Genealogy & Local History
The Hayner Public Library District provides a variety of genealogy-related services and local history resources to support your research efforts. Our collection includes books on local railroads and streetcars, steamboats on the Mississippi, notable Altonians, local architecture, and more. Special events and ongoing programs are also held at the Genealogy & Local History Library. Program and event topics and dates are published in our library newsletter. You may also call the Genealogy & Local History Library for more information.
Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday 8:30 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
Wednesday 12:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m.
Saturday 8:30 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.
Alton ABC and Color Me Alton: Seasons
In 2019, a small group of Alton High School students and their teacher, Mrs. Lexa Browning-Needham, collaborated with our own Reneé B. Johnson of the Genealogy & Local History Library to publish Alton ABC. The rhyming alphabet picture book is designed to delight and inform, acknowledging the present and the history of our area. The hardbound books cost $20 each, and the proceeds are split between Hayner Library and the Alton School District.
They also published Color Me Alton: Seasons, a multi-generational coloring book exploring the seasons in the Alton area. Student illustrators worked to illustrate text written by Reneé B. Johnson, highlighting seasonal activities and events in Alton, Godfrey, and Fosterburg, Illinois. The students drew pages depicting the Alton Memorial Day Parade, Juneteeth Celebration in James H. Killion Park, Alton Farmers’ and Artisans’ Market, the Rose Garden at Gordon Moore Park, the All-Wheels Drive-In Classic Car Show, the Great Godfrey Corn Maze at Glazebrook Park, and other wonderful local traditions.
Both books are available for purchase at the Genealogy & Local History Library, located at 401 State Street, Alton, IL. Copies of Alton ABC are $20 each and copies of Color Me Alton: Seasons are $10 each. Please note: We accept cash or check payments only.
Our Future Outlook
We’re digitizing city directories, local yearbooks, and other items from the collection and making them available through archive.org and through links on the online SHARE catalog when we can. See what we’ve digitized so far.
We partnered with the Illinois State Library to create an “Alton Area Local History Collection” on the Illinois Digital Archives website. We’re adding more material all the time. The Illinois Digital Archives is a fantastic resource for Illinois history and includes photographs, oral interviews, books, newspapers, and other items.
We’re also extremely excited about partnering with the Edwardsville Public Library and the Madison County Historical Society for the 2020 Historian Project. Originally aimed at teens, the project is open to everyone, and we encourage you to share your experience. This current moment in time will be in future history books. Your unique daily observations will serve as primary sources for people in the future. We hope this project will encourage you to contemplate and think critically about the state of the world and give you an outlet to process information, ideas, and feelings. Be authentic. Be honest. Be reflective. Pay attention to the details. Your job is to chronicle the changes you observe as your community, the country, and the world responds to COVID-19.
Family Search (July 9, 2021)
Ancestry.com: Research, Trees, DNA (May 28, 2021)
Sharing and Collaborating on Social Media (April 16, 2021)
Digital Family Trees and Files (March 30, 2021)
Organizing Our Genealogy Research (January 29, 2021)
Check out this article from Family Tree Magazine for suggested filing systems.
A library card issued from an Illinois Heartland Library System member-library provides access to the computers.
Guest passes are available with a photo ID.
Additional Genealogy Websites
- Madison County, Illinois Genealogical Society
- Illinois State Archives Databases
- Illinois Genweb
- Illinois Genealogy Trails
United States Research:
Genealogy Research Information and Tutorials:
Donations of materials pertaining to Illinois history are greatly appreciated. We’re always on the lookout for yearbooks and locally published cookbooks. We also appreciate the donation of your family history resources when you are finished with them, including house abstracts. These items can help someone in the future discover their family origins. To discuss your donation, please call (618) 462-0677, option 3.