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

Local History & Genealogy

Forms

When you are getting started in genealogy, there are several forms that you want to become familiar with. They will help you organize and keep track of your ancestors' information.  

Use these blank forms to record your research results. Click on the title to view or print a PDF version of each.

Getting Started in Genealogy Guide

If you are interested in starting the journey of researching your ancestors, take a look at this PDF iconResearch Guide

Sign up for the Local History and Genealogy eNewsletter

Local History and Genealogy Newsletter

Sign up here!

The enewsletter will alert you to the upcoming local history and genealogy events at the library.  In addition, you will learn about tips and tricks to help in your genealogy research along with history events around the area. 

Local History Digital Collection

You can access a wide variety of information about the history of the Chatham area as well as your family history on our online resources.  We also maintain a growing digital collection of documents, records, artifacts and photographs.  To find items specific to Chatham Area History check out this digital collection.  We have a separate digital collection for our school history found here.

Obituary Database

Searching for obituaries for those that have lived in Chatham at one point their life.  Check out our obituaries database to help with that search. Obituaries will be taken from both the State Journal Register and the Chatham Clarion.  

Genealogy Databases

Most of our genealogy databases can be accessed from home.

Visit the "Genealogy & Local History" tab of our Database page to get started!

Ball, Chatham and Glenwood Yearbooks

Take a step back in time by taking a look at our the yearbooks that we have digitized.  They can be found on the Chatham Area High School Yearbooks & Class Photos Facebook Page

Looking for a home for your unwanted yearbooks?  Consider donating them to the Library!  Once beloved mementos for young students, old high school and college yearbooks are now treasured by genealogists, local historians, and even school reunion planners.

The Opal Lee Chatham History Genealogy Room has a large collection of Chatham area yearbooks, but it does not include all schools or years.  Due to cost, we rely on kind donations to add to this collection.

We would love to add yearbooks that are…

  • From a grade school or high school in the Chatham Area, specifically from
    • Ball High School -- 1950, 1952, 1953
    • Chatham Jr High School -- 1957, 1961, 1962, 1969-1973, 1982-1983, 1984-1985, 1988-1996, 1997-2000
  • In good condition; no mold or water damage, please.

Opal Lee Chatham History Genealogy Room

The genealogy collection focuses on materials from the US, particulary those areas people came from before they arrive in the Chatham area.  The local history collection focuses on materials on the townships of Chatham, Auburn, Ball, Cotton Hill, Curran, Loami, New Berlin and Woodside.  

The wide range of materials to assist in your research include: 

  • History of Chatham
  • Yearbooks
  • Chatham Clarion Newspaper
  • Family Tree Magazine
  • County Histories
  • Genealogical Indexes and so much more. 

Ancestry Library Edition

Ancestry Library EditionAncestry Library Edition (IN LIBRARY USE ONLY) brings the world’s most popular consumer online genealogy resource to your library. It’s an unprecedented online collection of individuals from North America, the United Kingdom, Europe, Australia, and more.

Answers await everyone—whether professional or hobbyist, expert or novice, genealogist or historian—inside the more than 7,000 available databases. Here, you can unlock the story of you with sources like censuses, vital records, immigration records, family histories, military records, court and legal documents, directories, photos, maps, and more.

Family Search Library Affiliate

Family History While you are in the library via personal laptop or Library computer, you will have exclusive access to a vast collection of billion of genealogical records.  About 2 million images have been digitized, and many are not free available on the FamilySearch website.  Some of those image, however, are classifed as "restricted access" for various reasons, and are visible only on computers in Family History Centres and affiliate libraries which Chatham Area Public Library is one.  

A free account must be created to access these records on FamilySearch.  It is simple to do.  All you need is your email address and name for verification purposes. It will ask for other items but these can be made generic if you are concerned about privacy.  FamilySearch will send you an email to verify that the email address is an accurate address.  All you have to do is click on the button in your email to verify.  

If you need help navigating the website, please check out this handout.  If you have additional questions, please do not hesitate to come by the Reference Desk and ask Alanna Sablotny, Local History/Genealogy Reference Librarian for help.  

