Friday, April 27, 2012

Champaign County Records - The Beginning

Ever wonder how we got all those Champaign County Court records? The November 1975 edition of the Champaign County Genealogical Society Newsletter explains how it all started:

While Jean Evans was on jury duty, she started copying the oldest County Commissioner's Court records for the Archives Room during her lunch hour. Mr. Bing, the County Clerk, saw her and asked what she was doing, and then said it would be much easier to Xerox them. Jean said the Library couldn't afford 50 cents a page, so he agreed to let them be copied at cost. Charles Webster has been cranking out pages by the hundreds, and they will be available for use in the Archives Room of the Urbana Free Library of the Urbana Free Library. The Library has allocated $100 for this project, and a recommendation will be submitted at our next meeting to use the $100 budgeted for library acquisitions for this project.
As so often happens, one thing leads to another, and Mr. Bing said that if volunteers would inventory the old reports which have been accumulating dust in two basement rooms for decades, he would determine which ones could be released to the custody of the Archives Room. Mary Payne, who is coordinating this project, asked for volunteers at the last meeting, and eight people worked on October 29. If you can devote three hours on Wednesday from 9-12 during any of the next few weeks, you should come (in old clothes) to the second floor of the Court House, in front of the pop machine, and Mary will show you what to do. Even though you do not have roots in Champaign County, this is a grand opportunity to repay people who have worked in other places to make material available for your research. If you cannot work, a contribution toward copying more of these very early records would be appreciated.

These tireless volunteers spent hours indexing hundreds of records, culminating in the deposit of the Champaign County Probate Court cases and the Marriage License Application books to the archives in 1978. Thanks to these volunteers and the archives staff, thousands of county records are now inventoried and housed here at the Champaign County Historical Archives.

For a listing of records located here, go click here.

To search these and other records indexed in our new and improved Local History Online, click here.

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