Illinois Archives: 357 Newspapers for Genealogy Research

Today Illinois celebrates the 196th anniversary of its statehood—the “Prairie State” was admitted into the Union on 3 December 1818 as the 21st state. Featuring Chicago, the nation’s third largest city, Illinois is the 5th most populous state in the country.

photo of downtown Chicago, Illinois

Photo: downtown Chicago, Illinois. Credit: Adrian104; Wikimedia Commons.

If you are researching your family roots in Illinois, you will want to use GenealogyBank’s online Illinois newspaper archives: 357 titles to help you search your family history in the “Land of Lincoln,” providing coverage from 1818 to Today. There are more than 123 million newspaper articles and records in our online IL archives!

Dig deep into the online archives and search for obituaries and other news articles about your Illini ancestors in these recent and historical IL newspapers online. Our Illinois newspapers are divided into two collections: Historical Newspapers (complete paper) and Recent Obituaries (obituaries only).

Search Illinois Newspaper Archives (1818 – 2010)

Search Illinois Recent Obituaries (1985 – Current)

Here is our complete list of online Illinois newspapers in the archives. Each newspaper title in this list is an active link that will take you directly to that paper’s search page, where you can begin searching for your ancestors by surnames, dates, keywords and more. The IL newspaper titles are listed alphabetically by city.

