The Genealogical Collection
As of June 11, Local History and Genealogy is open Monday through Saturday, 9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. all year.
Mail inquiries should be sent to Genealogy, Peoria Public Library, 107 N.E. Monroe, Peoria, IL 61602.
The Genealogical Collection includes indexes, bibliographies, magazines, books, microfiche, and microfilm.
If you have a specific question about our genealogy collection please visit our e-mail reference page or stop at the Genealogy Room on Lower Level One or the Information Desk on the second floor the Main Library.
How Do I Get Started in Genealogy?
First you should talk to older living relatives and gather information from them. Also, look for family bibles, letters, and other papers. Then, beginning with yourself, write down information about you, your parents, grandparents, great grandparents and so on. The information you are looking for is vital information. In other words, Vital Records, the dates and places of births, marriages, and deaths. Once you have placed people at a certain time in a certain place you can then look for records in that area. Peoria Public Library staff can assist patrons in finding specific materials to aid in their research.
Can you check if an obituary was placed in the newspaper for someone who has died in Peoria?
If a death date is known for the requested person, we will check the Peoria newspapers for an obituary following the date of death. Please send a letter with the name and death date of the requested person along with a self addressed stamped envelope to the Genealogy Department at the address above.
Genealogical/Vital Records Holding for the Peoria Area
Hours: Monday through Saturday, 9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. all year.
Getting Started Bookcase: Helpful books on genealogical research including Beginning Research, County Courthouse addresses, National Archives books, LDS (Latter-Day-Saints) reference book and family name origins.
Atlas Case: These old atlas books of Peoria and surrounding counties list some landowners and biography information.
UMI Microfiche: <(orange cabinets) This resource includes many family genealogies, vital records, county histories, primary sources such as diaries, and magazines. The index is located on top of the orange cabinet and consist of a main index with several update supplements. The set is indexed by family name, location, title and author.
Microfilm Cabinet: (brown cabinet) Located in this cabinet: (Microfilm Readers/Copiers are located in the Main Room near the Reference Desk):
- Springdale Cemetery Index & Interment Records from 1857 to 1991(microfilm)
- Old City of Peoria Directories from 1856 to 1902 (microfilm)
- Peoria Delinquent Tax records 1837 to 1910 (microfilm)
- Adjutant General Index for Illinois for the Civil War, Mexican War, Black Hawk War, and Spanish/American War (microfilm)
- Peoria Telephone books from 1923 to 1962 (microfilm)
- Illinois Marriage Index prior to 1916 for selected counties (microfiche)
- New England Historical Genealogical Record Vol. 1 to 59, 1847 to 1905 (microfilm)
- War of the Rebellion Series 1 though 4 and Index (microfilm)
- Illinois Death Index prior to 1940 for selected counties (microfiche) (shelved by Getting Started Bookcase).
1880 & 1900 Illinois Soundex: Soundex index to the federal census for Illinois.
Family Group Sheets: Family group sheets that were submitted to the Peoria County Genealogical Society by their members.
Genealogical Vertical Files: Includes information on selected genealogical topics.
Guest Register: Guests may sign-in so other people may know the surnames being researched. Above the sign-in sheet is information on the Peoria County Genealogical Society and other genealogical happenings.
Partial Card Catalog: An incomplete catalog of genealogical material in the Genealogical Department. (Be sure to check the main card catalog and online catalog for a complete listing.)
Also in this catalog is an obituary index from the Peoria papers for the years 1975 to 1987 (incomplete) and 1989 to 1992.
A Surname index of Peoria County Genealogical Society data is likewise included in this catalog.
A 50th Wedding Anniversary Index. Compiled by the Peoria Genealogical Society, this card file covers the years 1976 to 1984.
Census Indexes: Federal census index from 1790 to 1870 for selected states plus a few transcribed copies.
Federal Census: Included is mainly censuses from the Peoria area for the years 1790 to 1920 (incomplete) plus scattered Illinois counties for various years, a few counties of Kentucky & Tennessee in 1860, and the 1790 Federal Census.
