719 N. Eleventh Street
PO Box 312
Pekin, Illinois 61555-0312
to the Ehrlicher Research Center
We are now on Facebook! Visit our page
by clicking on the above image. Enjoy! Thanks to Charlotte Jibben for creating and
maintaining our Facebook page!
The Tazewell County Genealogical &
Historical Society library is located in the Ehrlicher Research Center at the above
address. The library is open Monday 9 am-1 pm, Tuesday 9 am-1 pm & 7-9 pm, Wednesdays
9 am-4:30 pm, Thursday-Friday 9 am-1 pm, and Sundays 2-4:30 pm central standard time
(closed on holidays and holiday weekends). The library is staffed with
one or more
trained volunteer genealogists.
Since we do depend on volunteers, unexpected
closings can occur but are very rare. If you are coming through town and can't stop
by during our normal hours, email us and
we'll try to make arrangements to meet you at the library.
Current Events & What's New ~~
September Meeting - Tuesday,
This month's topic is Lincoln and Tazewell County. Our speaker is
Guy C. Fraker, author of
Lincoln's Ladder to
the Presidency: The Eighth Judicial Circuit
- the first book ever written about the Eighth Judicial Circuit
which covered the counties of central Illinois where Lincoln spent
almost half of his professional life.
Mr. Fraker is a graduate of the University of Illinois,
a practicing attorney since 1962 and consultant on and participant in
Abraham Lincoln: Prelude to
the Presidency, an award-winning nationally distributed
documentary produced by WILL-TV (PBS). He is also co-curator of
Prologue to the Presidency, a permanent exhibit at the
David Davis Mansion in
Bloomington as well as chairman of the Board of Directors of the
Looking for Lincoln Heritage
Coalition and a member of the Board of Trustees of
Mr. Fraker will have copies of his book available for
sale and signing. A normal business meeting will follow!
October Meeting - Tuesday,
This month's topic is about the Daughters of the American Revolution
(DAR). Our speaker Cindy Bertino is the Registrar & Lineage
Chairman for the Peoria
Chapter of the National Society Daughters of the American Revolution.
Cindy is responsible for researching and preparing applications for
prospective members wanting to join the DAR.
Any woman 18 years or older who can prove lineal,
bloodline descent from an ancestor who aided in achieving American
independence is eligible to join the DAR. The applicant must provide
documentation for each statement of birth, marriage and death, as well
as of the Revolutionary War service of her Patriot ancestor.
Normal business meeting follows.
Taking Orders for 2015-2016 Terri Lynn Nuts!
We are starting our annual Terri Lynn nuts fund raiser.
Their premium nuts, dried fruits, and candy are unlike anything you'll
find at a typical grocery or convenience store. And, their prices
are very competitive!
With products that range
from Dark Chocolate Cranberries to Giant Pecans to Deluxe Mixed Nuts,
you are sure to find the perfect item for snacks, baking, and holiday
gifts! Review, print, and fill out your
order form now. Then
drop it off or mail it to the society along your payment by October 1.
The nuts usually
arrive in November in plenty of time for holiday baking. We ask you pick up
your nuts by November 30.
Thirteenth Annual Harvest Time for Genealogists Workshop, October 24,
Our speaker for our all-day workshop this year is Lin Strong, current
president of the
Ostfriesen Genealogical Society of
Many of the early settlers
of Tazewell County emigrated from Ostfriesland
region of Germany.
Ms. Strong's areas of expertise include Germany, the Netherlands
and Scandinavia. Lin's topics will include Breaking Through Your
Brick Wall; Newspaper Research; Overseas Genealogical Websites; and
Reading and Understanding Original Germanic and Scandinavian Birth,
Marriage and Death Records.
Registration is only $30 per person which includes all
lectures, lecture handouts, morning refreshments, and a luncheon.
More details on Lin and her topics are available at our
conference page. Or, sign up using our
And, here's a flyer you
can print and share with your friends! Hope to see you there!