City Title Date Range* Collection
Abingdon, Avon, St. Augustine Argus-Sentinel 4/14/2011 – Current Recent Obituaries
Addison Addison Press 2/15/2007 – Current Recent Obituaries
Aledo Times Record 3/5/2009 – Current Recent Obituaries
Algonquin Algonquin Countryside with News of Lake in the Hills 11/23/2006 – 11/20/2008 Recent Obituaries
Algonquin Algonquin Countryside 1/9/1997 – 11/15/2006 Recent Obituaries
Alton Telegraph 1/1/2010 – Current Recent Obituaries
Antioch Antioch Review 5/21/1998 – 4/14/2011 Recent Obituaries
Arlington Heights Arlington Heights Post 1/9/1997 – 3/10/2011 Recent Obituaries
Arlington Heights Arlington Heights Journal 1/12/2011 – Current Recent Obituaries
Arlington Heights Daily Herald 3/7/1995 – Current Recent Obituaries
Augusta Eagle-Scribe 4/14/2011 – Current Recent Obituaries
Aurora Beacon News 1/1/1997 – Current Recent Obituaries
Aurora Beacon News, The: Web Edition Articles 3/28/2012 – Current Recent Obituaries
Barrington Barrington Courier-Review 2/22/1996 – Current Recent Obituaries
Bartlett Bartlett Press 2/15/2007 – Current Recent Obituaries
Bartlett Bartlett Examiner 8/10/2011 – 8/14/2013 Recent Obituaries
Batavia Sun, The: Batavia 9/4/2002 – 5/5/2010 Recent Obituaries
Batavia Batavia Republican 2/15/2007 – Current Recent Obituaries
Belleville Belleville News Democrat 1/2/1901 – 12/30/1922 Newspaper Archives
Belleville Belleviller Post und Zeitung 1/11/1899 – 1/11/1899 Newspaper Archives
Belleville St. Clair County Journal 11/24/2004 – 8/31/2011 Recent Obituaries
Belleville Belleville News-Democrat 10/17/2000 – Current Recent Obituaries
Belleville Belleville News-Democrat: Blogs 5/22/2009 – Current Recent Obituaries
Belleville Belleville Journal 10/20/2004 – 8/28/2005 Recent Obituaries
Bensenville Bensenville Press 3/14/2007 – Current Recent Obituaries
Benton Benton Evening News 2/18/2001 – Current Recent Obituaries
Berkeley Berkeley Suburban Life 4/14/2007 – Current Recent Obituaries
Berwyn Berwyn Life 1/22/2008 – Current Recent Obituaries
Bloomingdale Bloomingdale Press 1/22/2008 – Current Recent Obituaries
Bloomington Pantagraph 10/1/1989 – Current Recent Obituaries
Bolingbrook Sun, The: Bolingbrook 9/6/2002 – 3/19/2010 Recent Obituaries
Bolingbrook Reporter 2/23/2007 – Current Recent Obituaries
Braidwood Braidwood Journal 2/1/2007 – Current Recent Obituaries
Broadview Broadview Suburban Life 3/6/2007 – Current Recent Obituaries
Brookfield Brookfield Suburban Life 2/23/2007 – Current Recent Obituaries
Buffalo Grove Buffalo Grove Countryside 1/2/1997 – Current Recent Obituaries
Buffalo Grove Buffalo Grove Journal 12/30/2010 – Current Recent Obituaries
Burr Ridge Burr Ridge Suburban Life 2/20/2007 – Current Recent Obituaries
Burr Ridge, Darien, Willowbrook Doings 4/28/2005 – Current Recent Obituaries
Cambridge Cambridge Chronicle 1/1/2010 – Current Recent Obituaries
Campton Hills Campton Hills Examiner 2/1/2012 – 7/10/2013 Recent Obituaries
Canton Daily Ledger 10/5/2009 – Current Recent Obituaries
Carbondale Southern Illinoisan 6/10/1993 – Current Recent Obituaries
Carmi Carmi Times 10/22/2009 – Current Recent Obituaries
Carol Stream Carol Stream Press 1/22/2008 – Current Recent Obituaries
Carol Stream Carol Stream Examiner 4/6/2011 – 8/14/2013 Recent Obituaries
Carthage Hancock County Journal-Pilot 6/21/2000 – Current Recent Obituaries
Cary Grove Cary Grove Countryside 8/27/1998 – 3/10/2011 Recent Obituaries
Centralia Centralia Sentinel 5/28/1863 – 5/23/1867 Newspaper Archives
Champaign IlliniHQ 3/25/1998 – Current Recent Obituaries
Champaign, Urbana News-Gazette 6/2/1997 – Current Recent Obituaries
Champaign, Urbana News-Gazette, The: Web Edition Articles 2/10/2003 – Current Recent Obituaries
Charleston Times-Courier 4/13/2004 – 9/24/2011 Recent Obituaries
Chester Randolph County Herald Tribune 4/30/2009 – 10/27/2011 Recent Obituaries
Chicago Daily Inter Ocean 2/15/1874 – 12/31/1896 Newspaper Archives
Chicago Hyde Park Herald 4/29/1882 – 6/23/2010 Newspaper Archives
Chicago Chicago Herald 1/1/1890 – 12/31/1891 Newspaper Archives
