As one of the largest research libraries in North America, the University of Illinois Library owns many resources that are useful for researchers of genealogy and local history. However, these resources are scattered throughout our collections, rather than collected in a single section.
This guide is intended to provide some insight into finding genealogical material within the University Library. Please note that this is intended only as a starting point; it is in no way comprehensive.
Many of the citations listed for the individual Illinois county sections were drawn from the Illinois County Bibliography, a listing compiled in 1985 by Connie Fairchild of the Library's reference department. This listing is located in the Reference Library (Reading Room/200 Library). Only a sampling for each county is presented in this guide. For more resources on each county, please consult the Illinois County Bibliography (shelved near the call number 016.9773), or for material published after 1985, the Library's online catalog.
Where to Start
We have broken down the guide into the following categories. If at any point you have any questions about identifying or using the Library's collections, please ask a librarian for help.
Using the Library
This section is especially intended for those who may be new to doing intensive research at the Library, and also includes information about the University Archives
This section breaks down resources by county, listing a sampling of county histories and other information.
United States Resources
This section lists examples of resources available at the Library for the other forty-nine states. You may be surprised by our holdings for distant regions, since we are the beneficiaries of generations of canny acquisitions librarians.
Though less extensive than our U.S. holdings, the Library has a vast collection of resources for family and local history in other parts of the world, particularly Western Europe.
Few subjects are as extensively represented on the World Wide Web as genealogy, and there are excellent sites that categorize the resources available on the web. Here we list web-based databases that are available for use by anyone at public computers in the Library, or for use anywhere to current affiliates of the University.