Local History and Genealogy Blog

Happy 140th Birthday Urbana Free Library!


In a few days the Urbana Free Library will be approaching a very important milestone. July 2, 2014 marks 140 years of community service. The library has a rich history, all starting with a group of men interested in creating a library.

Join the Archives for the Market at the Square!


The Champaign County Historical Archives will be at the Urbana Free Library's table at the Market at the Square on the third Saturday of each month, beginning tomorrow (June 21). Stop by to view historical documents and artifacts, grab a brochure, and take a look at some of the books that feature a variety of items from our collection. We hope to see you there!

Have you ever heard of PERSI?

PERSI, or the Periodical Source Index is the largest host of genealogical journals worldwide. Home to over 11,000 journals, many no longer in print, PERSI is a hidden gem for researchers and genealogist alike. Indexed are roughly 2.3 million articles concerning local history and genealogy spanning from 1800 to 2009.

Easily searchable, PERSI is extremely user friendly with multiple subject heading for simple website navigation.

·         Under the PEOPLE heading, users can search for ancestor names across the 2.3 million articles

Oral History of Champaign-Urbana Days


What: Oral History of Champaign-Urbana Days

When: April 21, 2014, 4 - 6 p.m.

Where: Douglass Annex, 804 North Fifth St., Champaign, IL 61820

Who: You!

Why: Learn about the history of the community and do your part to build a more inclusive local history!!

How: Show up and get involved. Spread the word. 

Spring usually brings thoughts of sunshine, flowers, picnic, baseball, but what about football?


Traditionally, football is an autumnal sport where two teams face off as the leaves fall. Yet, collegiate athletes continue to train year round and even match up for special games. The Fighting Illini are no different and this weekend will bring the football players front and center, reminding us in the Archives of Illinois’ proud football legacy.

Teddy Roosevelt Visits CU

One hundred and two years ago, in April 1912, Theodore Roosevelt popped by for a vist. He spoke to a large crowd in Westside Park in Champaign as part of his primary campaign for President that year.

Ice Cream: The Health Food?


On frigid days like this we have to remind ourselves that summer will be here soon! Thinking of summer always reminds me of sweet, frozen treats. The photo above was taken in the 1920’s when Champaign was home to the Champaign Ice Cream Co. As you can see, Champaign Ice Cream Co. advertised ice cream as “the health food.” From 1913-1929 residents could satisfy their appetites for sweet summer treats and also tour the creamery. 

Is There Something Hiding In This Photograph?



This photograph of the Boardwalk on the University of Illinois Quad seems fairly straight forward, an idyllic scene of campus on a sunny day. However, if you look very closely on the left hand side of the photo there seems to a faint outline of a person walking. Is it a trick of the light, a misprint of the negative, or perhaps something more ghostly in nature?