Pekin Public Library
launches From the History Room blog
Pekin Public Library
started publishing a
From the History Room blog on July 22. The blog will
contain articles highlighting Pekin and Tazewell County historic events
from the Local History Room collection of the Pekin Public Library.
New articles will be posted on an approximately weekly basis.
Topics so far include a Slideshow: Interior and exterior views of the
Local History Room, Tazewell County's Old Settlers, Pekin
has it's own Liberty Bell, and Eyewitness Accounts of Stillman's
Defeat. There is a permanent link to the blog on our
Surplus Book Sale
We are clearing out duplicate books from our collection - they are all
hardback and in very good condition. Check
the list to see if anything peeks your interest.
PCHS West Campus
Despite the valiant efforts of many folks (including our society) to
save the historic landmark building, the 98 year-old Pekin Community
High School West Campus sadly succumbed to the wrecking ball. As a
memento to remember the building, the society has created a souvenir
shelf sitter depicting the front of the West Campus. This is a
high quality keepsake which will capture your cherished memories of West
Campus. Here's more details and how to
order your copy before they are gone!
The Monthly now available electronically!
The Monthly is now available for home delivery in pdf format via
e-mail. Tazewell County Genealogical & Historical Society members have
always received a monthly print newsletter called The Monthly as
one of the benefits of their membership. The Monthly is filled
with Tazewell County historical and genealogical articles, documents,
and pictures as well as information on Society special events, monthly
meetings, and projects. Members may now elect to receive
their newsletter either through the postal mail service or
electronically via e-mail.
long-term goals of the Society
Similar to a great university's endowment fund, the
TCGHS Foundation Endowment Fund helps create a margin of excellence by
supporting acquisitions, innovations, and special projects beyond the
capacity of the Society's normal operating budget.
Commemorate your support by sponsoring a leaf for your family on our
surname tree or a tile for your company on our
Tazewell County Business Plaque! You can also contribute to the
foundation by purchasing one of the foundation's
historic shelf sitter buildings.
About Tazewell County Genealogical & Historical Society ~~
Mission & Purpose
Here's what the Tazewell County Genealogical & Historical Society stands
We moved into our new facility in 1997. See more photos of our
library and check out some of our holdings.
||Do you know of a
group, no matter what age, who would like a tour of our library -
whether it be a grade school class, church group, or civic organization?
If so, give us a call or send us an email
to schedule a convenient time for a tour.
||Our Board & Committee
The Tazewell County Genealogical & Historical Society board consists of
the elected officers, four elected at-large board members, and the
immediate past president. Here's our current officers and
Become one of the almost 400 members of the Tazewell County Genealogical &
Historical Society. Or
renew your current membership!
Do you have a direct ancestor who was an early (prior to 1875) Tazewell
County settler? If so, apply for our Pioneer Certificate.
It will become a proud addition to your home! (see
sample). So far, we've issued certificates for these
Tazewell County Pioneers. Updated
Tazewell County Shelf Sitters
The TCGHS Foundation has created a series of four different collectable shelf sitters representing
historic Tazewell County buildings regularly visited by Abraham Lincoln
in the late 1840's through 1860.
Collect all four - the Tazewell County Courthouse, the Jones-Menard
"Red Brick" House, the Lilly Inn, and the Tazewell House!
Here's more info including photos!
Tazewell County Research Tips ~~
County Surname Registry - Free!
Here's a list of folks who are researching various Tazewell County surnames and who would
like to correspond via email with other researchers. Register the surnames you're
researching now -- all we ask is you limit your entries to surnames which have a
connection to Tazewell County. Last Updated April 2015
Tazewell County Vital Records
My ancestor was born in 1825 - can I get his birth certificate? Where
can I get a copy of a death certificate? These questions and more are
answered in our overview of Tazewell County Vital Records.
||Tazewell County Cemeteries
Here's a list of all known cemeteries in Tazewell County, including the township and
section they are located in. Some cemeteries have links to additional information
such as cemetery history, location maps, driving instructions, and photos.
||Tazewell County Township Map
Here's a map of Tazewell County showing the township names and locations.