Memory Lab

To learn more about the wonderful equipment that we have available for all patrons, check out the Memory Lab.  We have VHS to Digital converter, Slide/Negative Converter, FastFoto scanner and an overhead scanner. 

Local History and Genealogy Events

Village of Chatham Elected Officials

Year Population Village President Board Trustees Village Clerk Comments
2022 14,377 David Kimsey Kristen Chiaro, Andrew Detmers, Meredith Ferguson, John Fletcher, Brett Gerger, Ryan Mann, Matt Mau Dan Holden

Paul Scherschel resigned in 2021 and was replaced by John Fletcher.

Matt Mau passed away on March 2, 2022. 

2021 14,377 David Kimsey Kristen Chiaro, Andrew Detmers, Meredith Ferguson, Brett Gerger , Ryan Mann, Matt Mau, Paul Scherschel Dan Holden
2020 14,377 David Kimsey  Kristen Chiaro, Andrew Detmers, Brett Gerger, Ryan Mann, Matt Mau, Paul Scherschel Dan Holden
2019 11,500 David Kimsey Kristen Chiaro, Andrew Detmers, Brett Gerger, Ryan Mann, Matt Mau, Paul Scherschel Amy Dahlkamp
2018 11,500 David Kimsey Kristen Chiaro, Andrew Detmers, Brett Gerger, Ryan Mann, Matt Mau, Paul Scherschel, Terry Fountain; Amy Dahlkamp
2017 11,500 David Kimsey Terry Fountain, P.E.; Brett Gerger; Ryan Mann; Paul Scherschel; Nina Lindhorst; Matthew Mau; Amy Dahlkamp Terry Fountain, P.E. elected 2017 to 2 yr Term
2016 11,500 Thomas S Gray Mark Clayton; Dave Kimsey; Joe Schattemann; Ken Boyle; Nina Lindhorst; Matthew Mau; Pat Schad
2015 11,500 Thomas S Gray Mark Clayton; Dave Kimsey; Joe Schattemann; Ken Boyle; Nina Lindhorst; Matthew Mau; Pat Schad
2014 11,500 Thomas S Gray Mark Clayton; Dave Kimsey; Joe Schattemann; Ken Boyle; Thomas Kavanagh; Daniel J. Holden Pat Schad
2013 11,500 Thomas S Gray Mark Clayton; Dave Kimsey; Joe Schattemann; Ken Boyle; Thomas Kavanagh; Daniel J. Holden Pat Schad
2012 11,500 Thomas S Gray Matthew Mau; Joe Schatteman; Charles D. Herr; Ken Boyle; Thomas Kavanagh; Daniel J. Holden Pat Schad
2011 11,500 Thomas S Gray Matthew Mau; Joe Schatteman; Charles D. Herr; Ken Boyle; Thomas Kavanagh; Daniel J. Holden Pat Schad
2010 10,293 Thomas S Gray Matthew Mau; Joe Schatteman; Charles D. Herr; Thomas Kavanagh; Jeanne Boyle; Jill M Reynolds Pat Schad
2009 10,293 Thomas S Gray Matthew Mau; Joe Schatteman; Charles D. Herr; Thomas Kavanagh; Jeanne Boyle; Jill M Reynolds Pat Schad
2008 10,293 Thomas S Gray Michael McGrath; Charles D. Herr; Joseph "Joe" Schatteman;Thomas Kavanagh; Jeanne Boyle; Jill M Reynolds Pat Schad
2007 10,293 Thomas S Gray Michael McGrath; Charles D. Herr; Joseph "Joe" Schatteman; Thomas Kavanagh; Jeanne Boyle; Jill M Reynolds Pat Schad
2006 8,583 Thomas S Gray Michael McGrath; Charles D. Herr; Joseph "Joe" Schatteman; Patrick M. McCarthy; Thomas Kavanagh; Jeanne Boyle Pat Schad
2005 8,583 Thomas S Gray Michael McGrath; Charles D. Herr; Joseph "Joe" Schatteman; Patrick M. McCarthy; Thomas Kavanagh; Jeanne Boyle Pat Schad
2004 8,583 Thomas S Gray Charles (Chuck) Herr; Scott McAdams; Mike McGrath; Patrick M. McCarthy; Thomas Kavanagh; Jeanne Boyle Pat Schad
