About our Collection — Policies — Mason County Newspapers — Census Data — A Bibliography of Books in our Collection — Photographs & Images — Family Group Sheet Name Index — Mason County Family Genealogies on the Web — Obituaries — Surname Indexes — Vital Records Indexes — Links to General Genealogical Websites with Havana & Mason County Information
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
Havana Public Library District
Genealogical and Local History Collection Policy
As the oldest library in the county, the Havana Public Library District pledges to acquire, safeguard, and promote the use of local historical materials. The Havana Public Library District has created the Genealogical and Local History Collection to fulfil this mission.
The purpose of the Havana Public Library District Genealogical and Local History Collection is to identify, preserve, and make available for research materials of enduring value related to Mason County, Illinois, with special emphasis on Havana and its immediate environs. Materials associated with neighboring counties and the State of Illinois may be included, provided said items contribute to placing Mason County within a historical context. Genealogies and family histories will be collected only for families with a substantial
connection to Mason County. The Havana Public Library District Genealogical and Local History Collection encompasses materials in a variety of formats including, but not limited to, books, newspapers on microfilm, directories, yearbooks, maps, atlases, photographs, pamphlets, slides, digital files, and select audiovisual materials when proper storage and playback ability are available. The collection of the Mason County Genealogical & Historical Society is also housed in our facility.
Acquisition of Materials
Materials that meet the above requirements may be added by gift, purchase, or any other transaction by which title passes to the Havana Public Library District. Donations will be accepted provided that (a) there is a signed Gift Agreement Form that legally transfers ownership of the materials to the Havana Public Library District, and (b) the donor does not require restrictions on use.
Deaccessioning of Materials
In order to maintain the quality of the collection, materials may be deaccessioned due to irrelevance, space considerations, duplication (including digital duplication), or condition. Items may be returned to donors, sold, discarded, or offered to other institutions.
Using the Collection
By its very definition, the Havana Public Library District Genealogical and Local History Collection houses rare and often irreplaceable materials. Therefore, materials from this collection do not circulate and must be consulted in the library’s public area in full view of the reference desk. Patrons are not allowed within the closed stacks and filing cabinets that house the collection. Any unauthorized attempt to access these files will be seen as attempted theft; violators will be subject to the consequences outlined in the Havana Public Library District Disruptive Patron policy.
Due to staffing levels and security concerns, all researchers are asked to make an appointment to view items and/or use the microfilm reader. We request that patrons call at least one business day ahead for an appointment (309-543-4701). Please note that retrieval of collections may take up to 15 minutes. Requests for material are accepted until one hour before closing and all material must be returned to the desk fifteen minutes prior to closing.
The Havana Public Library District reserves the right to restrict access to certain collections due to the physical condition of the materials. Materials must be handled with great care; cotton gloves will be provided for handling photographic materials. Only one box, folder, or volume may be used at a time. The rest of the requested materials will be held behind the reference desk. Only approved writing materials (normally pencils or personal computers) may be used for taking notes while using material from the collection. Archival quality markers are available for indicating material to be photocopied. Other methods of marking materials for copying (such as sticky notes or paperclips) may not be used. Materials may not be leaned on, written on, folded, traced, or handled in any way likely to damage them. A staff member should be notified if papers are found to be out of order. A staff member should also be shown any torn or very fragile materials that might be in need of repair. All folders and items must be replaced in original order and in their original condition. Patrons must return all items to the reference desk and wait until the material has been checked in. Researchers who fail to follow these requirements may be refused further access to materials.
Use of manuscripts and published materials is subject to provisions of current copyright law. Laws against libel and invasion of privacy may also apply. Readers assume full responsibility for any legal questions that may arise as the result of their use of materials in the collections. Permission to examine materials, or to obtain copies, does not imply the right to publish them, in whole or in part. Permission to publish must be obtained from the appropriate copyright holder.
Photocopies are allowed at the discretion of staff and follow the current copy fee schedule. Because staff and facilities are limited, it is not usually possible to provide copying service immediately, especially if large numbers of copies are requested. Photocopying/scanning will be performed by staff only. Pending librarian approval, patrons may take pictures of items with a camera. The use of personal scanners is prohibited.
The staff of the Havana Public Library District will search for up to three obituaries or newspaper articles free of charge if the exact names and dates are provided. These three free obituaries and/or articles can be emailed or faxed to the recipient. If paper copies are required, we charge .15 per standard 8.5” x 11” page plus postage. Payment must be received before the items are sent. We accept cash and check only; credit card payments are not available at this time. Brief requests are typically processed within seven business days.
Lengthier and more complex research requests will cost $10 per hour, plus all applicable print and postage fees. Call the library to detail your research request and receive a cost estimate. Payment must be received before the items are sent. We accept cash and check only; credit card payments are not available at this time. Requests are typically processed within ten business days but may require additional time.
If a query requires courthouse or other off-site research, it will be turned over to the researcher of the Mason County Genealogical & Historical Society.
Approved by the Havana Public Library District Board of Trustees, March 17, 2022
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.
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.