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  • Fold3 - Over 46,000,000 historical documents and photos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 Catalog - 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:  Resources for Genealogists - Selection of links for beginning genealogical research, searchable databases, and preservation tutorials

Champaign County History Books Online

The following books concerning Champaign County history are indexed in Local History Online Catalog 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 - Over 100 newspaper titles and trade journals, including the Daily Illini (1874-1975), The Champaign County News (1903-1916)The Champaign Daily News (1895-1919), Urbana Daily 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 online access to FamilySearch’s restricted image collections that contains billions of birth, marriage, death, census, land, and court records from over 130 countries. [in-library use only]

How to Find Digital Images on FamilySearch (PDF)

Note: Some digital images may have privacy, copyright, contractual, or other restrictions that limit access. If such restrictions apply, a notification will appear.


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Phone: 217-367-4025