2003 8,583 Thomas S Gray Charles (Chuck) Herr; Scott McAdams; Mike McGrath; Patrick M. McCarthy; Thomas Kavanagh; Jeanne Boyle Pat Schad
2002 8,583 Thomas S Gray Charles (Chuck) Herr; Scott McAdams; Mike McGrath; Jill M. Reynolds; Thomas S. Gray; Patrick M. McCarthy; Jeanne Boyle Pat Schad
2001 8,583 Thomas S Gray Charles (Chuck) Herr; Scott McAdams; Mike McGrath; Jill M. Reynolds; Thomas S. Gray; Patrick M. McCarthy; Jeanne Boyle Pat Schad
2000 7,367 Linda Koester Thomas Franke; Carl Oblinger; Michael Williamsen; Jill M. Reynolds; Thomas S. Gray; Patrick M. McCarthy; Jeanne Boyle Robert Krueger
1999 7,367 Linda Koester Thomas Franke; Carl Oblinger; Michael Williamsen; Jill M. Reynolds; Thomas S. Gray; Patrick M. McCarthy; Jeanne Boyle Robert Krueger Jill M. Reynolds elected to 2 yr term
1998 7,367 Linda Koester Thomas Franke; Carl Oblinger; Michael Williamsen; Julie Baliva; Thomas Gray; Rose Miller Robert Krueger
1997 7,367 Linda Koester Thomas Franke; Carl Oblinger; Michael Williamsen; Julie Baliva; Thomas Gray; Rose Miller Robert Krueger
1996 6,074 Linda Koester Mike Williamsen; Dave Joswiak; Tom McGuire; Rose Miller; Julie Baliva; Robert Krueger Penny Moomey
1995 6,074 Linda Koester Mike Williamsen; Dave Joswiak; Tom McGuire; Robert Krueger; Julie Baliva, Rose Miller Penny Moomey
1994 6,074 Linda Koester Mike Williamsen; Dave Joswiak; Tom McGuire;  Rose Miller; Robert Krueger; David Hilt Penny Moomey
1993 6,074 Linda Koester Mike Williamsen; Dave Joswiak; Tom McGuire; Rose Miller; Robert Krueger; David Hilt Penny Moomey
1992 6,074 Carl D Oblinger Linda McCord Koester, Michael Williamsen; Tim Claborn; Dave Joswiak; Rose Miller; Robert Krueger; David Hilt Pat Schad
1991 6,074 Carl D Oblinger Linda McCord Koester, Michael Williamsen; Tim Claborn; Dave Joswiak; Rose Miller; Robert Krueger; David Hilt Pat Schad Joswiak was elected for 2 year term
1990 5,597 Carl D Oblinger Linda McCord Koester, Michael Williamsen; Tim Claborn; Ed Osman; Terry Loving; Terry Burke Rose Miller
1989 5,597 Carl D Oblinger Linda McCord Koester, Michael Williamsen; Tim Claborn; Ed Osman; Terry Loving; Terry Burke Rose Miller Terry Burke appointed due to Carl D Oblinger becoming Village President
1988 5,597 Don Moore Bert Cordier; George Lindsay; Howard Miller; Ed Osman; Terry Loving; Carl Oblinger Barbara J. Bickhaus
1987 5,597 Don Moore Bert Cordier; George Lindsay; Howard Miller; Ed Osman; Terry Loving; Carl Oblinger Barbara J. Bickhaus
1986 5,597 Don Moore Bert Cordier; George Lindsay; Howard Miller; Terry Loving; Ed Osman; Stephen Powell Barbara J. Bickhaus
1985 5,597 Don Moore Bert Cordier; George Lindsay; Howard Miller; Terry Loving; Ed Osman; Stephen Powell Barbara J. Bickhaus
1984 5,597 John F. Whitney Jr. Clifford Kevern; Helen Spence; Donald Moore; Terry Loving; Ed Osman; Stephen Powell Donna Hedinger
1983 5,597 John F. Whitney Jr. Clifford Kevern; Helen Spence; Donald Moore; Terry Loving; Ed Osman; Stephen Powell Donna Hedinger
1982 5,597 John F. Whitney Jr. Clifford Kevern; Helen Spence; Donald Moore; Ken Castles; Cliff Hill; John Brown Donna Hedinger
