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 held at the Genealogy & Local History Library, though are currently being done virtually because of COVID-19. Subjects and dates are published in our library newsletter and you can call us for more information.

Genealogy & Local History Library
401 State Street
Alton, IL 62002-6137
618-462-0677, option 3
genealogy@haynerlibrary.org 

Current Hours:
Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
Wednesday 12:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m.
Saturday 8:30 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.
Closed Sundays

 

Alton ABC 2In 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. Alton ABC is available for purchase at the Genealogy & Local History Library, located at 401 State Street, Alton, IL. Please note: We accept cash or check payments only, no debit/credit cards. 

 

 

Links to some of our online resources:

  • Ancestry Library Edition (available at the Hayner Genealogy & Local History Library)
  • Fold 3 military records (remote access available with your Hayner library card) 
  • Newspaper Archive Illinois Newspapers, includes the Alton Telegraph from 1836-2012 (remote access available with your Hayner library card) 
  • The Alton Telegraph Nov. 2012 - Dec. 2019 in-library use (available at all Hayner Library locations, not available remotely due to copyright restrictions)
  • The Alton Telegraph from NewsBank Jan. 2020 - present includes text (no images) for the Alton Telegraph from 2007-present and full-color newspaper pages from Jan. 1, 2020-present (remote access available with your Hayner library card)
  • Archive.org digitized books from the Hayner Collection, includes yearbooks, Alton city directories, and other items (remote access available without a library card)

Check out our State Genealogy Research Guides

And our Madison County Cemetery Maps

And the History at Hayner blog

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. Go here to see what we've digitized so far.

We partnered with the Illinois State Library to create an Illinois Digital Archives collection called “Alton Area Local History Collection.” We’re adding more material all the time. Use this link to navigate directly to our collection: http://www.idaillinois.org/digital/collection/p16614coll61/search/. You can also find the collection by performing an institutional search for "Hayner Public Library District" at http://www.finditillinois.org/ida/byInstitution.php or a collection search for "Alton Area Local History Collection" at http://www.finditillinois.org/ida/allInstitutions.php. 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  https://www.edwardsvillelibrary.org/teen-historian-challenge Originally aimed at teens, the project is open to everyone, and we encourage you to share your experience. This current moment his current moment in time will be in future history books. Your unique daily observations will serve as primary sources to the people in the future. We hope that 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.

Branching Out webinars available here:

Immigration and Citizenship Research (January 10, 2022)

U. S. Military Research (November 29, 2021)

Cemetery Research (November 15, 2021)

Property Research (October 18, 2021)

Newspaper Research (September 20, 2021)

Courthouse & Church Records (August 16, 2021)

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. 

Our collection includes:

Abraham Lincoln

  • Multi-volume collection of Abraham Lincoln references

City Directories

  • City of Alton: oldest is 1858; incomplete set for the late 1800s to present
  • Wood River/East Alton: incomplete set for 1926 to present

Databases

  • ANCESTRY® LIBRARY EDITION—worldwide records: vital, military, census, immigration, etc.
  • FOLD3—historical military records

Genealogical Books

  • American State Papers: Land Grants & Claims
  • Madison County Illinois Federal Census Indexes for 1820 through 1930
  • Madison County Illinois State census indexes for 1845 and 1855
  • Illinois Census Returns for 1810, 1818, 1820
  • Most Madison County Cemetery Inventories; Cemetery records for surrounding counties
  • Madison County Naturalizations and Intentions 1816-1900
  • Plat Maps and Atlases for Madison County and surrounding counties
  • Madison County Marriage Index 1813-1882
  • Various genealogical records of Jersey, Greene, Macoupin, Montgomery, Calhoun, Bond, Pope, Williamson, Hamilton, Franklin, Perry Counties, Pulaski, Union, and other counties in IL and of St. Charles, St. Louis, Franklin, Perry, and other counties in MO
  • Madison County, Illinois, birth record index, 1850-1879, death record index, 1878-1881
  • Marks Funeral Home Records

Local History

  • Area family histories
  • Madison County history, including "Centennial History of Madison County, Illinois and Its People" 1812-1912 and "History of Madison County...with Biographical Sketches...", 1880
  • Most Illinois county histories and local town histories
  • Alton Property Research File
  • Locally published cookbooks
  • Local church histories

Military Records

  • "Adjutant General of the State of Illinois: Annual Report 1863-1872″
  • Alton Military Prison records
  • Civil War CD-ROM (a compilation of the Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies)
  • Selected Records of the War Department relating to the Confederate Prisoners of War, 1861-1865
  • Records of Veterans from Madison County and surrounding counties

Newspapers and Periodicals

  • Digitized Alton newspapers from 1836—2012 including obituaries, births, deaths, marriages, probate, etc.
  • Illinois newspaper digitization—articles of newspapers from other cities in Illinois, including the Edwardsville Intelligencer
  • Madison County Genealogical Society Newsletter
  • SAGA (Genealogical Society of Southern Illinois quarterly)
  • Stalker (Madison County Genealogical Society quarterly)

Yearbooks

 

Additional Genealogy Websites

Illinois Research:

Missouri Research:

United States Research:

Global Research:

Genealogy Research Information/Tutorials:

Donations of materials having to do with Illinois history are appreciated. We are always looking for yearbooks and locally published cookbooks. We also appreciate the donation of your family history resources when you are finished with them. They can help someone in the future to discover their family origins. To discuss your donation, contact us at (618) 462-0677, option 3.

 

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