

For almost every state there is a state genealogical society, a state genealogical council, or both.

In addition to their own work, Illinois groups many times help coordinate the efforts of local societies throughout the Illinois.

Their unique publications, newsletters and quarterlies, supplement those created through the area societies.

Regional and State Societies

County, Township and City Societies

Religious and Ethnic Societies

Illinois Newspapers & Publications

Illinois Genealogical publications (magazines, newsletters, periodicals, books, etc.) contain all types of invaluable information about specific ancestors, whole lineages and families, places in time, and about all sorts of genealogical records and repositories.

The Illinois State Archives in Springfield is home to the J. Nick Perrin manuscript collection, which contains some of the earliest Illinois documents. In all, it consists of more than 5,000 documents.

They cover St. Clair County at Belleville from 1737 to 1850, as well as the old American, French, and British settlements at Cahokia. One of the oldest documents is a marriage contract from 1737.

Deaths and births from 1840 to 1858 can also be found in the collection, along with the following documents:

  • Land Claims
  • Tax Records
  • Road Petitions
  • Registers of Slaves and Free Negroes
  • Probate Records

The Kaskaskia Manuscripts can be found at the Illinois State Archives. They begin with 1708 and contain many notarial transaction listings including:

  • Acknowledgments of Debt
  • Marriage Contracts
  • Land Sales
  • Clerk of the Court Registers
  • Documents Filed by Priests or Notaries


In 1814 Kaskaskia was the site of the first publication of the Illinois Herald, the first newspaper in the region. There are many indexes of genealogical data compiled from newspapers available in various locations, such as Historical and genealogical societies and the internet.


Genealogical journals provide you with plenty of sources of information and facts, they are generally overlooked by genealogy and family history researchers and genealogist in looking around for family history.

Many regional and county genealogical and/or historical societies produce periodicals which have records relating to the region or vicinity they operate.

Frequently these publications have articles involving records that are not obtainable somewhere else.

  • Illinois State Genealogical Society Quarterly – has been published quarterly since 1969 by the society, surveying Illinois original source material, family genealogies, and research questions.
  • Illinois Historical Journal – formerly Journal of the Illinois State Historical Society, published four times a year since 1908, has excellent articles on local and state history.
  • Illinois Libraries – is published monthly by Illinois State Libraries, often with genealogical collections information.