Guest Author, Dax Dixon
One of Springfield’s most often overlooked genealogical resources is the Illinois State Library. The building is located at 300 S. Second Street, Springfield, Illinois, directly east of the Illinois State Capitol Building and is open from 8:00 am to 4:30 pm, Monday through Friday.
The Illinois State Library houses a large number of collections that pertain to the history of the state of Illinois. One of the more prominent collections is the map collection. This is the second largest collection of Illinois maps housed in the state, the largest being the University of Illinois map collection. The maps stored here cover all the counties in the state and a variety of cities and individual towns throughout the state. Also included in this collection are landowner maps, topographical maps, some cemetery maps, and a variety of maps from other countries throughout the world. County plat books and atlases are also included in this collection.
When visiting the library in person, one will also have access to microfilm collections including but not limited to: Illinois census microfilm, the Draper Manuscript collection, city directories, Chicago newspapers, Springfield newspapers, St. Louis Post-Dispatch, printed county histories, and a variety of books and periodicals covering various topics.
The library’s website includes additional resources for the avid genealogical researcher to peruse such as the Illinois Digital Archives. This archive of digitally scanned documents includes such things as the Oak Ridge Cemetery internment records, the Cherry Mine Disaster files, and a listing of early Illinois license plate registrations, among other historical documents and photographs. Check out the Illinois Digital Archives website for these digital collections.
Be sure to apply for a library card (in person or online) if you live in the state of Illinois and belong to any library in the state.
For more information, visit the Illinois State Library website.