Providing Reference Services

Newspapers are notoriously difficult to use, and sometimes even difficult to locate. Our goal is to help researchers find and use the Illinois newspapers they need.

The Illinois Newspaper Project (INP) is staffed by librarians, not genealogists. Like librarianship, genealogy is a professionalized occupation, and genealogists have specialized areas of expertise, and use a specialized set of resources and techniques. There is, of course, much overlap between the work of genealogists and librarians, but the two disciplines are distinct. Like librarians, genealogists have organizations that govern the accreditation (International Commission for the Accreditation of Genealogists) and certification (Board for Certification of Genealogists) of professional genealogists. And, like librarians, genealogists have their own, self-governing professional organizations–Association of Professional Genealogists (APG) and the National Genealogical Society.

In short, we do not purport to conduct genealogy, or to offer professional genealogical advice. If you would like assistance from a professional genealogist, consult the APG’s Directory of Professional Genealogists. Our expertise is with locating the types of resources found in libraries–especially published sources, like newspapers. We will do our best to assist you, and we will let you know when a question is beyond our area of expertise, so please do not hesitate to contact us.

We will do an obituary look-up if you have an exact citation and we have the newspaper issue cited. We will also do an obituary look-up if you know the date and place of death, and we have a newspaper that might have published an obituary for that person. If we do not have a newspaper for the obituary you are seeking, then we will help you locate a library that does. There is no fee for this service. We respond to obituary look-ups as quickly as possible, but can only do the look-up as time permits. Usually we are able to respond within one week.

To learn more about the resources available at the University of Illinois Library for genealogical research, please consult our library guide to Genealogy Resources.