Friday, January 2, 2009

Drilling a little deeper in the Illinois State Archives online

Anyone with any research interest in Illinois at all has probably come across, and been appropriately grateful for, the three crown-jewel databases in the Illinois State Archives web site maintained by the secretary of state: the Illinois Statewide Marriage Index (1763-1900) and the Illinois Statewide Death Index (1916-1950) and the Illinois Statewide Death Index (pre-1916 but not done yet either). But if you go direct to these treasure troves (which include information on obtaining the original records), which I just made it easy for you to do (d'oh!), you'll miss some other goodies. The archives also has eleven online indexes of Illinois veterans starting with the War of 1812, plus an index of public domain land tract sales, and servitude and emancipation records 1722-1863.

But wait, there's more. For reasons best known to the politicians, many Illinois archival records are distributed around the state in 7 different IRADs (Illinois Regional Archives Depositories). The full list of holdings is in a PDF document here, but most of those you have to go see in person. What's even more helpful is that a selection of these has been indexed on line -- scroll down the main database page to the end, where you will find indexes to such gems as Shelby County Circuit Court Case Files 1828-1871, McLean County Will Records 1838-1940, Ogle County Naturalization Papers (County Court) 1878-1933, Sangamon County Guardian's Case Files 1825-1901, Chicago City Council proceedings 1833-1871, and... but you get the idea. Check it out and you may get lucky. I did.

1 comment:

Pattie said...

IRAD has contributed to many of my genealogical finds.

The interns at each repository do look ups for free (there is only a charge for copies) so it is a VERY useful tool.