Cemetery records, such as tombstone and sexton’s records, have value in that they may give birth and death dates, age at death, name of spouse and children, a maiden name or, occasionally, a birthplace. Tombstones may have symbols or insignias indicating military service and social or religious affiliations. It is important to look at surrounding tombstones because family members may also be buried nearby.
The Illinois Cemetery Project of the Illinois State Genealogical Society has identified hundreds of cemeteries and their exact locations in the state. This information is on their Internet siteCemetery Location Project. This is a County-by-county listing of cemetery names, locations, and whether their tombstones have been abstracted. The information has also been published regularly since 1972 in the Illinois State Genealogical Society Quarterly cited in Illinois Periodicals. Headstone abstracts are not part of this project.
Online Gravestone Transcripts
- Find A Grave can be searched by the name of a person or family to find where a person is buried. Usually gives birth and death dates often with a picture of the tombstone. May give obituaries, names of family members and links to their information in Find A Grave.
- Interment.net includes many Illinois cemetery transcripts.
- ILGenWeb Project includes cemetery information and transcripts. Search on individual county pages.
- The Illinois Tombstone Transcription Project. In USGenWeb Archives Digital Library [database on-line]. N.p.: USGenWeb Archives, 17 February 1999– [cited 15 July 1999]. Available at http://usgwtombstones.org/illinois/illinois.html. This is a county-by-county list of cemeteries. The highlighted cemeteries on the web page include tombstone abstracts. Abstracted cemeteries are indexed in:
- Search the USGenWeb Archives Digital Library. USGenWeb Archives Digital Library [database on-line]. N.p.: USGenWeb Archives, 22 September 1997– [cited 15 July 1999]. This web site indexes cemetery abstracts and other items. Select the state of interest, type the name of the ancestor you seek in the "Query" field, and click Search. For best results, use the "Search Tips" and examples at the bottom of the web page. The computer will list any matches it finds and give you the option of viewing the full transcript.
- ePodunk has a gazetteer of Illinois cemeteries.
- Find A Grave also gives a list of cemeteries in many Illinois counties linking to the information about individuals buried there.
- Random Acts of Genealogical Kindness has located lookup volunteers who are willing to photograph tombstones for many Illinois counties.
Print and Microfilm Abstracts
Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR) Collection
- The Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR) have tombstone inscriptions from Illinois cemeteries. This collection is located at the DAR Library in Washington, D.C., which also includes transcripts of Bible records, cemetery records, church records, family records, marriages, deaths, obituaries, and wills.
- The Family History Library (FHL) has a Genealogical collection of Illinois cemetery records microfilmed from the original records in the D.A.R. library in Washington D.C. The FHL collection includes 35 microfilm beginning with FHL film 848640. The volumes are generally arranged by county and many have individual indexes.
Family History Library Collection
- An important collection of unindexed tombstone abstract records is:
Cemetery Records of Illinois. 13 Volumes. Salt Lake City, Utah: Genealogical Society, 1960–66. FHL book 977.3 V22g films FHL films 824271–824274.
- The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Family History Library (Salt Lake City, Utah.) Index to United States Cemeteries. Salt Lake City, Utah: Genealogical Society of Utah, 1988. A county-by-county list of cemeteries. FHL films 1206468–1206494; another filming is on FHL films 1206461–1206467. Illinois is on film FHL film 1206471 or FHL film 1206463.
- Beckstead, Gayle, and Mary Lou Kozub. Searching in Illinois: A Reference Guide to Public and Private Records. Costa Mesa, California: ISC Publications, 1984. A list of the names and addresses of cemeteries at the FHL. This is a good source for locating federal, state, county, and city or town records and resources. It also gives lists of cemeteries, libraries, and newspapers and shows addresses of genealogical and historical societies. This guide has a special emphasis for adoptees. FHL book 977.3 D27b.
- For more information on cemetery records, see United States Cemeteries. To find more sources in the Family History Library Catalog, use Place Search under:
ILLINOIS, [COUNTY]- CEMETERIES
ILLINOIS, [COUNTY], [TOWN]- CEMETERIES
Several periodicals have published inscriptions and inventories from Illinois cemeteries. These are referenced in the "Places" portion of the Periodical Source Index (PERSI), described in Illinois Periodicals.
- The Family History Library Catalog lists published records of Illinois cemeteries. Thorough "Place Searches" should include counties and towns. Some of the books referenced here may be available on Google Books and in public libraries.
- World Cat is a comprehensive library catalog covering hundreds of libraries. You can narrow searches to retrieve cemetery books for specific states and counties.