Chicago Broad Ax 6/29/1899 – 9/10/1927 Newspaper Archives
Chicago Chicago Metro News 1/20/1973 – 10/6/1990 Newspaper Archives
Chicago Sunday Times 10/10/1869 – 12/31/1876 Newspaper Archives
Chicago Pomeroy’s Democrat 1/1/1876 – 2/15/1879 Newspaper Archives
Chicago Lucifer, the Light-Bearer 5/8/1896 – 3/4/1903 Newspaper Archives
Chicago Chicago Times 11/2/1854 – 7/3/1888 Newspaper Archives
Chicago Inter Ocean 6/5/1879 – 4/21/1891 Newspaper Archives
Chicago Vida Latina 2/21/1952 – 7/21/1963 Newspaper Archives
Chicago Bulletin 9/11/1968 – 12/3/1969 Newspaper Archives
Chicago Vorbote 2/28/1874 – 12/23/1876 Newspaper Archives
Chicago Metropolitan Post 9/10/1938 – 6/3/1939 Newspaper Archives
Chicago Noticia Mundial 8/7/1927 – 2/12/1928 Newspaper Archives
Chicago Bags and Baggage 8/1/1937 – 4/1/1943 Newspaper Archives
Chicago Chicago Daily Times 1/16/1855 – 5/2/1856 Newspaper Archives
Chicago Chicago World 1/27/1900 – 6/15/1935 Newspaper Archives
Chicago Liberator 9/3/1905 – 4/15/1906 Newspaper Archives
Chicago Spokesman 1/7/1933 – 3/18/1933 Newspaper Archives
Chicago Chicago Courier 10/22/1932 – 11/15/1975 Newspaper Archives
Chicago Second Ward News 12/14/1935 – 4/2/1938 Newspaper Archives
Chicago Illinois Staats-Zeitung 4/21/1898 – 4/21/1898 Newspaper Archives
Chicago Conservator 11/18/1882 – 12/18/1886 Newspaper Archives
Chicago Chicagoer Freie Presse 2/6/1872 – 7/2/1896 Newspaper Archives
Chicago Black X-Press 6/30/1973 – 6/30/1973 Newspaper Archives
Chicago Chicago Post 10/9/1871 – 10/9/1871 Newspaper Archives
Chicago Reminder 1/2/1938 – 1/2/1938 Newspaper Archives
Chicago D. A. Burgerzeitung 12/30/1921 – 12/30/1921 Newspaper Archives
Chicago Illinois Sentinel 11/20/1937 – 11/20/1937 Newspaper Archives
Chicago Sol de Chicago 3/21/1960 – 3/21/1960 Newspaper Archives
Chicago Central South Sider 7/6/1929 – 7/6/1929 Newspaper Archives
Chicago Olivet Baptist Church Herald 11/29/1936 – 11/29/1936 Newspaper Archives
Chicago Chicago Sun-Times: Blogs 2/20/2008 – Current Recent Obituaries
Chicago Chicago Defender 4/9/2008 – Current Recent Obituaries
Chicago Chicago Journal 9/30/2009 – Current Recent Obituaries
Chicago Extra 3/25/2011 – Current Recent Obituaries
Chicago Chicago Sun-Times: Web Edition Articles 3/26/2012 – Current Recent Obituaries
Chicago Chicago Tribune RedEye Edition 10/30/2002 – Current Recent Obituaries
Chicago Hyde Park Herald 1/6/2010 – Current Recent Obituaries
Chicago Chicago Crusader 11/26/2011 – Current Recent Obituaries
Chicago Skyline 12/8/2005 – 12/6/2007 Recent Obituaries
Chicago Daily Southtown 7/31/2004 – 11/17/2007 Recent Obituaries
Chicago Chicago Tribune 1/1/1985 – Current Recent Obituaries
Chicago Chicago Sun-Times 1/1/1986 – Current Recent Obituaries
Chicago Chicago Citizen 11/5/2008 – Current Recent Obituaries
Chillicothe Chillicothe Times-Bulletin 11/3/2009 – Current Recent Obituaries
Cicero Cicero Life 2/13/2007 – Current Recent Obituaries
Clarendon Hills Doings 4/28/2005 – Current Recent Obituaries
Clarendon Hills Clarendon Hills Suburban Life 3/13/2007 – Current Recent Obituaries
Coal City Coal City Courant 2/1/2007 – Current Recent Obituaries
Collinsville Collinsville Herald 10/20/2004 – Current Recent Obituaries
Columbia Clarion Journal 10/20/2004 – 8/31/2011 Recent Obituaries
Cook County Booster 12/3/2007 – 1/9/2008 Recent Obituaries
Crystal Lake Northwest Herald 1/1/2005 – Current Recent Obituaries
Danville Commercial-News 11/6/2007 – Current Recent Obituaries
Darien Darien Suburban Life 1/22/2008 – Current Recent Obituaries
DeKalb Daily Chronicle 8/16/2000 – Current Recent Obituaries
Decatur Herald & Review 3/19/1990 – Current Recent Obituaries
Deerfield Deerfield Review 1/9/1997 – Current Recent Obituaries
Des Plaines Edgebrook Times Review 1/16/1997 – 1/24/2008 Recent Obituaries
Des Plaines Des Plaines Times 12/12/1996 – 12/24/2008 Recent Obituaries
Des Plaines Mount Prospect Journal 1/12/2011 – Current Recent Obituaries
Des Plaines Des Plaines Journal 12/28/2010 – Current Recent Obituaries
Des Plaines Rosemont Journal 12/31/2010 – Current Recent Obituaries
