Family History and Genealogy Services

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Illinois Genealogy Resources

Biographies and
Name Indexes

Two major archives and libraries in Illinois have biographical indexes to local histories and other sources in their collections. The Illinois State Archives has card indexes to biographies (not every name) found in selected local histories. The archives also have most of the collection of county biographical volumes edited by Newton Bateman, titled Historical Encyclopedia of Illinois (subtitles, places, and dates of publication vary by county).

The Illinois State Historical Library, a division of the Illinois Historic Preservation Agency, has an extensive collection of local histories. It has a biographical card index to about 10,000 Illinoians featured in local histories and other sources. The library also has every-name indexes to some of the histories. Many of its printed sources are available through interlibrary loan, and the library will do limited searches for a fee. Excellent collections are also at the Newberry Library.

  • The Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library
  • Alderson, B. Women of the Prairie State History. Springfield, Illinois : The Author, 1977.
  • The Biographical Encyclopedia of Illinois of the Nineteenth Century. Philadelphia: Galaxy Pub., 1875.
  • Biographical History Illustrated, Biographical Record of Champaign County, Illinois. 1900, 2004 reprint. Order from Kinfolk's Korner Genealogy Services. Includes the stories, origins, careers, and accomplishments of hundreds of citizens of Champaign County, Illinois, living in 1900 as well as their spouses, siblings, children, grandchildren, and deceased ancesters.
  • The Birger Gang
  • Charles Guiteau Case The assassin of President James Garfield was born in Freeport, Illinois on September 8, 1841.
  • Chicago Architects - Oral histories of 56 master builders.
  • Chicago Mayors: Pictures and Biographies
  • Custer, Milo, 1880-  Old Family Records / compiled And Printed By Milo Custer. Normal, Ill. : Bloomington-Normal Genealogical Society, [196-?]-1984.
    9 v. in 6 ; 28 cm.
  • Eliot Ness ..the man behind the myth
  • Encyclopedia of Biography of Illinois. 3 vols. Chicago: Century Publishing and Engraving, 1892–1902.
  • Figures in Illinois History
  • The Genealogical Index of the Newberry Library, Chicago. 4 vols. Boston : G.K. Hall, 1960. A surname index to genealogical periodicals and local history books in the Newberry Library completed in 1915.
  • Genealogical Research Series Pamphlet 9: Illinois State Genealogical Society Prairie Pioneer Certificates
  • The Governors of Illinois
  • Gradeless, Donald E.  Revolutionary Lineages : Everyname Index to the Registrars Records : Duplicate Applications Numbers / Donald E. Gradeless. [Glen Ellyn, Ill.] : Sons of the Revolution in the State of Illinois, c1986. viii, 358 p. ; 28 cm.
  • Illinois Biographical Dictionary: People of All Times and All Places Who Have Been Important to the History and Life of the State. New York: Somerset, 1993.  
  • Illinois Biographies Project. This project was created to make Illinois biographies available on the Internet to share and help with those of us who have roots in Illinois.
  • Illinois Early Settlers
  • Illinois State Genealogical Society Surname Index, 1981 / compiled By Mrs. O. B. Lunde.  Lunde, O. B., Mrs. Decatur, Ill. : Illinois State Genealogical Society, 1981. 204 p. ; 28 cm.
  • James Eads - built the Eads Bridge in St. Louis, MO.

  • Life of Al Capone. USA People Search
  • Lunde, O. B., Mrs. Illinois State Genealogical Society surname index, 1981 / compiled by Mrs. O.B. Lunde. Decatur, Ill. (P.O. Box A 631, Decatur 62525) : The Society, [1982?] 204 p. ; 28 cm.
  • Notable African-American Chicagoans
  • Perry, Ida. Surname Index Of The Great River Genealogical Society / [Compiled By] Mrs. Ida Perry. Quincy, Ill. : Great River Genealogical Society, 1978. 2 v. ; 28 cm.
  • Rochefort, Beth.  Prairie Pioneers Of Illinois / edited By Beth Rochefort.  Lincoln, Ill. : Illinois State Genealogical Society, 1986- v. : ill. ; 27 cm.
  • Robert Pershing Wadlow...the Alton Giant
  • Society of Mayflower Descendants in the State of Illinois : Publication Number Four. Chicago : Lakeside Press, 1925, c1926. xxii, 562 p. : ill., maps, plates (some col.), ports., facsims. (some folded) ; 24 cm.
  • Society of Mayflower Descendants in the State of Illinois : Publication Number Six. Chicago : Rogers Print. Co., 1962. xi, 896 p. : ill., plates, ports. ; 25 cm.
  • Sprague, Stuart, 1937-  Kentuckians In Illinois / by Stuart Seely Sprague. Baltimore, Md. : Genealogical Pub. Co., 1987. 306 p. ; 23 cm.
  • Surname Index / Illinois State Genealogical Society.  Illinois State Genealogical Society. Decatur, Ill. : The Society, 1981. 204 p. ; 28 cm.
  • A Surname Index, 1985 / compiled, Edited And Published By South Suburban Genealogical & Historical Society.  South Holland, Ill. : South Suburban Genealogical & Historical Society, 1985. 1 v. (unpaged) ; 29 cm.
  • Surname Index Of The Genealogy Society Of Southern Illinois / compiled By Linda Gale Mathis ; Edited By Mary Alyce Browne Kern.  Mathis, Linda Gale.
    Carterville, Ill. : Genealogy Society of Southern Illinois, 1986. 133 p. ; 28 cm.
  • Ulysses S. Grant
  • The United States Biographical Directory and Portrait Gallery of Eminent Self-made Men, Illinois Volume. 2 vols. Chicago : American Biographical Publishing, 1876.
  • Walden, Blanche L. (Blanche Lea), b. 1892. Pioneer Families Of The Midwest / by Blanche L. Walden. Baltimore : Clearfield Co., 1998. 3 v. in 1 (160 p.) : ill., ports. ; 22 cm.
  • Washburne, Mark. A Biography of Elihu Benjamin Washburne: Illinois Whig and Republican Congressman During the Rise of Abraham Lincoln. Xlibris Corp, n.d.
  • Wicks, Joyce, compiler. Final Exams 1887-1888, Champaign County, Illinois. Order from Kinfolk's Korner Genealogy Services. This is a copy of the original record of students who took their final exams in one of the townships in Champaign County, Illinois.
  • Winslow, Charles S. Biographical Sketches of Chicagoans, 1948.