Research Tools

The Champaign County Historical Archives has a diverse array of resources to aid in research on local history and genealogy. They range from databases which provide access to genealogical resources worldwide to affiliations with other libraries and institutions to provide physical access to materials located elsewhere.

Online Library Databases | Other Databases | General Genealogy Resources | Books | Newspapers | Public Records | For Teachers | FamilySearch Affiliate Library Services

Online Library Databases - Available in Library or with Library card

Online databases are available at no charge to all users in the Library, or from outside of the Library using a valid Library card from The Urbana Free Library. 

  • America's GenealogyBank - Over 300 years of historical newspapers (including obituaries), books, pamphlets, and government reports
  • Ancestry Library Edition [in-library use only] - Over 4,000 genealogical databases and census records
  • Fold3 - Over 46,000,000 historical documents and photos
  • Heritage Quest - Federal census records and more
  • MyHeritage Library Edition - World-wide historical & public records, family tree profiles, USA Federal Census (1790-1940), and much more.
  • News-Gazette - Full-text articles of local news, June 1997 to present


Other Databases 

African American Gateway - A growing resource for African American research compiled by Allen County Public Library of Fort Wayne, Indiana

Archives Grid - Catalog that includes over four million records describing personal papers, family histories, and more from over 1,000 archival institutions including the Champaign County Historical Archives 

DAR Genealogical Research System - Online genealogical portal including their Ancestor Database, Member Database, Descendants Database, DAR Library Catalog, and DAR Genealogical Records Committee database

eBlack Champaign-Urbana - Collaborative portal providing a centralized repository for local African-American culture and history. Users are encouraged to contribute their stories and photographs

Find a Grave - Free resource for finding the graves of famous folks, friends and family members 

Illinois State Archives - Illinois birth, death, marriage, and veterans records

Illinois State Genealogical Society -  Indices and databases  provided free to the public by the ISGS

Local History Online - Local history and genealogy resources at the Champaign County Historical Archives of The Urbana Free Library


General Genealogy Resources

Champaign County Genealogical Society - Selection of links to websites for resources mainly specific to Champaign County and Illinois 

Cyndi's List - A free jumping-off point for online genealogical research

Eastman's Online Genealogy Newsletter - Daily online genealogy newsletter

Family Search Wiki - Genealogical research advice and information on where to find record collections

Illinois Online Genealogy Records - Find genealogy records: vital records (birth, marriage, and death), census, cemeteries, probate, land, libraries, societies, churches, newspapers, etc. for Illinois

National Archives: Genealogy Ethnic Heritage - Selection of links to websites that are useful for ethnic genealogical research compiled by NARA

National Archives:  Archives Library Information Center (ALIC): Genealogy - Selection of links for how to do genealogical research, genealogy resources around the world, and searchable databases


Champaign County Books 

The following books concerning Champaign County history are indexed in Local History Online and have been digitized and made available online through the Internet Archive.

Early History and Pioneers of Champaign County (1886) 

Portrait and Biographical Album of Champaign County, Ill. (1887)

The Biographical Record of Champaign County Ill. (1900)

The History of Champaign Champaign County by J.O. Cunningham (1905)

A Standard History of Champaign County Illinois: Volume 1 and Volume 2  (1918) 



America's GenealogyBank - Over 300 years of historical newspapers (including obituaries), books, pamphlets, and government reports

Illinois Digital Newspaper Collection - Contains 45 newspaper titles and trade journals, including the Daily Illini and the Urbana Courier (1903-1935)

The News-Gazette - Full-text articles of local news, June 1997 to present

University of Illinois Historical Newspapers Online - Thousands of historical newspapers in digital format including U.S.., Illinois, and international titles. (while many of these papers are freely available some do require a UIUC login)


Public Records

Champaign County Assessment Office - Property record search 

Champaign County Clerk - Certified copy of vital records available for a fee (non-certified copies can be found at the Champaign County Historical Archives

Champaign County Circuit Clerk - Access to traffic, civil, criminal, small claims, probate, city ordinance, and conservation records 

Champaign County GIS Consortium Interactive Public Map - Interactive map of Champaign County

Champaign County Recorder of Deeds - Access to documents reflecting chain of title to land within Champaign County

Federal Land Patent Records Site - Live access to Federal land conveyance records for the Public Land States, including image access to more than five million Federal land title records issued between 1820 and the present


For Teachers 

American History Teachers' Collaborative - lesson plans, local primary documents, and examples of best practices from a central Illinois collaborative led by the Urbana School District

DocsTeach - ready to use tools for teaching with documents prepared by the National Archives

National History Day and Archives Toolkit - a wiki for getting the most out of National History Day


FamilySearch Affiliate Library Services

The Champaign County Historical Archives is a FamilySearch affiliate library of the FamilySearch’s Research and Library System. This designation means library patrons have convenient access to billions of birth, marriage, death, census, land, and court records from over 130 countries. These microfilmed records are ordered for loan directly from the FamilySearch archives in Salt Lake City, Utah. FamilySearch does charge a fee to order microfilm. Contact us at 217-367-4025 for current prices.

  • To request microfilm, create an account at and sign in
  • Search the FamilySearch library catalog for available film and add items to your cart
  • Pay for the requested items using a credit card, debit card, or PayPal account. (The first time you order, you'll be prompted to select your default family history center - select Champaign County Historical Archives)
  • You will be contacted when the film has arrived at CCHA
  • Once the film arrives, you can use the microfilm readers (which can print or save to your portable drive) at CCHA for viewing
  • The Archives staff can help you see what films are available. Contact us at 217-367-4025 if you have any questions