photo of Eagle quilt
Four Corner or Mirror Eagle Quilt
Circa 1870 – 1900


Cook County Illinois Clerk's Office - Genealogy Online

County by County Illinois Genealogy Sites Online
Illinois State Archives Office Databases

Illinois State Museum – Quilt Collection Online

Incorporation Papers – State of Illinois
IRAD - Illinois Regional Archives Depository System

Prairie Farmer’s (Reliable) (1918) Directory

Schuyler County Illinois Genealogy Site

Surname Index – Oak Park, Illinois



Web Site:

This is an online searchable database.  Combination Free and Fee database.


Records Available


Birth Certificates

75 years and older


Marriage Licenses

50 years and older


Death Certificates

20 years and older

Free Registration

The first time you visit this site you are required to create an account (free).  They ask for an e-mail address and password.


Free Search


The free search ONLY gives you the Name, File number, and Date.




There is a fee if you want a copy of the original image.  You order the certificate from the state using a “shopping cart checkout system” similar to  You don’t have to wait for your image, once you pay the fee, you will be able to download the original image.  The download will be a .zip file.  The fee, as of 2009, looks like $15.00 per record and there is an additional charge of $1.75 added to credit card transactions




I found it easier to search by the last name only.  You do not get as many “hits” if you add the first name and/or the first name and the middle initial.



Illinois Genealogy Trails


This is the main page for Illinois Genealogy Trails.  Utilizing this url you can use the county search and find each individual county page which contains genealogy information that might help you with your research.


(The) Illinois GenWeb Project


This is the main page for the Illinois GenWeb Project.  Utilizing this url you can use the county search and find each individual county page which contains genealogy information that might help you with your research.


There is no fee to use either the main pages or the county pages on either of these sites.



Web Site:

These databases are searchable online at the Illinois State Archive office web site for no fee: 

Records in the Illinois State Archives

  • Public Domain Land Tract Sales Database
  • Database of Illinois Servitude and Emancipation Records

Databases of Illinois Veterans

  • Database for the Illinois Veterans’ History Project
  • Database of Illinois War of 1812 Veterans
  • Database of Illinois Winnebago War Veterans
  • Database of Illinois Black Hawk War Veterans
  • Database of Illinois Mexican War Veterans
  • Illinois Civil War Muster and Descriptive Rolls Database
  • Database of Illinois Civil War Veterans Serving in the U.S. Navy
  • Database of Illinois Civil War Veterans of Missouri Units
  • Database of Illinois Spanish-American War Veterans
  • Database of 1929 Illinois Roll of Honor
  • Database of Illinois Soldiers’ and Sailors’ Home Residents

Illinois Statewide Vital Records Databases

  • Illinois Statewide Marriage Index (1763-1900)
    An Ongoing Project of the Illinois State Archives & the Illinois State Genealogical Society
  • Illinois Statewide Death Index (Pre-1916)
    An Ongoing Project of the Illinois State Archives
  • Illinois Statewide Death Index (1916-1950)
    An index created by the Illinois Department of Public Health




The Illinois State Museum has all its quilts donated up to 2004 in an on-line database called the Quilt Index. With the Advanced Search feature, you can select the Illinois State Museum collection and see images and data on over 200 of the Museum's quilts, most of which were made in Illinois. 

Web Site: 

Information Courtesy of: 

Angela Goebel-Bain

Assistant Curator of Decorative Arts

Illinois State Museum




Whether you are researching an individual or a company, incorporation papers or incorporation files are a wonderful source of information for researchers. 


Information “typically” found in an incorporation file. 

  • Corporation Name(s)
  • Corporation Address
  • Incorporation Date (This is not necessarily the date the business started, but the date it was incorporated.)
  • Corporation Founder(s)
  • Corporation Board of Directors
  • Corporation Goods and/or Services Produced
  • The Articles of Incorporation
  • Corporation Changes (e.g. location, name, or other areas pertinent to the corporation)
  • Incorporation Dissolution Date.


How do you get incorporation papers?


Each state is going to have a different policy so you may want to make your “first contact” as a call to find out their policy on obtaining incorporation papers from their state.


In the State of Illinois, your best “first contact” is to write them. Give them as much information (in a timeline form) as you can about the company. There can be corporations with very similar names so be very specific. I always share why I want the information - a textile research project. They will also want to know in your letter which documents you want.  This is a personal preference, but I always request the whole file.  Why ask for the whole file?  In the State of Illinois (and I can only speak from my experience with them) that means you will get the incorporation records for the company and all its incarnations.


e.g. Your research project is Quilts Are Us, Inc. from the 1930s, what you might not know is that Quilts Are Us, Inc. started out as We Love Them Quilts, Inc. in 1900 and then later you will find out that the 1930s company Quilts Are Us, Inc. morphed (underwent a name change) into Quilts – We Like Them, We Love Them, We Want Some More of Them, Inc. in 1950.


Getting the whole file is going to cost you more, but it is time saving, illuminating, and is just a good idea.