Historical Tazewell County Maps - Free!
Here are historical maps of Tazewell County covering
1833, 1857, 1873, 1896, 1920, and 1929.
Ortssippenbücher (OSB) Collection
Many of the early settlers of Tazewell County emigrated from a region of
northeast Germany known as Ostfriesland (East Friesland or East Fresia).
Ortssippenbücher (OSB) books contain important information for Ostfriesen
researchers such as names, occupations, family relationships, and dates of
births, marriages, and deaths for families from a specific Ostfriesen town
or village. The information (usually extracted from local church records)
is presented alphabetically by family group surname. Our collection
of OSB books is thought to be the largest in the State of Illinois. List
last updated January 2012.
Amish Mennonites in Tazewell County,
Illinois (including Woodford County) -
Joseph Peter Staker has written a thoroughly documented extensive
history of over 85 Amish Mennonite families who immigrated to Tazewell
(and surrounding) Counties before 1856 - almost 1000 pages with around
1350 source citations. Joe has graciously placed his three volume
book on our website as Adobe Acrobat searchable PDF files which you can
download for free! Last
updated in May 2015.
Researched surnames include Abersoll, Ackerman,
Augsburger, Bachman/Baughman, Beck, Beckler, Beller, Belsley, Birky/Birkey,
Brenneman, Brickler, Camp, Chlopicki, De Guibert, Dellenbach, Dettweiler,
Donner, Ehresman, Eigsti, Eiman, Engel, Ernst, Esch/Oesch, Farny, Gascho,
Gerber/Garber, Gingerich, Goldsmith, Good, Grubb, Hauter, Heiser,
Hochstetter, Householder, Kauffman, Kennel, King, Kinsinger, Kistler,
Klopfenstein, Lantz, Leman, Litwiller, Martin, Maurer, Miller, Mosiman, Nafziger, Neuhauser,
Orendorff, Oyer, Petersmith, Plank, Ramseyer, Rediger, Reeser/Risser,
Reust, Rich, Ringenberger, Roeschley, Roggy, Ropp, Roth, Ruvenacht,
Salzman, Schantz, Schertz, Schlegel, Schrock, Schwarzentraub, Schweizer,
Sharp, Smith, Sommer, Springer, Staker, Stalter, Steider, Steinman,
Strubhar, Sutter, Ulrich, Unzicker, Vercler, Wagler, Wagner, Yoder,
Yordy, Zehr, Zimmerman, Zook, and Zwalter.
County Education Records
Joy Wojtas, Certification Specialist - Tazewell County Regional Office of Education,
discusses school records dating from 1911 through 1962 which may be of assistance for
research purposes. During the past one hundred years, many changes have taken place
in education. The maintaining of various records gives future generations some
insight into what was happening during a particular period of time.
||Newspapers on Microfilm
Here's a list of the Tazewell County Newspapers prior to
1953 we currently have in our microfilm collection.
||Links - Free!
Here's some other websites, family histories, and mailing lists you might find helpful doing your Tazewell
County research. Last updated July 2015.
Research Services, Historic Photos, and Society Publications ~~
|| TCGHS Publications
Tazewell County records transcribed, indexed, and published by the
Tazewell County Genealogical & Historical Society. Classic
research materials such as searchable county histories
and atlases (CD-ROM) cemetery listings, marriage records, land
records, naturalization records, census records, atlases, and
directories. We've recently added several items including previews of our
historical postcards. And, we now have an online shopping cart for
County Research Services
Our society can provide research services to those unable to visit our library such as
surname searches of the TCGHS library holdings, obituary searches at Pekin Public Library,
searches of Tazewell County courthouse records (birth, death, marriage, & probate),
and photographs of your ancestor's grave.
Tazewell County Notable Men Photographs now
Our archivists were recently given access to
over 1500 5"x7" photos taken by 19th century
photographer H.H. Cole. These photos have been stored in the
basement of the Tazewell County Courthouse for decades. Most of these
photographs are of early Tazewell County settlers. We have scanned
the collection and the images are now available to researchers.
