St. Clair County is located in Southwestern Illinois, across the Mississippi River from St. Louis. It is Illinois’ oldest county, established in 1790. Its heritage lies in the French, French-Canadian, and English settlements existing in the 1600s and 1700s; and in the German, Irish, and English immigrants who came to the county in the 1800s.
The St. Clair County Genealogical Society (SCCGS) was founded in 1977 and incorporated in 1978. Its goals are to preserve and perpetuate ancestral records for educational and historical purposes; encourage the study of family history and teach the methods of genealogy research; promote genealogical publications; promote the preservation and safeguarding of genealogical data; and to publish and circulate literature relative to the purposes and acquisitions of the Society. Current membership stands at 377.
For $25.00 (individual) or $27.00 (family), members receive four issues of the Quarterly, ten issues of the newsletter, and access to the Member section of the website (includes the newsletter, some databases not available to non-members, member surname index, member-contributed index for 400 family-focused obituaries, and a classroom “Learn” section, which supplements the research guide).
The Society has a number of resources available to the public, which can be accessed from the home page of their website. There are more than 600 free web pages of data and indexes and a surname search function that ties into that data and the Society’s quarterlies and 30+ special publications. The Research Committee provides specific photocopies from quarterlies, bio sketches, obits from databases, etc., referenced from their website.
In addition to all the hard work SCCGS has done on their website, they also have numerous publications. The Society’s research guide, St. Clair County, Illinois, Research and Resources: A Genealogist’s Guide as well as more than 30 special publications, such as church and cemetery records, are available for purchase at monthly meetings and through their website. A limited number of quarterlies are also available for purchase. SCCGS is currently working on other publications including Freeburg United Church of Christ transcriptions and abstracts, Walnut Hill Cemetery, Family Burial Grounds (100+ family farm cemeteries), and the next CD in the Church Records series.
The Society's lecture meetings are open to the public on the first Thursday of the month at 7:30 PM at St. Luke’s Parish Hall, 226 N. Church Street in Belleville. Program information is on their website. In July 2012, SCCGS held their first Summer Seminar and planning is underway for another in 2014. Earlier this year, SCCGS held their first book fair involving genealogical and historical societies from Southwestern Illinois and eastern Missouri.
SCCGS also has a library and archives collection, which is located at the Belleville Public Library’s main branch, 121 E. Washington Street. The collection includes 1,000+ rolls of microfilmed probate records (1770s to1964); church record abstracts, registers, baptisms and other records from 1600s to 20th century (some translated from German and Latin); newspapers; and city directories. Their holdings also include quarterlies exchanged with 35+ area, state, and national genealogical societies; newspapers and newspaper indexes; CDs with census, immigration and vital records; plus numerous books purchased by the library’s archivist with funds donated by SCCGS.
For additional information about the St. Clair County Genealogical Society, visit their website, or contact them by email at SCCGSoffice@stclair-ilgs.org. You can also stay up-to-date by following their Facebook page.