Dixon Sauk Valley Newspapers 10/13/2009 – Current Recent Obituaries
Downers Grove Sun 9/5/2002 – 2/4/2010 Recent Obituaries
Downers Grove Downers Grove Reporter 1/22/2008 – Current Recent Obituaries
Du Quoin Du Quoin Evening Call 10/5/2009 – Current Recent Obituaries
Dupo Cahokia-Dupo Journal 10/20/2004 – 8/31/2005 Recent Obituaries
East Dubuque East Dubuque Register 1/24/2003 – 7/1/2011 Recent Obituaries
East Moline Common Bond 12/12/1974 – 11/16/1978 Newspaper Archives
East St. Louis East St. Louis Journal 10/20/2004 – 8/17/2005 Recent Obituaries
Edgewater News-Star 11/16/2005 – 1/9/2008 Recent Obituaries
Edwardsville Edwardsville Spectator 5/29/1819 – 10/20/1826 Newspaper Archives
Edwardsville Edwardsville Journal 10/20/2004 – 10/8/2008 Recent Obituaries
Edwardsville Edwardsville Intelligencer 7/4/2000 – Current Recent Obituaries
Effingham Effingham Daily News 9/19/2005 – Current Recent Obituaries
Elburn Elburn Herald 10/9/2008 – Current Recent Obituaries
Elgin Courier News 7/4/1998 – Current Recent Obituaries
Elgin Courier News: Web Edition Articles 3/27/2012 – Current Recent Obituaries
Elk Grove Elk Grove Times 3/19/1998 – 1/15/2009 Recent Obituaries
Elk Grove Village Elk Grove Journal 1/12/2011 – Current Recent Obituaries
Elmhurst Doings 4/28/2005 – 4/14/2011 Recent Obituaries
Elmhurst Elmhurst Press 1/22/2008 – Current Recent Obituaries
Elmwood Park Elm Leaves 1/1/1997 – Current Recent Obituaries
Evanston Daily Northwestern 9/23/1910 – 12/4/2000 Newspaper Archives
Evanston Northwestern 1/28/1881 – 5/20/1910 Newspaper Archives
Evanston Tripod 1/1/1871 – 12/17/1880 Newspaper Archives
Evanston Vidette 1/15/1878 – 12/9/1880 Newspaper Archives
Evanston Evanston Review 1/9/1997 – Current Recent Obituaries
Evanston Evanston Now 3/10/2008 – Current Recent Obituaries
Flora Clay County Advocate-Press 8/5/2008 – Current Recent Obituaries
Forest View Forest View Life 2/20/2007 – Current Recent Obituaries
Franklin Park Franklin Park Herald-Journal 1/1/1997 – 11/8/2006 Recent Obituaries
Franklin Park Franklin Park Herald-Journal with News of North Lake 11/15/2006 – Current Recent Obituaries
Freeport Deutscher Anzeiger 9/16/1903 – 8/31/1904 Newspaper Archives
Freeport Journal-Standard 12/14/2002 – Current Recent Obituaries
Galesburg Paper 1/26/2011 – Current Recent Obituaries
Galesburg Register-Mail 1/5/1999 – Current Recent Obituaries
Galva Galva News 12/30/2009 – Current Recent Obituaries
Geneseo Geneseo Republic 12/17/2009 – Current Recent Obituaries
Geneva Geneva Republican 2/20/2007 – Current Recent Obituaries
Geneva Kane County Chronicle 12/10/2005 – Current Recent Obituaries
Geneva Sun, The: Geneva-Elburn 10/9/2002 – 12/29/2004 Recent Obituaries
Glen Ellyn Glen Ellyn News 2/13/2007 – Current Recent Obituaries
Glen Ellyn Sun, The: Glen Ellyn 12/24/2004 – 5/7/2010 Recent Obituaries
Glencoe Glencoe News 1/9/1997 – Current Recent Obituaries
Glendale Heights Glendale Heights Press 2/15/2007 – Current Recent Obituaries
Glenview Glenview Announcements 1/9/1997 – Current Recent Obituaries
Glenview Glenview Journal 1/12/2011 – Current Recent Obituaries
Granite City Granite City Press-Record 10/20/2004 – Current Recent Obituaries
Grayslake Grayslake Review 2/13/1997 – 4/14/2011 Recent Obituaries
Grayslake Lake County Suburban Life 11/1/2008 – Current Recent Obituaries
Gurnee Gurnee Review 2/13/1997 – 4/14/2011 Recent Obituaries
Hanover Park Hanover Park Press 2/15/2007 – Current Recent Obituaries
Hanover Park Hanover Park Examiner 8/3/2011 – 8/14/2013 Recent Obituaries
Harlem, Irving Times 11/4/2004 – 1/24/2008 Recent Obituaries
Harrisburg Harrisburg Daily Register 11/4/1996 – Current Recent Obituaries
Harvard Harvard Main Line 1/7/2011 – Current Recent Obituaries
Harwood Heights Norridge News 1/9/1997 – Current Recent Obituaries
Herrin Spokesman 2/24/2011 – 6/30/2011 Recent Obituaries
Highland Highland Union 1/4/1867 – 9/9/1910 Newspaper Archives
Highland Highland News Leader 4/3/2014 – Current Recent Obituaries
Highland Park Highland Park News 1/9/1997 – Current Recent Obituaries