Check our list for your ancestors.
Tazewell County WWI Soldier Photographs now
Included in the society's L. Sidney Eslinger Glass Negative
Collection are over 100 glass plate
identified area soldiers in uniform, probably from
around the time of World War I. There are many, many more unnamed ones.
photographs were taken by
H. H. Cole, the well-known Tazewell County photographer.
Our archivists have scanned the collection and the images are now
available to researchers.
Check our list for your ancestors.
2012 Edition of Cemetery Volume 1 -
Dillon & Delavan Townships just published!!
many hours of hard work visiting cemeteries and consulting the actual
cemetery & death records, we've updated and released a new version of
our listings for Dillon & Delavan Township cemeteries.
There's now 252 pages - up from 140 pages in the previous edition.
Listings are now current through December 2012. In addition to the
index of the interred, we've also added an “every
name” index which includes every name
mentioned on a stone as well as including other available genealogical
data such as parental information, place of birth and death, and
Many thanks to those who added and proofed all the new
genealogical data—the late Elaine Ogden,
Jerry Bietz, Linda Stegall and chair Margaret Bush. Pick up your copy at the library or
order online and we'll mail to you
Everett McKinley Dirksen…a Boy from
A year or so ago our society became aware students at
Primary School in Pekin had no idea who Senator Everett Dirksen (the
school's namesake) was or what he had done during his public
service. Since there were no books documenting the Senator's
life available at an elementary reading level, a committee was
created to research and write a biography for elementary students.
Copies of the books were presented to the Dirksen
Although written for a third through seventh grade
reading level, the book presents many facts and photos of the
Senator's life that adults would also find interesting.
Here's more information on the creation of the
book and how to get a copy.
Tazewell County Veterans of World War II Remembrances!
The Society collected oral &
written histories, documents, and photos from over 450 Tazewell County
WWII veterans in order to preserve their stories for future generations.
These memories have been published in an approximately 500 page 8.5" x 11" book entitled
Tazewell County Veterans of World War II Remembrances. As you can
see, the book has a high quality, long-lasting library binding.
Pictures of most of
the veterans have been included with their stories. This is a unique
opportunity to relive how these “ordinary”
men and women made amazing sacrifices during those extraordinary
times, forging the values that made our people and nation great! This
book would make a gift that will be cherished for generations
to come! Follow this link for more details
and to get your copy today!
One of our members, Jim Conover, has co-authored the definitive
book on the history of "the Berry Gang", who
terrorized the people of Tazewell County for
years during the late 1860's, despite the
efforts of Pekin’s tough City Marshal Alfred Stone, Tazewell County
Sheriff Edward Pratt, and their deputies. Then
one day the gang made the fatal mistake of
resisting the law once too often. The next few
days would result in fatal
gun fights, murder, aggravated assault, mob action, suicide, and
a lynching that would make news nationwide.
A classic piece of western frontier history right here in central
Illinois! Here's a brief overview of the book, including
a list of surnames and
cities mentioned, and
directions on how to get your own copy.
The Wreck of the Columbia - A Broken Boat, a
Town’s Sorrow & the End of the Steamboat Era on the Illinois River
One of the worst disasters in the history of United States inland
navigation occurred at midnight, Friday, July 5, 1918 when the excursion
steamboat Columbia, returning to Pekin from an excursion in Peoria,
struck a sand bar and sank into the Illinois River near Wesley City
(present day Creve Coeur) with 496 passengers (mostly from Pekin).
Eighty-seven passengers, mostly women and children, drowned in the
submerged wreckage. The rest lived to tell their stories of
horror, bravery, and survival.
After extensive research using the society's
collection and other sources, TCGHS member Ken Zurski has written a
gripping account entitled The Wreck of the Columbia - A Broken Boat,
a Town’s Sorrow & the End of the Steamboat Era on the Illinois River
- documenting the true story of the worst maritime accident in the
history of the Illinois River.
You can purchase a copy of this definitive book
directly from the publisher or