Illinois, Local History & Genealogy

Online documents, photos, articles, and other information about the history of Illinois and the local area, plus genealogy resources.


  • Castle Garden: is an educational project of The Battery Conservancy. This free site offers access to an extraordinary database of information on 11 million immigrants from 1820 through 1892, the year Ellis Island opened.
  • Catholic Cemeteries Archdiocese of Chicago:
  • Cemetery Junction:
  • Chicago Genealogical Society: The Chicago Genealogical Society was begun in 1967 as a not-for-profit educational organization devoted to collecting, preserving and perpetuating the records of our ancestors, and to stimulate an interest in all people who contributed in any way to the establishment of Chicago and its surrounding area.
  • Cook County Genealogy Online: The Genealogy Unit of the Cook County Clerk's Bureau of Vital Records provides non-certified versions of birth, death and marriage records for the purpose of genealogical research. Records found on this site are for Chicago and Cook County dating back to 1872.
  • Ellis Island Foundation: Search to find your immigrant ancestors arriving through Ellis Island.
  • FamilySearch:  Search for family ancestors. Billions of free family tree, family history, ancestry, genealogy and census records.
  • Free family history research advice for the community, by the community.
  • Family History Archive: A collection of published genealogy and family history books and periodicals.
  • Footnote: You'll be able to view, save, and share original images of historical documents available for the first time on the internet.
  • Illinois Digital Archives: A portal to online exhibits and collections from libraries and museums across the state. A project of the Illinois State Library. Additional online collections are searchable through the Digital Illinois catalog.
  • Illinois Harvest:  Is a free public website developed at the University of Illinois Library that brings together and organizes digital resources about Illinois, written by Illinois authors, or included among the growning digital collections of the University of Illinois Library.  Includes links to maps, books, photographs, journal articles, posters, and manuscripts from libraries and museums around the world.
  • Illinois History Resource Page: Dozens of links, compiled by the Illinois State Historical Society.
  • Illinois Newspaper Project:  Web-based searchable database of all newspapers discovered and preserved through the project. All microfilm produced for INP is made available to Illinois citizens through interlibrary loan.
  • Illinois State Genealogical Society: Individuals with home page that has an Illinios connection and has genealogical content.
  • Illinois State Archives Genealogy Research: State and Related Federal Government records in the Illinios State Archives.
  • Immigration Ships Transcribers Guild: Firm that searches, copies, deciphers, and types passenger lists. Some passenger manifests posted on the web, from RootsWeb.
  • Ireland Roots: Irish Roots - gateway to a message board to help you find your Irish ancestry.
  • Kanakakee County Genealogy: Genealogical information for Kankakee County.
  • Kankakee Valley Genealogical Society: Information on genealogical research in Kankakee County, Illinois. Includes Publication List, Membership Form, and other Details about KVGS.
  • National Genealogical Society of America: A service organization that leads and educates the national genealogical community and assist members in tracing family histories.
  • Newberry Library: Independent research library with a focus on the humanities is privately funded, but free and open to the public.
  • Origins Network British and Irish Genealogy and Research:  Source for online British and Irish genealogy research, featuring subscription access to a wealth of unique records.
  • Polish Genealogical Society of America: Headquarters in Chicago, exists as a non profit organization to collect, disseminate and preserve information on Polish and Polish-American family history and to help its members use that information in their own research.
  • Rootsweb: Genealogical resource with searchable databases.
  • USGenweb Project: Free genealogy and family history online made possible by the USGenweb Project volunteers. Search free genealogy websites for your ancestors.
    Digital Past:  Provides free online access to over 100,000+ historical items, including photos, diaries, letters, newspaper articles, silent movies, oral histories, and 3-D objects.  These items hightlight the cultural richness of the state of Illinois.
  • Cyndi's List - Illinois: Directory of genealogy and history websites. Also includes links for specific Illinois localities.
  • Relatively Curious About Genealogy:  Blog site devoted to learning about genealogy, useful research tips and links to genealogy related websites.
  • Allen County Public Library Genealogy:  Large genealogy library containing more than 300000 printed volumes and 314000 items of microfilm and microfiche. Includes guides and request forms.

History Resources

  • BBC Country Profiles: Instant guide to history, politics and economic background of countries and territories, and background on key institutions.
  • Best of History Websites: Contains annotated links to over 1000 history web sites as well lesson plans, activities, and more.
  • Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers: Enhancing access to America's historic newspapers. This site allows you to search and view newspaper pages from 1860-1922.
  • CIA World Factbook: Provides information on the history, people, government, economy, geography, communications, transportation, military, and transnational issues for 266 world entities. Reference tab includes: maps of the major world regions, as well as Flags of the World, a Physical Map of the World, a Political Map of the World, and a Standard Time Zones of the World map.
  • Guinness Book of World Records:
  • Explore history shows, watch videos and full episodes, play games and access articles on historical topics at
  • A comprehensive reference source that combines the contents of an encyclopedia, dictionary, atlas, and several almanacs loaded with statistics, facts, and historical records. A single search engine allows you to search all these sources at once.
  • PBS: History: Explore the best of PBS programs about history. Watch full length episodes of your favorite PBS history shows like NOVA and American Experience.
  • POTUS: Presidents of the United States: Comprehensive site on the American presidency includes biographies, speeches and writings, election results, odd facts and presidency.
  • Shmoop: U.S. History: Study guides and teaching resources for American history.
  • The American Presidency Project: Contains the most comprehensive collection of resources pertaining to the study of the President of the United States.

Local History Resources