Genealogy & Local History

The Charleston Carnegie Public Library has a room devoted to the historical/genealogical collection.  This collection concentrates on local history materials of Coles County and surrounding counties: Edgar, Clark, Cumberland, Shelby, Moultrie, and Douglas.  

The Genealogy Room is open the same hours as the Library. The following services are fee-based:

  • Black & White Copies - $0.10 per page
  • Color Copies - $0.50 per page
  • Mailed obituaries - $5.00 per obituary
  • Other mailed research - $15.00 per hour

Using the Collection:

  • Coles County history is located on the South wall (with the exception of yearbooks & city directories)
  • Call Numbers with:
  • 929.1 include how to items
  • 929.2 include family histories
  • 977 include books about counties surrounding Coles County
  • Cemetaries in Coles County are organized by township, volume 4 is not indexed (to locate graves, you can contact the cemetary or walk the cemetary)
  • Recommended genealogy websites to supplement your search. Please ask the staff at the information desk on the 4th Level of the library to use the computers.

The Genealogy Collection Includes (list may not be complete):

  • Abraham Lincoln, over 130 books, many quarterlies and vertical files. 
  • City Directories: 
    • Charleston, 1898-99, 1902-03, 1900-09, 1912, 1916, 1918, 1924-1925, 1928, 1932, 1937, 1942, 1947, 1952, 1952 supplement, 1957, 1965, 1969-1997. 
    • Charleston and Mattoon, 1878-79, 1998-2006. 
    • Mattoon, 1904, 1939, 1959, 1960, 1962, 1963, 1966-1975, 1977-1997. 
  • Coles County cemetery records, Prairie Sleeps, four volumes, separate index. 
  • Coles County Civil War Military Records, indexed. 
  • County Directories, 1895-96, 1918.   
  • Coles County Federal Census, 1850, 1860, 1870. 
  • Coles County History Books: 
    • Coles County History Book, 1879, separate index. 
    • Portraits and Biographical Album of Coles, 1887, indexed. 
    • History of Coles County, 1905. 
    • Historical Encyclopedia of Illinois and Coles County History, 1906. 
    • Coles County History , 1876-1976, separate index.  
    • Coles County marriage records, 1835 to 1900. 
    • Coles County Plat Book, maps showing original owners, 1869, 1893, 1913. 
    • Coles County Plat Books, misc. years to 2007. 
    • Family Histories. (Over 62 feet of family history books and 36 drawers of family files.) 
    • Illinois mortality schedules, 1850, 1860, 1870, 1880. 
    • Illinois State Census, 1810, 1818, 1820. 
  • Microfilms: 
    • Coles County birth records from 1878 to1915 and death records from 1898 to 1913, in   addition to delayed birth records and coroner's records. 
    • Coles County marriage indexes, 1830-1929. 
    • Coles County naturalization records, 1830-1896. 
    • Coles County will records, 1830-1925. 
    • Federal Census, Coles County, 1840, 1850, 1860, 1870, 1880, 1900, 1910, 1920 and 1930. 
    • Illinois State Census, all Counties, 1850, 1860 and 1870. 
    • Mattoon city directories, 1902-1927. 
    • Samuel Stephen Sargent's Coles County genealogical materials. 15 reels.  
  • Microfiche: 
    • International Genealogical Index, 1988 edition. (The I.G.I. lists mainly birth and marriage records for the United States.) 
  • Newspapers: Please note that when conclusive newspaper dates are given that some issues may be missing. 
    • Casey Commercial, 27 May 1910; 10-17 June 1910; 2 Dec. 1910. 
    • Charleston Courier, few dates, 10 Jul. 1841 to 6 Apr. 1893 ; 1 Jan. 1895 to 22 Oct. 1920 ; Sept. 1937- 31 Mar. 1938 ; 2 May 1960 to 31 Mar. 1969. 
    • Charleston Courier News, 2 May 1960 to 31 Mar. 1969. 
    • Charleston Daily Courier, 7 Oct. 1899 to 19 Apr. 1920; 14 Jan. 1944; 4 Apr. 1949. 
    • Charleston News, 25 Apr. 1903; 20 Dec. 1904; 26, 28 Mar. 1908; 3, 8, 20, 25 Apr. 1908; 4, 5 Jan. 1909; 10, 11, 13 Mar. 1909; 3 May 1909. 
    • Charleston Plaindealer, few dates, 26 May 1864 to 26 Jul. 1889; 25 Mar. 1908; 6 Jul. 1909; 27 May 1910; 2-6, 9 June 1910; 14 ,16, 19, 27, 30 Jul. 1910; 4-6, 10, 11, 13-15 Aug. 1910; 2-7 Dec. 1910; 4,6,16,30 Jan. 1911. 
    • Charleston Plaindealer-Herald, 20 Jul. 1903; 11 Mar. 1904. 
    • Charleston Times-Courier, 1 Apr. 1969 to 24 September 2011.  
    • Charleston Tribune, 4 Mar. 1915 to 31 May 1915. 
    • Charleston Weeklv News, few dates 25 Nov. 1899 to 12 May 1900; 2 Sep. 1905 to 2 Jun. 1906; 9 Jun. 1906 to 26 Mar. 1910; 2 Apr. 1910 to 28 May 1915. 
    • Coles County Ledger, (Oakland, IL.), 23 May 1861; 15 May 1862; 14 May 1863; 12 Sep. 1916 to 20 Dec. 1946. 
    • Danville Enquirer, 4 Nov. 1837. (Charleston Post Office, list of unclaimed letters.) 
    • Democrat, (Toledo, IL.), 18 Feb. 1891 to 14 Sep. 1911. 
    • Illinois Globe, (Charleston), few dates, 5 Sep. 1846 to 26 Jul. 1851. 
    • Journal, (Kansas, IL.), 5 Jan. 1893 to 22 Dec. 1977.  (1973 missing.) 
    • Lerna Eagle, 8 Mar. 1918 to 28 Jan. 1943. 
    • Marshall Herald, 25 May 1910; 8 June 1910; 3 Aug. 1910; 7 Dec. 1910. 
    • Marshall Messinger, 6 June 1888. 
    • Mattoon Commercial, 4 Jan. 1883 to 29 Nov. 1883. 
    • Mattoon Gazette, 31 May 1860 to 20 July 1964; 16 Jul. 1875 to 27 Dec. 1901. 
    • Mattoon Journal, 4 Jan. 1902 to 31 Dec. 1904. 
    • Mattoon Journal-Gazette, 4 Jan. 1905 to 30 June 1969; 1 May 2000 to 30 Jun. 2000; Jan. 2, 2009 to 28 February 2009;1 January 2012 to 30 April 2012. 
    • Mattoon Morning Star, 21 Oct. 1904 to 31 Dec. 1907.  (July, Aug or Sept. 1907 missing.)
    • Oakland Daily Messenger, 17 Sep. 1900 to 10 Nov. 1900. 
    • Oakland Herald, 6 Apr. 1877; 4 May 1877. 
    • Oakland Messenger, 1 May 1896 to 12 Jul. 1951. 
    • Reporter, Charleston), 4 Apr. 1845; 21 Mar. 1846. 
    • Republican, (Charleston), few dates 21 Feb. 1845 to 16 Sep. 1847. 
    • Toledo Democrat, 18 February 1891 to 29 December 1904. 
    • Westfield Review, 29 Dec. 1910; 4 June 1931; 25 Aug. 1932. 
    • Obituaries (local newspaper) 1973-1974, 1977 to present date, indexed.