Friday, September 26, 2008

Research on Route 66 (Springfield, Illinois)

The State of Illinois Archives' holdings are divided into regions (IRAD); the region I wanted to research was Southern Illinois (Carbondale), but the area I was visiting was the State Capitol, Springfield, Illinois, and wanted to research there. Route 66, the Lincoln historical sites, and looking up ancestral deeds -- a veritable trifecta in Springfield.

Luckily, the Illinois State Genealogical Society has duplicates of LDS films covering the whole State and they are housed at the Margaret Norton Building, State of Illinois Archives.

I decided to focus on Gallatin County, Illinois, and search for Roark, Patillo, and Johnson ancestors. The Archives uses the same microfilm numbers that are found in the Family History Library Catalog (FHLC). I printed out numbers and descriptions for Gallatin Co., IL, Deeds, Libers A-C ( Film 977339) and the Grantor/Grantee Index 1813-1873 (Film 977336) from the online FHLC site from my home computer.

While extracting data from the Gallatin Co., IL, Deed Index, I made notations of the Liber, the Page, the primary parties (Grantor/Grantee, etc), as well as a few of the dates when the deeds were recorded. The Archives has closed stacks, and their index book of microfilm numbers were organized by county, then number, then date; the Liber was not listed in their index. So after I looked up the deeds in Libers A, B, & C (because I had come prepared with that microfilm number), what I really wanted next was Liber "Y"; the closest date I had extracted was 1870 for Liber "1." Luckily I guessed right when requesting the film number for Liber "Y," but it would have been much easier if I would have noted the date when I was extracting. [I do note the date when abstracting the deed itself, but in the interest of time took a shortcut with the index].

It's always easier being prepared; when I first arrived at the Illinois Archives, the young archivist who approached to assist me was puzzled when I told her that I wanted to look at the FHC films held there. If I hadn't known what to ask for, it's possible that I would not have been directed to that resource. All of the other microfilm users were looking up Illinois death certificates.

Other researchers was looking through boxes of original material as I made my request. Some time was wasted because I had to wait for a second archivist's presence in the room each time I needed another film; a lone archivist couldn't leave the original material being researched unattended to look for my film and I couldn't get it myself because of the closed stacks.

I plan on posting a few items found at the archives once they're scanned. I've found deeds for William Roark at the West Virginia Archives, the Kentucky Archives and now the Illinois Archives. The only glitch was that Gallatin County was formed in 1812 (Deed Index started at 1813) and William Roark moved to Illinois ca 1810; so I would like to check Randolph County (the parent county of Gallatin) for any Roark deeds.

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