Special Note: Include your contact information in your letter:

  • Name
  • Postal Address
  • Telephone No.
  • E-mail Address


To obtain corporation papers in the State of Illinois

(Active or Inactive Corporations)


Send your correspondence to:


Secretary of State

Department of Business Services

Room #330  Howlett Building

Springfield, Illinois  62756


 (217) 782-6875


There is a fee for this service.  I send an initial check for $25.00 and then state, in my letter, if the fees go over that amount I can be reached at my contact information.  The State of Illinois does accept credit cards.


What happens next?


The State of Illinois will do their magic on their end of the road, and then send copies of the files through postal mail – the “wait” time is different for each request you make.  I think the longest I waited was two weeks for a very large file.  It should be noted that each state is different, other states might send you the documents via e-mail in a pdf document attachment – some might want to fax them to you.



Web Site:

What is IRAD?

IRAD or the Illinois Regional Archives Depository System manages archival records for local governments under the guiding hand of the Illinois State Archives.  What does this mean?  Local governments who feel they don’t have the space to keep “past” records important to their county, but don’t want to throw them out can turn the records over to their respective depository for safekeeping. 

IRAD Depositories

There are seven regional centers located at university campuses throughout the state of Illinois -- each depository is assigned specific counties.

Eastern Illinois University (EIU)
Illinois State University (ISU)
Northeastern Illinois University (NEIU)
Northern Illinois University (NIU)
Southern Illinois University (SIU)
University of Illinois at Springfield (UIS)
Western Illinois University (WIU)

Records Available

The records available in each depository will vary from county to county, but here is a sample of what a researcher “might” be able to find at a depository.

Records “might” include:

  • county board proceedings files and meeting minutes
  • births, deaths and marriages
  • land deeds, mortgage and tax sale records
  • assessors' and collectors' tax books
  • poll books and voter registers
  • naturalization records, including declarations of intent
  • probate records, including wills and will records, case files, administrators' and executors' records, guardianship records, and inventory and appraisement records
  • civil and criminal court case files, chancery court case files (including divorces), docket books and court proceedings, and insanity proceedings and records
  • coroner's inquest records and inquest files
  • miscellaneous county records, including almshouse/county home records and jail registers.

Research Requests

IRAD databases are NOT searchable online, but you can search:

  • In-Person

Researchers are encouraged and welcome at each depository.

  • Long Distance

Long Distance research is encouraged and welcome.  Regional depositories are unable to receive requests or send responses by e-mail, but they welcome requests by postal mail or telephone. Each depository has a research request policy so contact the individual IRAD universities for the specifics of their policy.  Graduate students usually fulfill IRAD requests.  There is no research fee, but some do ask for a SASE and reimbursement for photocopies.  Check to see if your local library will make the request for you and the entire process might be free. 

Reginal Despository Contact Information Web Site:




In 1918 the Chicago, Illinois based PRAIRIE FARMER Publishing Company created a series of county directories (one for each county for a total of 102 directories) of Illinois Farmers and Breeders. 


List of Illinois Counties and County Seats:


Many of these county directories are searchable online, but it is “hit and miss” there is not one central location to find all the directories.




Google Search Engine

  • Type in Prairie Farmer Directory 1918


  • Type in Prairie Farmer Directory 1918 (Illinois County you are researching)


Information Found in This Resource:


Each Illinois directory contains a series of alphabetical entries by surname with the following information:


Name of the Owner of the Land

Carter, Joseph M.


Maiden Name of Wife

Elsie Eldridge



Violet J.

John A.

Betty A.

Joseph M., Jr.

Lois J.

Robert E.


Name of Farm (in quotes)

& Post Office of Farm

(Carter’s Cattle Farm) Atkinson


Year Became Resident of the County




Schuyler (pronounced Skyler) County has a wonderful "free" genealogy site for doing research in their county - this site is part of the Genealogy Trails Group.  Rushville, Illinois is the county seat, but all the communities in Schuyler County are included on this site.  

The following are just a few of the many "free" online research databases available on this site:

Death Records, Book 1, 1877-1903

Marriage Books - By year

Prairie Farmer's Directory of Brown and Schuyler Counties, Illinois 1918


What is a Surname?

Glad you asked that question as all questions are important and welcome on this web site-

Your surname is your last name.

This is a (work-in-progress) surname index for Oak Park, Illinois compiled by an independent researcher. The names on this Surname Index were found in the OAK LEAVES newspaper and various Oak Park Directories.  According to the researcher who created this wonderful page, “It should be noted that many surrounding suburbs "blended" during the early part of this century. The directories often include River Forest, Forest Park, Berwyn, and Maywood references; as well as the Austin community of the city.”  


How do you use it?


Scan through the index (alphabetized by last names) and find the name you are researching and what type of document is available (you will not see the actual document), then request (interlibrary loan through your home library) the document (such as an obituary) from Oak Park Public Library for free.


Contact Information:


Oak Park Public Library

834 Lake Street

Oak Park, Illinois  60301


708-383-8200 Library

808-452-3480 Ask a Librarian

Web Site: