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.
- Adams, James N., comp. Illinois Place Names. New ed. Springfield, Illinois: Illinois State Historical Society, 1989. (Family History Library 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.
- Beck, Lewis Caleb. A Gazetteer of the States of Illinois and Missouri. 1823. Reprint, New York, New York: Arno Press, 1975. (Family History Library 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. (Family History Library film 897008, item 3)
How did your migrating ancestor find the correct destination out West? Quite possibly they had a copy of Brown's book:
- Brown, Samuel R. The Western Gazetteer or Emigrant's Directory, Containing a Geographical Description of the Western States and Territories, viz. The States of Kentucky, Indiana, Louisiana, Ohio, Tennessee and Mississippi: and the Territories of Illinois, Missouri, Alabama, Michigan, and North-Western. Auburn, N.Y.: H.C. Southwick, 1817. Digital versions at NIU Library Digitization Projects and World Vital Records ($).
For river landings, see:
- Adams, Louis A. Adam's Directory of Points and Landings on Rivers and Bayous in the States of Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Illinois, Kentucky, Iowa, Louisiana, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Nebraska, Ohio, Tennessee, Texas and Wisconsin. (includes Tennessee) New Orleans : W.L. Murray, 1877. Digital version at Internet Archive.
Family History Library Collection
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 Illinois Maps.