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Local and Family History Research: Home

A guide for beginners in searching local or family history using government and association sources.

Visitors to Milner Library

Basic Strategy

Gather data

  • Interview family members; take notes.
  • Document full names, dates, places.
  • Record data in an ancestry chart.

Use family information to delve deeper into family research

  • Establish "Vital Records" [What are vital records?]
    • Birth
    • Marriage
    • Death

Many primary sources can be searched online. Illinois State Archives offers a number of databases to assist in research. Some counties such as McLean have online indexes for records at the county level. Many states offer digitized records.

       Examples of Vital records

Ask for help from librarians!

  • Visit local libraries--particularly genealogical, county, and state libraries--to take advantage of local resources and local expertise! It's likely these local libraries will have sources that can augment what you've learned from family members.

Subject Guide