Free Online Illinois City Directories

City and business directories are available online from all over the U.S. and are what I consider another important set of information that can assist you in advancing your family history and genealogy research.

This activity of presenting links is a collaborative effort between The Ancestor Hunt and Miriam Robbins, who for years has made available the Online Historical Directories website, which presents links to directories of all types that are available online, including free collections as well as those available only via subscription. I wish to thank Miriam for her help in launching this category of records at The Ancestor Hunt.

So, what kinds of directories are available to the researcher?  Naturally city and business directories, but also telephone directories, and alumni, farm, lodge, rural, and social directories.

What can you find in these records? How about:

  • Full names, including middle names
  • Spouse name
  • Occupation
  • Widows, working women, and adult children at home.
  • Maps
  • Businesses (and index to advertisers).
  • Addresses and maps of churches, schools, funeral homes, cemeteries, post offices, courts, hospitals, benevolent associations, and newspapers.
  • Whether a woman is a widow (including the name of her husband).
  • List of marriages and deaths of the previous year.
  • Death date.
  • etc.

Here are a few good primers on the benefits of searching historical city and other directories:​

And here are various places where you can find other city directories online: 

Note: Some of the links listed take you to a FamilySearch Collection of digital images. Near the bottom of the page under Film/Digital Notes is the name of each sub-collection. If there is a camera icon at the right of the name (in the Format column) then the collections’ images are browsable. If there is a camera with a key icon, it is only available at a Family History Center or affiliated library. If there is a film reel icon, then it is only available in microfilm format, not digital. To take full advantage, please make sure that you are logged in to FamilySearch. The results may be different if you are signed in, rather than not.

(Updated October 2022)

Links to these free collections are presented initially with statewide collections, followed in alphabetical order by city or county. Generally, the publishing company is included in the reference to the collection, along with the collection title, and the date(s) of the directory:

Statewide

Farmer Directories

Adams County

Alton

Arlington Heights

Belleville

Belvidere

Bethalto

Bloomington

Boone County

Bureau County

Cairo

Carbondale

Champaign and Urbana

Champaign County

Chicago

Christian County

Cook County

Decatur

DuPage County

East St. Louis

Edgar County

Effingham County

Elgin

Evanston

Fairbury

Ford County

Franklin County

Galena

Glenview

Hancock County

Jacksonville

Jefferson

Kane County

Kankakee

Kendall County

Kewanee

Lake

Leadville

Libertyville

Lisle

Logan County

Madison County

Mason County

McHenry County

Moline

Momence

Mount Prospect

Naperville

Paris

Peoria

Princeton

Quincy

Randolph County

Rockford

Rogers Park

Sangamon County

Shelbyville

Springfield

Tazewell County

Urbana Champaign

Wheaton

Wilmette

Winnebago County

Woodford County

Woodstock

Good Luck and Happy Hunting!

For all Free Illinois Links, click on the category of interest:

Newspapers
Yearbooks
Births
Marriages
Deaths
BMD Records
Alumni Records
Cemetery Records
Church Records
Coroner Records
Criminal Records
Digital Archives
Directories
Divorce Records
Immigration Records
Institutional Records
Military Records
Mortuary Records
Naturalizations
Obituaries
Photos
Probate and Wills
Research Toolkit
School Records
Tax Records
Voter Records

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