State Census: The state census includes 1825, 1835, 1855, 1865, and special 1865 Illinois Veterans Commission Honor Roll Census. Not indexed. (microfilm)/p>
Passenger Lists Index & Cemetery Index: This section contains Ship Passenger Index, Heraldry Index for the St. Louis Public Library, The Greenlaw Index of the New England Genealogical Society, Heraldry Index of Newberry Library of Chicago, Local Histories in the Library of Congress, and Cemetery inscriptions (Inscriptions of 58 cemeteries in Knox, Marshall , Peoria, Stark, and Woodford Counties), vital records of Peoria County and surrounding area, and Peoria county Probate Records, 1837-1851, abstracted from newspapers.
Peoria City Directories: City directories from 1936 to present plus a few other area directories.
Microfiche Reader/Copier: Copies are 25 cents each.
Genealogical Books: Histories and data of areas around the world including: United States Pension books and British Heraldic & Peerage books, at 929.5 epitaphs & cemeteries, at 929.6 heraldry & armory, at 929.7 royal houses, peerage, gentry, Order of Knighthood, Revolutionary War Pension File Index, German to American Immigration volumes and Irish Famine Immigration volumes, Illinois Mayflower Descendents (with index) & Compendium of American Genealogy.
Family Histories: Arranged by Surname (A-Z).
Genealogical Magazines: A good source to already printed family information, vital records, and general information. Some have indexes. Including: American Genealogist, American Monthly, Essex (Mass.), Genealogical Helper, Genealogical Quarterly, Illinois State Genealogical Society, Indiana Magazine of History, Kentucky, Maine , Mayflower, National, and DAR (Daughters of American Revolution) sources, New England, New Hampshire, New York, North Carolina, The Old Northwest, Pennsylvania, Pilgrim Notes, Sons of American Revolution, South Carolina, Southern History, Southwestern, Virginia, William & Mary, and Yesterdays.
Peoria & Illinois Collection: Including: Illinois Historical Collection & Transaction of the Illinois State Historical Society, Plat Books, Peoria Telephone books (1966 to present), Peoria Chamber of Commerce information, Adjutant General Office Report of Illinois, Illinois Role During the Civil War, and Histories of Regiments, maps of Peoria & other counties, Architecture of Peoria, Park District information, College Yearbooks & Community news, Peoria area High School Yearbooks (ask at the reference desk) & Peoria Schools District Precedings, Peoria Laws & Ordinances, Peoria Council Precedings 1898- , Peoria Public offices information, and Religion in Peoria.
Illinois County Histories: Arranged alphabetically by county name.
American Genealogical Biographical Index: Contains an index of Surnames and the sources they appear in. Some sources are located in the library and others may be obtained through Interlibrary loan.
Genealogical Quarterlies: Newsletters from Genealogical Societies across the nation.
Fiction by Illinoisan Authors: Collection of fiction books by local authors such as Dorothy Cannell and Philip Jose Farmer.
Illinois Historical Journal: (formerly Journal of the Illinois State Historical Society) 1909 to current. This magazine contains many articles on Illinois history. (indexed).
WPA History of Peoria: These manuscripts cover local history including topics of meat packing, undertakers, officials, etc. Compiled in the late 1930's by the WPA (Work Progress Administration).
Peoria & Illinois Locked Cases: Contains duplicate books or fragile books (see librarian).
Peoria Public also has a collection of Family History CD's. Please ask for this material from a librarian.
Newspapers. The Library has several newspapers from Peoria dating from 1837 to present on microfilm.
Peorians Biography Index. This index includes certain area county histories from the Peoria and the area counties; Fulton, Tazewell, Woodford, Bureau, Henry, Marshall and Stark. This index may also contain information about recent prominent Peorians.
Vertical Files. A file of historical clipping from the local newspaper through 1991, on various subjects. Examples of the clippings include subjects such as Caterpillar, Illinois River, French settlement, Schools, etc. Also available is a computer search for current Peoria Journal Star articles.
Scrapbooks. Various scrapbooks including; colored postcards of Peoria scenes, Old homes and Churches (4 scrapbooks), Aaron Oakford Collection (18 scrapbooks), and Earnest Grassel Collection (81 scrapbooks of Peoria in the 1960's).
Interlibrary Loan. Request for books, copies from books and microfilms, that the library does not own, can be made with a Peoria Public Library Card.
Peoria Newspaper Index: Another WPA project for the years 1837-1864 only.