1981 5,597 John F. Whitney Jr. Clifford Kevern; Helen Spence; Donald Moore; Ken Castles; Cliff Hill; John Brown Donna Hedinger
1980 46,35 John F. Whitney Jr. John J. Cioni, Jr; Troy R. McNutt; Clifford N. Nevern;  Carol Stephens
1979 4,635 John F. Whitney Jr. John J. Cioni, Jr; Troy R. McNutt; Clifford N. Nevern;  Carol Stephens Spence elected for a 2 year term; Stephens elected to a 2 year term
1978 4,635 John F. Whitney John J. Cioni, Jr; Clifton Hill; Clifford N. Nevern; John C. Wiesenmeyer; James F. Eberwine; John D. Brown Helen Spence
1977 4,635 John F. Whitney John J. Cioni, Jr; Troy R. McNutt; Clifford N. Nevern; John C. Wiesenmeyer; James F. Eberwine; John D. Brown; Clifton Hill Janet Greenwood/Kathy Oglesby/Helen Spence John C. Wiesenmeyer; James F. Eberwine; John D. Brown all elected to a 2 year term; Troy McNutt left vacancy replaced by Clifton Hill to serve til May 1981.
1976 3,252 J. LaVern Workman Robert Wilson Jr.; Troy McNutt; Gene Scott; Harold "Hoot" Gibson; Robert Thompson; Robert Williams Janet Greenwood
1975 3,252 J. LaVern Workman Robert Wilson Jr.; Troy McNutt; Gene Scott; Harold "Hoot" Gibson; Robert Thompson; Robert Williams James Chasteen J. LaVern Workman elected to a two year term with Purcell resigned
1974 3,252 Jerry Purcell Robert Wilson Jr.; Troy McNutt; Gene Scott James Chasteen
1973 3,252 Jerry Purcell Robert Wilson Jr.; Troy McNutt; Gene Scott James Chasteen
1972 2,788 Robert K Foster Geraldine Branham
1971 2,788 Robert K Foster Geraldine Branham
1970 2,023 Robert K Foster Geraldine Branham
1969 2,023 Robert K Foster Geraldine Branham
1968 2,023 Leo Germann John P. Wilm; James McKay; John Gibson; Wendell Syson; Robert Medd; James Chasteen Rosalind Hatten
1967 2,023 Leo Germann John P. Wilm; James McKay; John Gibson; Wendell Syson; Robert Medd; James Chasteen Rosalind Hatten
1966 2,023 Leo Germann John P. Wilm; James McKay; John Gibson; Wendell Syson; Robert Medd; James Chasteen Rosalind Hatten
1965 2,023 Leo Germann John P. Wilm; James McKay; John Gibson; Wendell Syson; Robert Medd; James Chasteen Rosalind Hatten
1964 1,069 Ralph Butler Rosalind Hatten
1963 1,069 Ralph Butler Rosalind Hatten
1962 1,069 Ralph Butler Rosalind Ray
1961 1,069 Ralph Butler Rosalind Ray
1960 905 Ralph Butler Rosalind Ray
1959 905 Ralph Butler Rosalind Ray
1958 905 Ralph Butler Rosalind Ray
1957 905 Ralph Butler Rosalind Ray
1956 905 Ralph Butler Opal Lee
1955 905 Ralph Butler Opal Lee
1954 905 Ralph Butler Florence Bush
1953 905 Ralph Butler Florence Bush
1952 905 W E Jordon Florence Bush
1951 905 W E Jordon Florence Bush
1950 867 W E Jordon Florence Bush
1949 867 W E Jordon Florence Bush
1948 867 W E Jordon Florence Bush
1947 867 W E Jordon Florence Bush
1946 867 W E Jordon Florence Bush
1945 867 W E Jordon Florence Bush
1944 867 C Wesley Allen William Skaggs
1943 867 C Wesley Allen William Skaggs
1942 867 C Wesley Allen William Skaggs
1941 867 C Wesley Allen William Skaggs
1940 883 S H Williams William Skaggs
1939 883 S H Williams William Skaggs
1938 883 S H Williams William Skaggs
1937 883 S H Williams William Skaggs
