Family History Research

Illinois Regional Archives Depository – a wonderful resource

I am preparing to visit the Illinois Regional Archives Depository (IRAD) at Northern IL University on Monday to research for a client. When I visited the IRAD at Northeastern IL University a few weeks ago, my son and I were the only ones there. In the past I have always sent letters requesting record searches as I did not have time to run up for one record, but after experiencing the archives, it is a place I plan to utilize as much as possible.

In Illinois there are several IRAD branches that cover certain counties in the state.  You can view the IRAD Region Map and click on one of the branches (NEIU, NIU, WIU, ISU, UIS, EIU, SIU, to see which county records are held. The map is color coded by region.

To find out what records each repository holds you can click the blue bar on the left that says IRAD Local Government Records Database and click search. You can either search by county or repository or type of record.  The website says, This database provides a listing of the local governmental records held by the Illinois Regional Archives Depository (IRAD) system. Local governmental records include those from county, city, town, village, and township levels throughout Illinois. Numerous offices are represented from these levels. The record holdings of the IRAD system include over 5,400 different record series.

For each record series the following information is included: depository, accession number, title, county, beginning date and ending date.”

Many of the branches hold early birth, marriage and death records; naturalization records; probate and will records; in addition to local governmental records like court; license and permit registrations.

If you cannot visit an IRAD branch in person, you can write to them requesting up to two names to be researched at a time. They do charge a copy fee, minimum $1, even if they only copy one page. They will bill you when they send your copy(ies). They will also send sheets listing additional resources in the county(ies) you are researching.

IRAD is a wonderful system in the State of Illinois. Check it out if you have Illinois ancestors.

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ChicagoAncestor’s Website

In keeping with the articles this week about locating my ancestors, today’s website review is a site I have used time and time again, created by The Newberry Library. It is ChicagoAncestors.

The main page allows you to map out different locations in the city of Chicago. The second tab allows you to browse locations by Collection, Users, Category, and Tags. The third tab allows you to search for locations. The fourth tab contains an extensive list of Chicago resources from Maps; City directories; Address Conversion Tools; Vital Record information; and a collection of favorite links. The What’s New tab has news updates.

My favorite sections of this website have been the City Directories and Maps. Those resources have been invaluable the last several months. If you need some help with the address conversions or finding records then check out this website. You will not be disappointed.

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