Family History and Genealogy Services

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Illinois Genealogy Resources

Newspapers and Periodicals


Newspapers publish marriage, divorce, death, and funeral notices, and obituaries. Notices include names, dates, and places. Marriage and death notices may contain maiden names and names of parents and other living relatives.

Newspapers also publish articles of local interest that often cover religious and social events in the community and include the names of people involved. Some newspapers serve several communities and devote columns to the everyday happenings in the area. Newspapers also include legal notices, estate sales, and advertising for local businesses.

The larger cities in Illinois began publishing newspapers in the 1830s through 1850s. The best collection of Illinois newspapers is held by the Illinois State Historical Library. The Illinois Newspaper Project is the primary resources for identifying Illinois newspapers from 1814 to the present.

The Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library holds newspaper titles from every one of Illinois' 102 counties, many date from the early nineteenth century. Reels can be obtained through interlibrary loan services to libraries throughout the nation. The Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library is the premier repository for materials relating to the life of Abraham Lincoln and the history of the Prairie State. The ALPL, originally the Illinois State Historical Library, was created in 1889 by the Illinois General Assembly, which charged the new library with collecting and preserving "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."

  • Brieschke, Walter L. Index of obituaries printed in the Southern Illinois herald newspaper, 1893-1922 / compiled by Walter L. Brieschke. Murphysboro, IL (P.O. Box 7, Murphysboro 62966) : Jackson County Historical Society, 1985. 30 leaves ; 28 cm.
  • Brumleve, Dorothy A. Teutopolis News as Reported in the Effingham Volksblatt 1884-1886. Urbana, Illinois, 2004. The Volksblatt was the only German paper in that area of the state.
  • Chicago Historical Society - Has mostly Chicago newspapers.
  • Custer, Milo, 1880-  Central Illinois obituaries, 1848-1870 / (compiled from old newspapers) by Milo Custer. Central Illinois death notices, 1848-1870 Normal, Ill. (P.O. Box 488, Normal 61761) : Bloomington-Normal Genealogical Society, [1985]. ii, 26 p. ; 29 cm.
  • Custer, Milo, 1880- Central Illinois obituaries, 1871-1880 / (compiled from old newspapers) by Milo Custer.
  • Ecklund, Joan. Marriage, Birth and Death Information 1889-1920 from the Lamoille (IL) Gazette Newspaper. Princeton, Illinois: Bureau County Genealogical Society, 2001.
  • "Ethnic Newspapers at the Chicago Historical Society." Illinois Libraries 74, 5 (November 1992) p. 449.
  • The Illinois Herald, published at Kaskaskia in 1814, was the first Illinois newspaper.
  • llinois Digital Newspaper Collection, 1903-1945, at the University of Illinois. Carries the college newspaper, the Daily Illini, and the Urban Daily Courier in full page image format, with full text searching.
  • Illinois Newspaper Project -  Find your newspaper and what library holds it, and from there you can order the microfilm of it via interlibrary loan. To date, 10,115 newspaper titles are cataloged and listed on the Illinois Newspaper Project website. You can search by county, by city, by newspaper title, by year of publication, and by repositories. Some Illinois repositories hold newspapers from other states.
  • Illinois Newspapers
  • Illinois Newspapers Online.
  • The Illinois State Historical Library , Springfield - Has extensive collections of newspapers.
  • Newberry Library, Chicago - Has extensive Chicago collection, with some other Illinois papers; includes foreign-language papers
  • - Historic Newspapers Online - Illinois

  • Quincy Illinois Historical Newspaper Archive 1835-1890.
  • Sterling, IL Newspaper Archives, 1854-2007.  The Sterling Gazette, Sauk Valley Sunday, and others.
  • University of Illinois, Champaign-Urbana - Has an extensive collection of newspapers.
  • Villa Park Argus Obituaries - An index of obituaries published in the Villa Park Argus, beginning in 1931, of people who were Villa Park residents or had some other connection to the village.

Some additional print sources:

  • Chicago Marriage and Death Indexes. Salt Lake City: Genealogical Society of Utah, 1983. These typescript indexes to marriage and death records from Chicago newspapers are also known as the Sam Fink Collection.
  • Ecklund, Joan. Marriage, Birth and Death Information, 1889-1920 from the La Moille Gazette Newspaper, Bureau County / compiled By Joan Ecklund. Princeton, Ill. : Bureau County Genealogical Society, c2000. 108 p. : maps ; 28 cm.
  • James, Edmund J. A Bibliography of Newspapers Published in Illinois Prior to 1860. Illinois State Historical Library Publications, Number 1. Springfield, Illinois : Phillips Brothers, 1899.
  • Newspaper Research Committee of the Chicago Genealogical Society. Vital Records form Chicago Newspapers, 1833-1839. Chicago : The Society, 1971.
  • Newspaper Research Committee of the Chicago Genealogical Society. Vital Records from  Chicago Newspapers, 1843-1844. Chicago : The Society, 1974.
  • Newspaper Research Committee of the Chicago Genealogical Society. Vital Records from  Chicago Newspapers, 1845. Chicago : The Society, 1975.
  • Pease, Janet K. Genealogical Abstracts From Rock Island County, Illinois, Newspapers. 38 vols. [Arvada, Colo.: Janet K. Pease]; Rock Island, Ill.: Blackhawk Genealogical Society, 1973–1995.  Many volumes are on film only.
  • Scott, Franklin William. Newspapers and Periodicals of Illinois, 1814–1879. Springfield, Ill.: Trustees of the Illinois State Historical Library, 1910.
  • Stark, Sandra M. "Newspapers in the Illinois State Library," Illinois Libraries 70 (March-April 1988) : 3-4. Updated publication in Illinois Libraries every three years.
  • University of Chicago. Newspapers in the Libraries of Chicago. Chicago : University of Chicago Libraries, 1936.
  • Vital Records From Chicago Newspapers. Chicago: Chicago Genealogical Society, 1971–. Death, marriage, and birth announcements in Chicago newspapers from 1833 to 1848


Most family history periodicals publish transcriptions of local sources used in genealogical research. Information published in periodicals may include family histories, genealogies, historical background, maps, information about local records and archives, queries, census indexes, transcripts of family Bibles, church records, court records, cemetery records, land records, military records, obituaries, and wills. Often published by genealogical or historical societies, they typically focus on the records of a particular county, while a few may specialize in records of a particular ethnic group or religion.

  • Ancestors: Yours And Mine. Lexington, IL : Lexington Genealogical and Historical Society, Inc., v. ; 28 cm.
  • Branching Out From St. Clair County. 1973–. Published by the Marissa Historical and Genealogical Society, P.O. Box 47, Marissa, IL 62257-0047.  This periodical focuses on St. Clair County, which was created in 1790, the first county formed in the Northwest Territory.
  • Central Illinois Genealogical Quarterly. Decatur, Ill. : Decatur Genealogical Society, v. ; 28 cm.
  • Chicago Genealogist. 1968–. Published by the Chicago Genealogical Society, P.O. Box 1160, Chicago, IL 60690. This contains member and ancestor lists and abstracts of cemetery, Bible, census, court, and other records of the Chicago area.
  • The Circuit Rider. 1973–. Published by the Sangamon County Genealogical Society, P.O. Box 1829, Springfield, IL 62705. This covers Springfield and Sangamon County.
  • 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.
  • The Illiana Genealogist: Quarterly Publication of the Illiana Genealogical and Historical Society. 1965–. P.O. Box 207, Danville, IL 61834. This includes transcriptions of records for the border area of Illinois and Indiana. There is a surname index for each volume.
  • Illinois Heritage. Published by the Illinois State Historical Society, is a bimonthly magazine aimed at a broader audience.
  • Illinois Historical Journal. Published by the Illinois Historic Preservation Agency for the Illinois State Historical Society. Previously known as the Journal of the Illinois State Historical Society, each issue contains articles and reviews pertaining to Illinois history. There are cumulative indexes for volumes 1–25, 26–50, and 51–60.
  • Illinois Libraries. Published by the Illinois State Library, often contains information on genealogical collections within the state.
  • Illinois Periodicals Online - A Digital Imaging project of the Northern Illinois University Libraries
  • Illinois records & reviews. Sultan, WA : Marjory Cory-Hall, [1993-
    v. ; 28 cm. Vol. 1 (July 1993)-
  • Illinois State Genealogical Society Quarterly. 1969–. Published by the Illinois State Genealogical Society, P.O. Box 10195, Springfield, IL 62791-0195. Covering the entire state, this provides articles about Illinois records and how to use them, as well as abstracts of records.
  • The Journal of the Illinois State Historical Society. Published four times a year since 1908, has excellent articles on local and state history as well as book reviews.
  • Prairie Roots. 1973–. Published by the Peoria Genealogical Society, P.O. Box 1489, Peoria, IL 61655. This periodical focuses on Peoria County.
  • Saga Of Southern Illinois. Murphysboro, Ill. : Genealogy Society of Southern Illinois, v. ; 29 cm.
  • St. Clair County Genealogical Society Quarterly. 1978–. Published by the St. Clair County Genealogical Society, P. O. Box 431, Belleville, IL 62222-0431. This periodical focuses on historical St. Clair County. Volume 20, number 4 is devoted entirely to county research and resources.
  • Sangamon County Genealogical Society Quarterly. Springfield, Ill. : Sangamon County Genealogical Society, 1968-1973. v. ; 28 cm.
  • Schmidt, Martha Mae, comp. Surname Index, 1978–1987, St. Clair County Genealogical Society Quarterlies. Belleville, Ill.: The Society, 19–?. A 10-year index.
  • Searching Illinois Ancestors.  Shelbyville, IL : Helen Cox Tregillis, v.
  • The Tri-State Packet Of The Tri-State Genealogical Society. Evansville, Ind. : Tri-State Genealogical Society, 1977- v. ; 28 cm.
  • Where the Trails Cross. 1970–. Published by the South Suburban Genealogical and Historical Society, P.O. Box 96, South Holland, IL 60473. This contains lists of World War I and II soldiers and abstracts of records from south Cook and north Will counties.