Hillside West Proviso Herald 1/1/1997 – 11/8/2006 Recent Obituaries
Hillside Proviso Herald 11/15/2006 – 3/10/2011 Recent Obituaries
Hillside Hillside Suburban Life 2/26/2007 – Current Recent Obituaries
Hinsdale Doings 4/28/2005 – Current Recent Obituaries
Hinsdale Hinsdale Suburban Life 1/22/2008 – Current Recent Obituaries
Hodgkins Hodgkins Suburban Life 4/12/2007 – Current Recent Obituaries
Hoffman Estates Hoffman Estates Review 1/1/1998 – 12/25/2008 Recent Obituaries
Homer, Lemont, Lockport Sun, The: Homer Township – Lockport – Lemont 9/4/2002 – 4/28/2010 Recent Obituaries
Huntley Farmside 3/23/2007 – Current Recent Obituaries
Indian Head Park Indian Head Park Suburban Life 2/23/2007 – Current Recent Obituaries
Itasca Itasca Press 1/22/2008 – Current Recent Obituaries
Jacksonville Jacksonville Journal-Courier 4/17/2008 – Current Recent Obituaries
Jefferson Park, Portage Park, Belmont Cragin Times 11/4/2004 – 1/24/2008 Recent Obituaries
Joliet Herald News 1/2/1997 – Current Recent Obituaries
Kaskaskia Illinois Intelligencer 1/27/1819 – 10/14/1820 Newspaper Archives
Kewanee Star-Courier 10/16/2009 – Current Recent Obituaries
La Grange Park La Grange Park Suburban Life 1/22/2008 – Current Recent Obituaries
La Grange, La Grange Park, La Grange Highlands Doings 4/28/2005 – Current Recent Obituaries
La Salle NewsTribune 9/24/1997 – Current Recent Obituaries
Lake Forest Lake Forester 1/16/1997 – Current Recent Obituaries
Lake View, North Center, Roscoe Village, Avondale Booster 12/21/2005 – 11/7/2007 Recent Obituaries
Lake Villa Lake Villa Review 2/13/1997 – 4/14/2011 Recent Obituaries
Lake Zurich Lake Zurich Courier 1/16/1997 – Current Recent Obituaries
Lake in the Hills Lake in the Hills Countryside 7/10/2003 – 11/9/2006 Recent Obituaries
Lemont Lemont Reporter Metropolitan 1/22/2008 – Current Recent Obituaries
Libertyville Libertyville Review 1/9/1997 – Current Recent Obituaries
Lincoln Courier 1/29/2000 – Current Recent Obituaries
Lincolnshire Lincolnshire Review 6/29/2000 – Current Recent Obituaries
Lincolnwood Lincolnwood Review 1/16/1997 – Current Recent Obituaries
Lisle Sun, The: Lisle 9/13/2002 – 5/7/2010 Recent Obituaries
Lisle Lisle Reporter 1/22/2008 – Current Recent Obituaries
Lombard Lombard Spectator 1/22/2008 – Current Recent Obituaries
Lyons Lyons Suburban Life 2/20/2007 – Current Recent Obituaries
Macomb Macomb Journal 2/4/2000 – 10/3/2009 Recent Obituaries
Macomb McDonough County Voice 10/9/2009 – Current Recent Obituaries
Marion Marion Daily Republican 10/5/2009 – Current Recent Obituaries
Mattoon Journal Gazette 4/13/2004 – 9/24/2011 Recent Obituaries
Mattoon, Charleston JG-TC 9/26/2011 – Current Recent Obituaries
Maywood Maywood Herald 1/1/1997 – 11/8/2006 Recent Obituaries
McCook McCook Suburban Life 4/5/2007 – Current Recent Obituaries
McLeansboro Times-Leader 1/21/2006 – Current Recent Obituaries
Melrose Park Melrose Park Herald 1/1/1997 – 11/8/2006 Recent Obituaries
Metamora, Eureka Woodford Times 6/29/2010 – Current Recent Obituaries
Millstadt, Smithton Millstadt-Smithton Enterprise 10/24/2004 – 3/26/2008 Recent Obituaries
Monmouth Daily Review Atlas 10/5/2009 – Current Recent Obituaries
Morris Morris Daily Herald 3/8/2006 – Current Recent Obituaries
Morton Morton Times-News 12/17/2009 – Current Recent Obituaries
Morton Grove Morton Grove Champion 1/9/1997 – Current Recent Obituaries
Mount Carmel Daily Republican Register 10/12/1999 – Current Recent Obituaries
Mount Prospect Mount Prospect Times 1/9/1997 – 12/18/2008 Recent Obituaries
Mount Vernon Register-News 11/13/2007 – Current Recent Obituaries
Mundelein Mundelein Review 1/9/1997 – Current Recent Obituaries
Murphysboro Murphysboro American 3/5/2009 – Current Recent Obituaries
Naperville Naperville Reporter 2/27/2007 – Current Recent Obituaries
Naperville Naperville Sun, The: Web Edition Articles 4/8/2012 – Current Recent Obituaries
Naperville Naperville Sun 1/1/1997 – Current Recent Obituaries
Naperville Sun, The: 60504 Fox Valley 10/21/2002 – 4/7/2005 Recent Obituaries
Nauvoo Nauvoo Expositor 6/7/1844 – 6/7/1844 Newspaper Archives
