Saturday, April 28, 2007

Illinois State Archives Databases

I've been reminded that I really like the Illinois State Archives Databases on that state's Secretary of State website. There are a few things that could be better, but overall, this is a useful resource.

There are the state's vital records databases, of course. Unfortunately, unlike neighboring Missouri, the Illinois death index (1916-1950) has no retrievable images. On the other hand, also unlike Missouri, Illinois has a rather extensive pre-1916 death database and a statewide marriage database for the years 1763-1900.There are also databases of Illinois veterans for several wars, but not for the World Wars. Again, no retrievable images, but useful nonetheless.

Most unusually for state archives, Illinois has a database of servitude and emancipation records as well. It's hard to tell how comprehensive this really is, but the fact that its exists at all is a boon for researchers.

Since I last visited, a "Global Database Search" feature has been added. You can search on surnames or full names. I was slightly disappointed that the search results consist of only links to databases where the names are found, which you must search all over again. Oh, well . . . better than nothing!

I do appreciate that Illinois is constantly upgrading its state archives website. They also make it easy to order copies from several Regional Archives Depositories, which are universities around the state. These Depositories also each contain unique records from counties within their areas.

I came to the Illinois sites after not having been here for awhile because a recent e-mail correspondent had sent me some information about the Micheau and Penny familes of southern Illinois. As I searched through the databases, I came across a marriage record for George and (Mary) Emma Micheau. They were married on September 4, 1872, I'd been unable to find that information in any other place. And that was just the impetus I needed to move out of a research doldrums I'd been in the last few days!

No comments: