Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Finding Records Online – Illinois

As I continue to focus on the availability of online records for specific states I noticed that Diane Haddad has also written about the Illinois records today on her blog at http://blog.familytreemagazine.com. I guess great minds think alike, or maybe it is just a coincidence. But before I start the list of databases available online for Illinois, I wanted to add a mention of the 25,000th record digitized at the FamilySearch website at http://www.familysearch.org. These records are wonderful resources and can be found when you do a search of the Library Catalog. As you search for the microfilm, fiche or book that you need you may come across a document marked “To view a digital version of this item click here.” These records are viewable online and have an every word search capability. This is a wonderful resource so make sure you try it out. 

Now, on to Illinois. There are a huge number of records that have been indexed and placed online for the state of Illinois. The Illinois State Archives records are found on two identical sites. One site is located at http://www.sos.state.il.us/departments/archives/databases.html while the other is found at http://www.cyberdriveillinois.com/departments/archives/databases.html

Land Records - The Illinois Public Domain Land Tract Sales database includes nearly 550,000 land sales records from the land sold within Illinois for the periods of 1817-1819 and 1847-1877. This database is searchable and provides information such as the purchaser's name, purchase date, number of acres, price per acre, numeric code indicating the county in which the land is located, legal description (township, section, range), volume and page numbers of original entry, and variously, the sale type, and the purchaser's sex and residence. Photocopies of these records can be ordered from the state for a fee of $10 for 2 record copies. 

Slave/Servant Records – The Database of Servitude and Emancipation Records includes 3,400 names of African and Indian servants from 1722-1863. The names of servants, slaves, or free persons and masters, witnesses, or related parties are listed in this database. These records may include bills of sale, birth information, census records from 1810, 1818 and 1820, divorce information, donations of property or chattel, emancipation records, estate records, guardianship records, indenture agreements, inventories of slaves, leases of services, marriage contracts, mortgages of slaves, registrations such as receipts, contracts and other agreements, and wills. Photocopies of these records can be obtained from the State Archives. 

Veterans Records – There are a variety of veterans records available on the Illinois State Archives website. These databases include indexes of the War of 1812, Winnebago War, Black Hawk War, Mexican War, Civil War, Spanish-American War, and an index of the Soldiers’ and Sailors’ Home Residents between 1887-1916. Again, copies of all of the actual records can be requested from the State Archives. 

Marriage Records – The Illinois Statewide Marriage Index is a record of more than one million marriages within the state between 1763 and 1900. There are a few records up through 1920. These records include the name of the groom and bride, date of marriage, certificate number and county. 

Death Records – The Illinois Statewide Death Index includes an index of records from the 1870s to 1916 and currently contains over 1.1 million records. Additionally, there is a second Statewide Death Index that covers the years 1916-1950. These records include the name, date of death, location, age and sex of the individual as well as the certificate number. 

In addition to these statewide databases there are a number of county indexes listed on the Illinois State Archives website. These local records indexes include death, birth, naturalization, almshouse, homicide, coroner’s inquest, will, court, probate, farm, guardianship and other record types. This is a great site for anyone who has ancestors in Illinois.

And now I am off to open the Family History Center and to set up for our Cub Scout Space Derby. Another busy night ahead of me.

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