New Lenox Sun, The: Lincoln-Way 12/4/2002 – 3/17/2004 Recent Obituaries
Newton Newton Press Mentor 7/25/2005 – Current Recent Obituaries
Niles Bugle 8/18/2011 – Current Recent Obituaries
Niles Niles Herald-Spectator 1/9/1997 – Current Recent Obituaries
Niles Niles Journal 1/12/2011 – Current Recent Obituaries
North Riverside North Riverside Suburban Life 1/22/2008 – Current Recent Obituaries
Northbrook Northbrook Star 1/16/1997 – Current Recent Obituaries
Northlake Northlake Herald-Journal 1/1/1997 – 10/18/2006 Recent Obituaries
Northwest Chicago Edison-Norwood Times Review 1/9/1997 – 4/14/2011 Recent Obituaries
O’Fallon O’Fallon Progress 9/26/2008 – Current Recent Obituaries
O’Fallon O’Fallon Journal 10/27/2004 – Current Recent Obituaries
Oak Brook Oak Brook Suburban Life 1/22/2008 – Current Recent Obituaries
Oak Brook Countryside Suburban Life 1/22/2008 – Current Recent Obituaries
Oak Brook, Oakbrook Terrace Doings 4/28/2005 – Current Recent Obituaries
Oak Park Forest Park Review 1/28/2005 – Current Recent Obituaries
Oak Park Oak Leaves 1/1/1997 – Current Recent Obituaries
Oak Park Wednesday Journal of Oak Park & River Forest 12/1/2004 – Current Recent Obituaries
Oak Park Austin Weekly News 2/16/2005 – Current Recent Obituaries
Oakbrook Terrace Oakbrook Terrace Press 1/22/2008 – Current Recent Obituaries
Olney Olney Daily Mail 10/5/2009 – Current Recent Obituaries
Oregon Ogle County Newspapers 12/17/2009 – Current Recent Obituaries
Orion Orion Gazette 12/17/2009 – Current Recent Obituaries
Palatine Palatine Countryside 1/9/1997 – 1/15/2009 Recent Obituaries
Palatine Palatine Journal 12/30/2010 – Current Recent Obituaries
Park Ridge Park Ridge Journal 1/12/2011 – Current Recent Obituaries
Park Ridge Park Ridge Herald-Advocate 1/23/1997 – Current Recent Obituaries
Pekin Pekin Daily Times 10/8/2009 – Current Recent Obituaries
Peoria Journal Star 4/1/1951 – 3/31/1953 Newspaper Archives
Peoria East Peoria Times-Courier 11/25/2009 – Current Recent Obituaries
Peoria Peoria Times-Observer 2/19/2008 – Current Recent Obituaries
Peoria Peoria Journal Star 7/15/1991 – Current Recent Obituaries
Plainfield Sun, The: Plainfield 12/13/2002 – 11/20/2009 Recent Obituaries
Pontiac Daily Leader 3/26/2009 – Current Recent Obituaries
Princeton Bureau County Republican 10/2/2009 – Current Recent Obituaries
Prospect Heights Prospect Heights Journal 1/12/2011 – Current Recent Obituaries
Quincy Quincy Daily Whig 5/3/1868 – 12/30/1876 Newspaper Archives
River Forest Forest Leaves 1/1/1997 – Current Recent Obituaries
River Grove River Grove Messenger 1/1/1997 – 11/21/2007 Recent Obituaries
Riverside Riverside Suburban Life 1/22/2008 – Current Recent Obituaries
Riverside, Brookfield Riverside-Brookfield Landmark 1/24/2005 – Current Recent Obituaries
Rock Island Rock Island News 4/29/2007 – 4/20/2008 Recent Obituaries
Rockford Morning Star 3/20/1888 – 1/1/1979 Newspaper Archives
Rockford Register Star 1/2/1979 – 11/30/2008 Newspaper Archives
Rockford Register-Republic 9/29/1930 – 12/29/1978 Newspaper Archives
Rockford Daily Register-Gazette 1/31/1891 – 9/27/1930 Newspaper Archives
Rockford Republic 6/5/1891 – 7/12/1950 Newspaper Archives
Rockford Daily Register 1/6/1873 – 1/30/1891 Newspaper Archives
Rockford Daily Gazette 8/4/1879 – 1/30/1891 Newspaper Archives
Rockford Rockford Journal 11/18/1871 – 12/30/1882 Newspaper Archives
Rockford Rockford Weekly Gazette 11/22/1866 – 12/28/1887 Newspaper Archives
Rockford Rockford Weekly Register-Gazette 2/15/1855 – 12/26/1879 Newspaper Archives
Rockford Crusader 9/12/1952 – 6/2/1971 Newspaper Archives
Rockford Rockford Register Star 1/1/1999 – Current Recent Obituaries
Rolling Meadows Rolling Meadows Review 1/9/1997 – 12/11/2008 Recent Obituaries
Rolling Meadows Rolling Meadows Journal 10/14/2011 – Current Recent Obituaries
Romeoville Romeoville Reporter 1/22/2008 – Current Recent Obituaries
Roselle Roselle Press 1/22/2008 – Current Recent Obituaries
Roseville Roseville Independent 4/14/2011 – Current Recent Obituaries
Saint Charles Winfield Press 1/22/2008 – Current Recent Obituaries
