Wednesday, March 11, 2009

In the Illinois State Archives: even a blind squirrel finds the occasional acorn

I've long been a fan of the federal census agricultural schedules, and been sorry that they aren't available after 1880. But there's good news for those genealogists with post-1880 Illinois farmers in the tree: the Illinois State Archives' regional archives depositories (previously blogged here in January and here in February) have "agricultural statistic [sic] schedules" for ten counties, which cover non-census years and some well after 1880. Please note I haven't used these yet, so I'm going by the following description:

Schedules list 77 agricultural factors for each farmer in a township. Factors include: acres farmed; previous year’s crop yield; acres of pasture, woodland, uncultivated land, and city real estate owned by each farmer; the number of the various types of livestock owned, died, and killed; the amount of dairy products sold; the amount of wool shorn; the number of pounds of honey produced; with township summaries.

If that doesn't have you drooling, you're an impostor, not a genealogist. Most importantly, I suspect these will be reports of the actual farmers, not just landowners -- if that guess is true, this could be a gold mine for those researching transitory tenant farming families.

Counties available in their respective IRAD repositories and dates:

In northern Illinois, Carroll (1910-1912) , and Ogle (1891-1893).
In central Illinois, Christian (1881-1896), Henry (1877-1881), Macon (1878-1883), Macoupin (1881-1910), Montgomery (1877-1893), and Woodford (1877-1897).
In southern Illinois, Marion (1877-1878) and Williamson (1877-1886).

These came from the county clerks, so if you're working a county not listed above, perhaps they retain those records in a back room or basement somewhere. It can't hurt to ask.

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