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Located in Chatham, Illinois
Chatham Area Public Library
Tuesday: 9:00 am - 8:00 pm

Local History and Genealogy

Local history and genealogy room filled with book collection and table and chairs

Genealogy Resources

Unlock the story of your family through census data, vital records, directories, photos, and more. Available for in-library use only.
Access to US military records, including the stories, photos and documents of the men and women who served. Contains millions of records from world-class archives.
HeritageQuest provides access to thousands of local and family histories, the complete U.S. Federal Census, Revolutionary War Pension & Bounty Land Warrant Application Files, Freedman's Bank Records, city directories, and more.
Index is still being updated. Last names through G have been added to index. There are two tabs: "Archived Obituaries" & "Obits 6-16-2022 through present". SJR - State Journal Register -- CC - Chatham Clarion
Full-text local news in The State Journal-Register, with coverage from 1985 to the present.
* Issues from 1851-1923 and 1980-current are available within the library and at home. * Limited access to 1923-1980 issues can be accessed from home with a limit of 5 articles per day from that time range. Access from home will last 24 hours before you need to redeem the Access From Home code again.
This FREE site provides access to a growing collection of databases of digitized records for genealogical research. Users are required to create a free account. Using the website in the Library allows access to many digital images that cannot be viewed at home.

Who was Opal Lee?

Opal LeeOpal A (Young) Lee was the unofficial historian of Chatham. She was well qualified for the role as a life long resident of Chatham.  Opal was born Feb. 12, 1920 and married her high school sweetheart, Vernon Lee, in 1942.  She worked at the Chatham Grain Elevator before her retirement and served as village clerk.  Throughout her life, she dedicated her life to collecting and preserving the history of Chatham via photographs, artifacts and documentation for local businesses, the Library, and other organizations. The  Library celebrates her life and dedication to Chatham through the Opal Lee Chatham History and Genealogy Room.