Sandwich Valley Free Press 6/21/2006 – Current Recent Obituaries
Schaumburg Schaumburg Review 1/16/1997 – 12/11/2008 Recent Obituaries
Shawneetown Illinois Emigrant 7/8/1818 – 9/18/1819 Newspaper Archives
Shawneetown Illinois Gazette 3/2/1822 – 12/11/1830 Newspaper Archives
Shelbyville Daily Union 12/10/2007 – Current Recent Obituaries
Shorewood Shorewood Sentinel 6/13/2011 – Current Recent Obituaries
Skokie Skokie Review 1/16/1997 – Current Recent Obituaries
South Elgin South Elgin Examiner 5/9/2012 – 7/3/2013 Recent Obituaries
Springfield Daily Illinois State Journal 6/16/1848 – 6/30/1950 Newspaper Archives
Springfield Daily Illinois State Register 1/2/1849 – 12/31/1922 Newspaper Archives
Springfield Illinois Weekly State Journal 11/10/1831 – 12/26/1849 Newspaper Archives
Springfield State Capital 3/28/1891 – 12/3/1892 Newspaper Archives
Springfield Illinois State Register 11/13/1840 – 12/27/1844 Newspaper Archives
Springfield Illinois Record 11/6/1897 – 4/22/1899 Newspaper Archives
Springfield Illinois Conservator 6/29/1929 – 6/29/1929 Newspaper Archives
Springfield State Journal-Register 7/3/1985 – Current Recent Obituaries
Springfield Illinois Times 7/24/2003 – Current Recent Obituaries
St. Charles St. Charles Republican 1/22/2008 – Current Recent Obituaries
St. Charles Sun, The: St. Charles-South Elgin 8/20/2003 – 5/20/2009 Recent Obituaries
St. Charles St. Charles Examiner 2/1/2012 – 7/3/2013 Recent Obituaries
Stickney Stickney Life 1/22/2008 – Current Recent Obituaries
Streamwood Streamwood Press 1/22/2008 – Current Recent Obituaries
Streamwood Streamwood Examiner 9/7/2011 – 8/14/2013 Recent Obituaries
Sycamore Midweek 4/3/2006 – Current Recent Obituaries
Taylorville Breeze-Courier 7/3/2000 – Current Recent Obituaries
Teutopolis Teutopolis Press 5/7/2009 – 11/9/2011 Recent Obituaries
Tinley Park SouthtownStar 9/1/2002 – Current Recent Obituaries
Tinley Park SouthtownStar: Web Edition Articles 3/27/2012 – Current Recent Obituaries
Tinley Park STAR 1/1/2004 – 11/11/2007 Recent Obituaries
Vandalia Illinois Intelligencer 12/14/1820 – 3/5/1822 Newspaper Archives
Vandalia Illinois Advocate 1/5/1833 – 8/5/1835 Newspaper Archives
Vandalia Vandalia Leader-Union 1/19/2011 – Current Recent Obituaries
Vernon Hills Vernon Hills Review 1/9/1997 – Current Recent Obituaries
Villa Park Villa Park Argus 1/22/2008 – Current Recent Obituaries
Warrenville Warrenville Press 1/22/2008 – Current Recent Obituaries
Washington Washington Times-Reporter 11/25/2009 – Current Recent Obituaries
Wauconda Wauconda Courier 4/15/2004 – 8/15/2008 Recent Obituaries
Waukegan Lake County News-Sun: Web Edition Articles 3/26/2012 – Current Recent Obituaries
Waukegan Lake County News-Sun 1/1/1997 – Current Recent Obituaries
Wayne Wayne Examiner 8/10/2011 – 8/14/2013 Recent Obituaries
Wayne Wayne Republican 1/22/2008 – Current Recent Obituaries
West Chicago West Chicago Press 1/22/2008 – Current Recent Obituaries
West Frankfort Daily American 2/14/2001 – Current Recent Obituaries
Westchester Westchester Herald 1/1/1997 – 9/13/2006 Recent Obituaries
Westchester Westchester Suburban Life 1/22/2008 – Current Recent Obituaries
Western Springs Western Springs Suburban Life 1/22/2008 – Current Recent Obituaries
Western Springs, Indian Head Park Doings 4/28/2005 – Current Recent Obituaries
Westmont Westmont Progress 1/22/2008 – Current Recent Obituaries
Wheaton Wheaton Leader 1/22/2008 – Current Recent Obituaries
Wheaton Sun, The: Wheaton 9/6/2002 – 8/27/2010 Recent Obituaries
Wheeling Wheeling Countryside 1/9/1997 – 1/19/2009 Recent Obituaries
Wheeling Wheeling Journal 1/12/2011 – Current Recent Obituaries
Wicker Park, Bucktown, Ukranian Village Booster 1/11/2006 – 11/7/2007 Recent Obituaries
Willow Springs Willow Springs Suburban Life 1/22/2008 – Current Recent Obituaries
Willowbrook Willowbrook Suburban Life 1/22/2008 – Current Recent Obituaries
Wilmette Wilmette Life 1/9/1997 – Current Recent Obituaries
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Investigating the Murder Mystery of Louise Bailey with Newspapers

