Illinois Ancestors: State newspapers have new website

Illinois Ancestors: State newspapers have new website

The History, Philosophy and Newspaper Library at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign has a new website for the Illinois Digital Newspaper Collections (IDNC) at with free access to over a million pages of digital newspaper and trade journals — a helpful tool for genealogical research. There are 45 publications in the system at this time. However, "only a small fraction of the collection has been digitized," and thus if a desired newspaper article is not found, another search should be made at a later date.

Donations are sought for the completion of this project. (Information from Erica Parker, implementation coordinator for IDNC.)

For example, if one conducts a search for "mine accident," the result is 109 "hits" — each showing name and date of publication as well as headline.

A search for "cemetery" results in over 54,000 "hits" — if the search is narrowed down to "Vermilion cemetery," there are 172 "hits."

Illinois newspaper project

A related activity of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign is the Illinois Newspaper Project, which enables researchers to determine the newspapers that have been published in each Illinois county, the years of publication, and where copies (original print or microfilm copies) are located today.

For example, the newspapers that have been published in Champaign County can be found at One hundred fifty-five newspapers from Champaign County have been catalogued; one of the earliest is Champaign's Central Illinois Gazette, first published in 1858. Microfilm copies are at the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library in Springfield and the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and original print copies are at the Urbana Free Library.

Click on any county on the Illinois map to visit that county's newspaper information.

Be sure to read the website's interesting article, "History of Illinois Newspapers."

Newspaper webinar

Although newspaper obituary notices can provide helpful information for researchers, it is important to realize that newspapers hold much more.

The Illinois State Genealogical Society (ISGS) will be offering a free webinar at 8 p.m. (Central Time) on Tuesday, July 8, "Newspaper Research — More Than Obituaries" which will surely be most informative. Visit the society's website at and click on "ISGS Webinars" at the toolbar on the left, and follow the directions to learn more or/and register. Each webinar lasts about an hour and handouts are also available.

ISGS members have access to recorded versions of past seminars through the Members Section of the ISGS website.

The Newspaper Research webinar will be presented by Patricia Walls Stamm, CG, CGL, who teaches for St. Louis Community College and the St. Louis Genealogical Society.

New education chairman sought

According to a recent ISGS blog, "the ISGS is looking for a new Education Committee Chairman to start ASAP ... (to take) over the webinar program for the remaining 2014 schedule" and work to build the 2015 schedule.

ISGS would like to see this committee grow to include implementing educational presentations/videos. Anyone interested in serving as chair, or being on the committee in general, should contact current chair, Julie Tarr at

Montgomery County book

The Montgomery County Genealogical Society is proud to announce the publication of a new "Montgomery County, Illinois History and Families Book."

According to the society's website,, "the book will be a compilation of [over 400] family histories, a general history of the county, and feature pages for businesses, organizations, churches, schools, along with Memorial and Tribute pages."

The book will be a "hardbound, coffee table style book, celebrating almost 200 years of Montgomery County, Illinois." For a limited time, the book will be offered at the prepublication price of $54.95 (plus $6.50 per book if mailed.)

For more information contact Montgomery County Genealogical Society, P.O. Box 212, Litchfield, IL 62056-0212; email; telephone 217-556-6777.

Queries, genealogical questions from researchers and genealogical materials readers would like to share will be printed in this column free. Joan Griffis may be reached via email at or by sending a letter to Illinois Ancestors, c/o The News-Gazette, P.O. Box 677, Champaign, IL 61824-0677.

Sections (1):Living
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