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If you plan on visiting our genealogical and local history collection in person,
we strongly encourage you to make an appointment.
Please call us at 309-543-4701 for further information.

Genealogy Help & Sources

About our CollectionPoliciesMason County NewspapersCensus DataA Bibliography of Books in our CollectionPhotographs & ImagesFamily Group Sheet Name IndexMason County Family Genealogies on the Web ObituariesSurname IndexesVital Records IndexesLinks to General Genealogical Websites with Havana & Mason County Information

About Our Collection

The Havana Public Library District collects genealogical and historical materials that relate to Havana and Mason County. Materials include photographs & images, maps, telephone directories, yearbooks, newspapers, advertisements, and books such as county histories, town histories, and plat books. A genealogical reference collection that also includes the collection of the Mason County Genealogical & Historical Society is housed in our facility. A microfilm reader/printer is available.

A Bibliography of Books in Our Collection

Census Data

United State Censuses available for our area include:
Tazewell County, Illinois 1840
Mason County, Illinois 1850, 1860, 1870, 1880, 1900, 1910, & 1920

Illinois State Censuses:
Mason County, Illinois 1845 & 1855

Family Group Sheet Name Index

The Havana Public Library District indexes (by surname, given name) the family group sheets that are donated to the library and the society. We are happy to search our family group sheet index for the person(s) you are looking for and can copy those for you.

Mason County Family Genealogies on the Web

Mason County Newspapers

The Havana Public Library District collects newspapers related to Havana and Mason County, both in microfilm and in print. The earliest extant Mason County papers are from 1852. The weekly Mason County Democrat (& its predecessors) runs sporadically until 1913 and is complete from May 1913 to the present. A detailed list is available.


Obituaries are collected by the Mason County Genealogical & Historical Society and are arranged in notebooks alphabetically by surname. Hurley Funeral Home also provides current obituaries online.

Photographs & Images

The Havana Public Library District owns a large collection of photographs that include outside images of Havana buildings & streets. Some of our images of local businesses are part of a regional digital library of archival resources: Illinois Alive! the Heritage and Texture of a Pivotal State during the First Century of Statehood (1818-1918). Havana’s history is also featured in Audio Illinois a regional look at historic people & places with audio descriptions.


The staff of the Havana Public Library District answers genealogical & historical queries. We will search our indexes for a specific surname or individual. We will copy appropriate pages with citations. An invoice will be sent with each response. Charges are based on $ .15 per 8 1/2″ X 11″, $ .20 per larger sheet (8 1/2″ X 14″ or 11″ X 17″), faxing to you is $3.00 for the first page & $ .50 for each additional page. Copies of newspaper obituaries are $1.50 for each individual. Postage is added to the invoice. If your query requires courthouse or other extensive research it will be turned over to the researcher of the Mason County Genealogical & Historical Society who will contact you with their fee schedule.

We do Interlibrary Loan duplicate copies of the county histories in our collection. We accept ALA forms or detailed printouts of records on RSAcat, I-Share, and OCLC FirstSearch WorldCat. ILL requests from other libraries can be faxed to (309)543-2715 or emailed to Interlibrary Loan.

Surname Indexes

With the able assistance of Elder William & Sister Betty Cook, we now have a surname index to the bound family histories that have been donated to the library & the society. This is based on the individual index of each family history and is arranged alphabetically by surname.

A surname index is maintained by the society as well. This index is based on the surnames being researched by members of the Mason County Genealogical & Historical Society, by researchers that have come to the library visiting our collection, and by researchers that have corresponded with the society & the library.

Vital Records Indexes

Mason County Marriage Records started with the establishment of the county in 1841. An index to Marriage Records by bride & groom is available from 1841 to 1919. More detailed Marriage Record information is published by the society and currently encompasses 1841 to 1900. Birth Records were first recorded in 1878 and Death Records were first recorded in 1877, but neither is a “complete” record until 1916. Indexes are available for Birth & Delayed Birth Records from 1878 to 1900 and for Death Records from 1877 to 1900. To order copies of actual vital records please contact the Mason County Clerk’s office.

Links to General Genealogical Websites with Havana & Mason County Information