Introduction: Gena Philibert-Ortega is a genealogist and author of the book “From the Family Kitchen.” In this guest blog post, Gena searches old newspapers to investigate the murder mystery of Louise Bailey back in 1914.

“If she is innocent, may God help her.”

~ Mrs. Duryea

Imagine a story that involves jealousy, murder, and a bullet through a window. The players in this tragedy include the jealous society wife of a physician, the doctor, and a female patient. And as with all good whodunits the story ends with more questions than answers.

Is this the plot of a recent murder mystery novel? Perhaps one of those episodes of Law and Order ripped from the headlines? No, this is a murder mystery that happened almost 100 years ago, specifically June 1914 in Freeport, New York. A story preserved in old newspaper articles.

It involves Dr. Edwin Carman, his wife Florence Carman, and a patient named Mrs. Louise Bailey. On that June evening Mrs. Bailey was in the exam room of Dr. Carman’s home medical office, seeking a remedy for malaria. Suddenly a bullet was fired from outside that went through the window of the exam room and killed Mrs. Bailey instantly. Later, speculation would arise that Mrs. Bailey was the unintended murder victim and the real target was the doctor himself.

photo of Dr. Edwin Carman with his daughter Elizabeth

Photo: Dr. Edwin Carman with his daughter Elizabeth. Credit: Library of Congress, Windows Live Photo Gallery.

As with any murder that involves a married woman, first suspicions might rest with the husband of the victim. In this case, Mr. Bailey was at home at the time of the shooting, wondering what was taking his wife so long. It is thought that this was the first time Mrs. Bailey had sought Dr. Carman’s services.

photo of Florence Carman, wife of Dr. Carman

Photo: Florence Carman, wife of Dr. Carman. Credit: Library of Congress, Windows Live Photo Gallery.

Suspicion quickly turned to Mrs. Carman, who admitted that in the past, jealousy had driven her to such acts as setting up a recording device in her husband’s office so that she could hear anything going on behind those closed doors. Bugging her husband’s office wasn’t the first time Mrs. Carman had allowed jealousy to cloud her judgment. Her husband relayed a story where Mrs. Carman had burst into the exam room and slapped and pulled the hair of a female patient.

So from their own admission, Mrs. Carman had been known to be jealous of her husband’s female patients—but was she capable of murder? While Mrs. Carman and another family member insisted she was in bed at the time of the shooting, a male patient in the waiting room testified that he had seen her walking around.

Sensations in Bailey Slaying, Elkhart Daily Review newspaper article 3 July 1914

Elkhart Daily Review (Elkhart, Indiana), 3 July 1914, page 4

Whether it was the vengeance of a disgruntled employee—or the true testimony of someone who heard Mrs. Carman admit her guilt—the Carman’s maid said that Mrs. Carman had confessed to her that “she shot (at) him.” The maid’s claim sealed the deal and Mrs. Carman was put on trial for first degree murder.

The alleged confession added to the speculation that the doctor was the true target of the crime. Mrs. Carman’s defense team argued that the real killer was an unknown man. Another possible suspect for the shooting raised by the defense was an “insane” patient exacting some sort of revenge on the doctor. But Dr. Carman couldn’t think of any possible patients who fit that profile.

photo of the 1914 murder investigation at the home of Dr. Edwin Carman

Photo: murder investigation at the home of Dr. Edwin Carman. Credit: Library of Congress, Windows Live Photo Gallery.

After a sensational court trial, the jury reported to the judge that they were hopelessly deadlocked on the verdict. Later, a second murder trial acquitted Florence Carman. Did Florence Carman get away with murder or was this a case of some random act of violence? Maybe Mrs. Carman had reason to be jealous or maybe an equally jealous husband pulled the trigger, intent on ending the life of the doctor.

We may never know what really happened that summer evening at the home office of Dr. Carman, but if you’re investigating a case of a murder in your family history, remember that those who commit murder leave a paper trail—and that trail can often be found in old newspapers.

Have a murder case or other crimes in your family tree? Consult newspapers in the city that the ancestor was from, as well as newspapers from across the United States because the story may have been picked up and republished. Read histories of the area for information about the case and the families involved. If the case went to trail, spend some time at the courthouse or hire someone to find documents relating to the case. Also, peruse old newspapers for court case articles. The public hearings and verdicts of superior, civil and criminal court cases can often be found in old newspapers. A criminal case may just be the tip of the iceberg. The victim’s family may have also decided to sue, so check the civil trial index. Looking for other records to consider? Coroner’s inquests and criminal records might also help.

What happened to Dr. and Mrs. Carman? They continued to live out their days in Freeport, New York. Some books suggest that her new-found infamy led her to the New York stage where she spent a short time singing.* It seems that even in the “good old days” those who committed murder sometimes found a fame that escaped them prior to their notorious deeds.

While you may never know what really happened in your family’s murder case, with enough research you can at least tell the story. Whether your ancestor was the accused or the victim of the crime, resources exist to help piece together and document this part of your family history.

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Note: the quote at the beginning of the post refers to the fact that Mrs. Bailey’s mother, Mrs. Duryea, reportedly said of the accused killer Florence Carman: “If she is innocent, may God help her.” “Mrs. Florence Carman Arrested and Held on Charge of Murder.” Meridian Weekly Republican (Meridian, Connecticut), 9 July 1914, page 1.

* The books Ghosts of 42nd Street by Anthony Bianco (page 40) and When I’m Bad, I’m Better: Mae West, Sex, and Entertainment by Marybeth Hamilton (page 4) both suggest Florence Carman spent some time singing on stage.