1936 883 Otis Byers John W Steele
1935 883 Otis Byers John W Steele
1934 883 William Jordon Charles Bridgewater
1933 883 William Jordon Charles Bridgewater
1932 883 William Jordon William P Gorey
1931 883 William Jordon William P Gorey
1930 848 William Jordon William P Gorey
1929 848 William Jordon William P Gorey
1928 848 William Jordon William Bell
1927 848 William Jordon William Bell
1926 848 William Jordon D J Morrison
1925 848 William Jordon D J Morrison
1924 603 William Jordon R Stack
1923 603 William Jordon R Stack
1922
1921
1920
1919 Charles Moore J.W. Miller; Elmer Fry; George McGuire; John Diennan; Louis Jaggers; Russel Jordan
1918
1917 Charles Moore Louis Clevenger; John Drennan; William Campbell G.J. Morrison April 18, 1917 Illinois State Register
1916
1915 Charles Moore Edward Chorn; A. William Campbell; E. D. Fry April 21, 1915 ISR
1914
1913 Charles Moore William Jordon; Joseph Even, J. William Campbell April 16, 1913 ISR
1912 B. C. Aldrich; Harry Keller; Russell Jordan E. R. Thayer
1911 Charles Moore A. Austin; J. Will Campbell; Joe Bezoy April 19, 1911 ISR
1910
1909 Charles Moore Kincaid; Austin; Aldrich E. R. Thayer April 23, 1909 ISR
1908 E.P. Chorn; J. L. Lemon; Frank P. Smith N.A. Nichols
1907 Charles Moore George Bell; Ben Albrecht; Fritz Jeffries April 19, 1907 ISR
1906
1905 Frank Hersham C.E. Lewis; J. Bruce; Robert Jones Fred Saline April 19, 1905 ISR
1904
1903 Frank Hersham Thomas Shields; Jacob Jordan; P. H. Mohon Charles C. Hagan April 24, 1903 ISR
1902 Daniel Keller Benjamin Aldrich; Charles Moore; John Hebrick Thomas McGuire April 16, 1902 ISR
1901 Frank Hershman John Degnan; John Swobe; John Sallade Thomas McGuire April 18, 1901 ISR
1900 Charles Moore Thomas McGuire April 18, 1900 ISR
1899 Charles Moore William Jeffries; B. C. Aldrich; J.W. McCully; Robert Cloyd; J. W. Lord; M. Evoy Thomas McGuire April 19, 1899 ISR
1898 Charles Moore Robert Cloyd; J. W. Lord; M. Evoy April 20, 1898
1897 J. G. Knotts Benjamin Aldrich; Benjamin Keller; James Doran Thomas McGuire
1896
1895
1894 J. T. Lewis James McKnight; C. E. Lewis; B.C. Aldrich J. W. Allen April 19, 1894
1893
1892 John Lewis Charles Moore; C. E. Lewis; E. B. Smith N.A. Nichols

Friends of Genealogy

Friends of GenealogyHeld quarterly on Saturday at 2 pm
at the Chatham Area Public Library 

Our Mission

Our mission is to provide both experienced as well as new family historians opportunities to learn procedures and share experiences in the wide field of genealogy.

Our Meetings Include

  • Traditional genealogy techniques such as court house, library and family records
  • New techniques such as DNA genealogy
  • Genealogy software - comparisons, costs, uses and new developments
  • Internet research - including using Ancestry.com and FamilySearch.org
  • Genealogical societies and training opportunities they provide
  • And so much more!

If you have any questions, please contact Alanna Sablotny, Local History/Genealogy Librarian at [email protected].

Who is 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.