Gazetteers list geographical names such as towns, settlements, villages, districts, rivers, and mountains. They identify these locations and sometimes, give historical and biographical information concerning early residents. Several helpful guides to Illinois place-names have been published. Some with historical place-names include:
Beck, Lewis Caleb. A Gazetteer of the States of Illinois and Missouri. 1823. Reprint, New York, New York: Arno Press, 1975. (FHL book 977 E5b; film 1036690, item 6; fiche 6010063 [set of 3].) This gazetteer is valuable for the historical insights it offers, since many communities listed were only settled a few years before this book was published.
Peck, J. M. A Gazetteer of Illinois, in Three Parts: Containing a General View of the State, a General View of Each County, and a Particular Description of Each Town, Settlement, Stream, Prairie, Bottom, Bluff, etc., Alphabetically Arranged.' Philadelphia, Pennsylvania: Grigg & Elliot, 1837. (FHL film 897008, item 3)
Adams, James N., comp. Illinois Place Names. New ed. Springfield, Illinois: Illinois State Historical Society, 1989. (FHL book 977.3 E5aa; 1968 edition is fiche 6051287 [set of 4 fiche].) Containing nearly 15,000 entries, this source lists the names and counties of many current and discontinued post offices. It also lists older names for many existing communities.
Other gazetteers and place-name resources can be found in the Family History Library Catalog by using a Place Search under:
ILLINOIS- NAMES, GEOGRAPHICAL
ILLINOIS- HISTORICAL GEOGRAPHY
ILLINOIS, [COUNTY]- GAZETTEERS
For more information about Illinois places, see the "Maps" section of this outline.