General Guides to Illinois Research
Books you might purchase or use in a library include
Each of the three reference books listed below has a small section covering each state that includes maps, historical information, vital records coverage and a bibliography of resources for that state. (note: some libraries may have earleir editions; those are usable)
- Handybook for Genealogists ( 11th edition) (find in a library)
- Ancestry's Redbook, 3rd ed, revised. (find in a library) (see above for online copy)
- The Family Tree Resource Book for Genealogical Research (find in a library)
Atlases, Maps & Gazetteers
For more information on finding and using maps, see Your Guide to Atlases, Maps and Gazetteers.
- Bookmark or print out this county map of Illinois Counties
- Good state maps are available in the Handybook or Redbook mentioned above. Remember: The Redbook Illinois map is also available online.
- A Illinois county outline map (.pdf) may be useful if you want to annotate the map.
- Another source of an Illinois outline map... one with counties named, one without.
- 1895 Atlas - Illinois has a state map, map for each hcounty and index of towns and cities.
- Perry Costenada collection maps for Illinois
- U Alabama website of Historical Maps for Illinois
- You may find some historical maps of interest at Illinois Historical Maps Online -
- but before you start looking at maps, you may find it helpful to read their instructions for viewing., although I didn't find them as helpful as you might hope. I couldn't read the text on most of the maps, even when zoomed to 100%, The only way to zoom beyond 100% is by clicking view Mr. Sids Image-Zoom, underneath the map. You can then zoom on selected areas by choosing the ratio and clicking on the "zoomed view" window. Unfortunately, that is a small window, so it takes a lot of navigating to see clear images of maps. If you find a way to better use the site, let me know!
- Several maps, showing the counties as they appeared 1790 to present. (individual maps for each date)
- Scroll down on this CensusFinder site page for some links to county maps in Illinois.
- These county fact sheets include a township map of each county
- Use Illinois Home Town Locator to locate placenames in Illinois.
Statewide Genealogy Websites
Next, see what is available for your counties of interest at at one of these statewide sites. For each, use the county selection list to find out what is available for the various counties. Content will vary, but in usually you wil find the GenWeb site to be the most robust. All are volunteer driven sites; all data free, but as time goes by, the upkeep of many of these sites seems to be falling by the wayside.
Societies, Libraries and Archives
For more information on using libraries and archives, see genealogy guides to Libraries and Archives
Use the catalog at the place name box in the Family History Library catalog to find out what has been filmed covering the state of Illinois, the counties of Illinois and the cities, villages or townships within the counties.
- As you type ILLINOIS in the place box, you will see an alphabetical listing of counties in the dropdown;
- once in a county, you can click in the place box on the left to see an alphabetical list of the towns, cities and villages within that county.
- The dropdown only shows areas for which material is available at the Family History Library.
- A resource will most likely be in one of the three, perhaps two of the three and almost never in all three of these searchs --you need to check each
Bible For general information on bible records, see Guide to Bible Records, this website.
Cemetery: For general informaton on cemetery records, see Guide to Cemetery Records, this website
Census: For general inforamtion, see Guide to Census Records, this website.
Church: For general information, see Guide to Church Records, this website.
City and County Directories: For general information, see Guide to City and County Directories, this website.
County and Local Histories: For general informaton, see guide to county histories, this website
Court & Legal; For general information, see Guide to Law Libraries, this website
- Blacksheep Illinois ancestors may have been in trouble with the legal system!
Land & Property: For general information, see Guide to Land Records, this website.
- Ancestry Redbook Wiki: Illinois Land Records
- Illinois State Archives Genealogical Research Series Pamphlet: Land Sales Record
- Illinois is a  land state http://www.land-records.com/index.htm
Military; For general inforamtion, see Guide to Military Records, this website
Naturalizations; For general information, see Guide to Naturalizations, this website
- Online Illinois Naturalization Records Indexes and Finding Aids
Newspapers: For general information, see Guide to Newspapers, this website
- Illinois Newspaper Project
- Illinois Obituary Lookup
- Chronicling America list of newspapers published in Illinois -- click a title to get more information
Probate: For general information, see guide to probate records, this website
- Ancestry Redbook overview: Illinois Court Records
- Family Search Wiki: Illinois Court Records
- Illinois State Archives Genealogical Research Series Pamphlet: Probate Records
- Ancestry Redbook overview: Illinois Tax Records
- Family Search Wiki: Illinois Taxation
Vital: For general information, see Guide to Vital Records, this website.
Queries & Help
Cities: Chicago / Springfield /
Chicago Genealogy Records and Sources on the Internet