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The Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library's Newspaper Collection has over 5,000 newspaper titles on almost 100,000 reels of microfilm. An index compiled by James N. Adams in 1946, covering the first issue of the Sangamon Journal (November 10, 1831 through 1847), the Illinois Journal (1847-1855) and the Illinois State Journal (1855-1860) can be searched at Be sure to read the "Foreword," which includes an explanation of his abbreviations. For example, "N10/31-3:1" means November 10, 1831, page 3, column 1.

It should be noted that the website mentioned above will also be offering an Obituary Finder of "citations to obituaries that have appeared in Illinois newspapers and have been located by users researching our extensive newspaper microfilm collection."It is "currently under construction." (THAT should be a wonderful finding aid.)

It is interesting to read some of the newspaper entries. They include marriages (e.g., "Joseph B. Ayars m Catherine Hall, Mr22/32-3:4"), events (e.g., "Gallagher, George: passenger on Wis at time of Tiskilwa collision, Mr25/37-3:1"), settlers (e.g., "Garrison, James: early Ill settler, Mr16/48-3:1"), and criminals (e.g., "Hunt, William, counterfeiter — captured at Rushville, F4/37-1:6"). A death record may be listed for an individual that is not included in the Illinois State Archives Death Index (e.g., "Gear, Charlotte: d, O5/33-3:1"). (Many pre-1916 Illinois deaths are not included in the Illinois State Archives' list; see county status at

Illinois newspaper on microfilm

Prior to the completion of the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library, Illinois' collection of newspapers was housed at the Illinois State Historical Library, located in the Old State Capitol in Springfield. At that time there also was a free publication listing all those newspapers. Also, the Illinois State Library's publication, Illinois Libraries, published "Newspapers in the Illinois State Historical Library" in its February 1979 issue (Vol. 61, No. 2), which may be available for use in some public libraries today.

Fortunately for researchers, the microfilms of these rolls of newspapers, now at the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library, can be viewed at that library or borrowed on interlibrary loan. The complete collection's listing, the library's Newspaper Index, can be found at

From the list on the right one can click on the links to symbols and abbreviations, Illinois files by county, Illinois newspapers by city, Illinois missing issues, foreign newspapers, Civil War newspaper holdings (1861-1865), out-of-state newspapers, and out-of-state missing issues. Thus, one can easily determine if a newspaper of interest is in the collection.

The Civil War newspaper holdings mentioned above could be especially interesting to Civil War buffs. For example, the Harrodsburg, Ky., issue of November 28, 1862 contains "Soldiers' Letters of 96th Illinois Volunteer Infantry." Also, the Stewartville, Missouri's January 15, 1862, issue contains "Illinois Fifty-second." The Caro (should be Cairo?) newspaper, "Camp Register," for May 6 and 12, 1861, is included in the Civil War Newspaper Collection (which can be accessed directly at

For more information on borrowing any microfilm on interlibrary loan, please contact Jan Perone of the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library at 217-785-7941 or by email at

Landlocked Cemetery Bill Introduced in Illinois

According to a recent announcement in Dick Eastman's Online Genealogy Newsletter (Feb. 28), "State Representative David R. Leitch has introduced a bill in the State of Illinois' 99th General Assembly that provides that owners of private property on which a landlocked grave is located have a duty to allow ingress and egress to the grave by: (1) family members and descendants of deceased persons buried there; (2) any cemetery plot owner; and (3) any person engaging in genealogy research who has given reasonable notice to the owner of record or to the occupant of the property or both.

"The bill also provides that a landowner may not erect a wall, fence, or other structure or device that prevents ingress and egress to the grave unless the wall, fence, or other structure or device has a gate or other means by which ingress and egress can be accomplished."

A synopsis of HB3726 can be read at

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.