Major Biographical Collections
Two major archives and libraries in Illinois have biographical indexes to local histories and other sources in their collections. The Illinois State Archives has card indexes to biographies (not every name) found in selected local histories. The archives also have most of the collection of county biographical volumes edited by Newton Bateman, titled Historical Encyclopedia of Illinois (subtitles, places, and dates of publication vary by county). Many of these are also at the Family History Library. See Illinois History for more information about this source. Listing of available counties and where to access the respective volumes.
- Bateman, Newton, et. al. Historical Encyclopedia of Illinois. Chicago, Illinois: Munsell Pub., 1908.
The Illinois State Historical Library, a division of the Illinois Historic Preservation Agency, has an extensive collection of local histories. It has a biographical card index to about 10,000 Illinoians featured in local histories and other sources. The library also has every-name indexes to some of the histories. Many of its printed sources are available through interlibrary loan, and the library will do limited searches for a fee. Excellent collections are also at the Newberry Library. See Illinois Archives and Libraries for addresses.
Examples of statewide biographical encyclopedias are:
- Encyclopedia of Biography of Illinois. Three Volumes. Chicago, Illinois: Century Publishing and Engraving, 1892–1902.Other libriaries(WorldCat) FHL Film 1421972 Items 5–7; FHL Book 977.3 D3e
- The United States Biographical Directory and Portrait Gallery of Eminent Self-made Men, Illinois Volume. Two Volumes. Chicago, Illinois: American Biographical Publishing, 1876. FHL Fiche 6048198 First of 8; FHL Book 977.3 D3u This book is a reprint of the 1883 edition, published under a slightly different title. FHL Film 1000172 Item 2
- Illinois Biographical Dictionary: People of All Times and All Places Who Have Been Important to the History and Life of the State. New York, New York: Somerset, 1993.Other libraries (WorldCat)FHL Book 977.3 D36i
- The Biographical Encyclopedia of Illinois of the Nineteenth Century. Philadelphia, Pennsylvania: Galaxy Pub., 1875.Other libraries (WorldCat)FHL Film 1000172 Item 1
- The Illinois Biographies Project offers biographies from several Illinois counties.
- State Archives Online
- Illinois Historic Preservation Agency Libraries
- Illinois Historic Preservation Agency Home
- GeneaSearch Biographies
- Access Genealogy Illinois Biographies
See the United States Biographies for information on nationwide biographical collections. See also the "History" and "Genealogy" sections for additional sources. You may wish to explore history and genealogy sections in the wiki at county levels also.
Biographies can be found on state, county and local levels. The Family History Library has many collected biographies and local or county histories with biographical sketches on residents. Links to county pages appear below. Additional resources for Illinois biographies may be found in the Illinois-Biography topic page of the Family History Library catalog (FHLC). Copies of records on FHL microfilm and microfiche can be ordered for viewing at Family History Centers. Also find Illinois Biography resources available at other libraries (WorldCat). Explore how to search WorldCat and the FHLC.