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125 Gems of the Genealogy & Local History Library: Gems 11‒20


Mail Requests #HaynerGenealogyGems

We aren’t the post office, but we offer a great mail service!

For a minimal fee ($5.00 per name or subject), the Genealogy & Local History staff offers a lookup service for patrons who cannot come into the library to do their research. All we need is a letter explaining what you are trying to find in your family search or local history quest. We look it up, print it out, and mail it back! 

11. post office


Blink your eyes and you’ll miss it! #HaynerGenealogyGems

Shanghai, Illinois. It was formerly called Ionia, then Shanghai City.

By 1968 its population had dwindled to 12!

Get the scoop on places that aren’t here anymore in A List of Illinois Place Names and in Place Name Directory, Madison County, Illinois at Hayner Genealogy & Local History Library.

12. Place Names


Volunteer spotlight: Bette Flactiff #HaynerGenealogyGems

Bette Flactiff is a gem! She began volunteering at the Hayner Genealogy & Local History Library in 2013, and she never seems to run out of enthusiasm or energy. In only a few years, she has personally photographed thousands of pictures of area tombstones to use on the library’s Cemetery Project database. Despite being born and raised in Iowa (Go Hawkeyes!) she now considers herself a tried and true Altonian!

Pictured here sharing a laugh with Jim DeCourcy, one of the Hayner maintenance men, she sports a smile that shines with a personality to match!

13. Bette Flactiff

14. #HaynerGenealogyGems

Have you seen the TV commercial advertisements for the genealogy research website called Have you wanted to try it, but are hesitant to subscribe? Well, good news! The Hayner Public Library District has paid the subscription fees for the library edition of and it is available to use, totally free, at the Genealogy & Local History Library! 

14. Ancestry


Illinois County Histories #HaynerGenealogyGems

Boone, DuPage, Grundy, Ogle, Vermillion, Wabash, & you know the significance of these names? They are all counties in Illinois. There are a total of 102 counties located in the state of Illinois. The historic Illinois Room located in the Genealogy & Local History Library at 401 State Street has at least one book for every county in our state. That is a lot of Illinois history! 

15. Illinois Counties 1895


Fun Programs #HaynerGenealogyGems

Fun Programs are held at the Genealogy & Local History Library! These programs are not only entertaining, they are informative and free! We hold genealogy programs on topics that will help with your family history research as well as programs on a variety of local history themes. We also hold an annual series of educational classes on the fundamentals of genealogy called “Branching Out.” 

16. Fun Programs


Alton Telegraph Digitization #HaynerGenealogyGems

Read All About It!

The Telegraph newspaper has been published under various names for 180 years. The Hayner Public Library District has digitized images of these newspapers all the way back to the first publications in 1836. Pages are keyword searchable and articles are printable. This newspaper database is available on all patron computers at each library location. This is an amazing resource for Alton history.

17. Alton Evening Telegraph January 3 1959


Owens-Illinois Collection #HaynerGenealogyGems

Did you or a family member work at Owens-Illinois Glass Company? A very generous donor has given the Genealogy & Local History Library copies of his collection of scrapbooks containing various bits of information and photos on many of the past employees of the Owens-Illinois Glass Works. To date, we have over 25 scrapbooks, including one dedicated solely to the glassblowers of the Illinois Glass Company. Fun to browse through if you were an employee, and an informative resource if you are looking for ancestors who worked at one of the three plants in Alton. 

18. Owens Illinois Scrapbook Collection


1993 Flood Pictures #HaynerGenealogyGems

What do you remember about the Flood of ’93? Flooded streets, closed businesses, no running water, National Guard troops, or sandbags? The Hayner Genealogy & Local History Library has a large binder full of original photos of the Flood of ’93. Preserving history is one of the many things we do, even if that means keeping records on the worst of our past. The end of 2015 brought more severe flooding to downtown Alton, so if you took photos during the recent flood, please donate them to the library as well.

19. 1993 Flood photo 1


Abraham Lincoln Collection #HaynerGenealogyGems

Abraham Lincoln is one of the most fascinating figures in American history. He was a self-taught Springfield, Illinois lawyer who became the President of the United States and took the country through one of the worst periods in history, the Civil War. The Hayner Genealogy & Local History Library has many Lincoln items in the collection, including books on his life and career, beautiful portraits on display in our main room, and an original letter written by Lincoln in 1844.

20. Abraham Lincoln

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