Finding Town Histories

By Rhonda McClure Premium

Q. Is there a chance that someone out there has a history of the town of St. Francisville, Ill.? I can’t find any thing on the Internet.

A. While the Internet has brought many resources to the fingertips of genealogists all over the world, it is far from the only answer to our research. Commercial companies such as Google Books have been scanning books that have entered into the realm of public domain as their copyrights expired. This is how most of the books have come to be on the Internet that we find today.

In the case of the history of St. Francisville, you may be able to find it through interlibrary loan. Search for the town and county in WorldCat, which catalogs the holdings of libraries around the world. The results will show you libraries that have books matching your search; if none are near you, ask your public library about borrowing the book through interlibrary loan. Note the complete title, author, and publication information, including the publisher, place of publication and year of publication.

I also ran a Place search of the Family History Library Catalog (FHL) and didn’t find anything listed for the town of St. Francisville, Ill. You might want to see what county histories for Lawrence County are available on microfilm. County histories often include histories of each of the towns in that county. You can borrow FHL microfilm through a local FamilySearch Center.

Finally, study the websites of genealogical societies covering St. Francisville and Lawrence County. You might find historical information, or even an unpublished history of the area for purchase.