Library News

Hayner Library Property Files Collection

Property File Collection ImageThe Alton Area Landmarks Association is best known for its considerable efforts at saving buildings from a wrecking ball and restoring old structures to serve a purpose. Their mission helps to keep the heart of history beating inside the architectural walls of Alton.

Many years ago, Hayner Library received a unique donation from the Alton Area Landmarks Association. The association donated information on 300 Alton properties, to be archived in specially selected file cabinets at our library. This gift became the foundation for what is now known as the Property Files Collection. After receiving this donation, the staff of the Genealogy & Local History Library began adding additional property information to the files, including information on historic homes, buildings, businesses, and landmarks. The collection has grown to thousands of addresses on hundreds of streets in the Alton and Godfrey area. File information about a particular address may include a short history, photographs, newspaper clippings about events or people associated with the property, and lists of owners.

We also have title abstracts for a few of the addresses in our collection. A title abstract is a history of ownership for a piece of property. Information in an abstract can include references to deeds, mortgages, wills, marriages, probate records, and other legal proceedings that can affect property ownership. One of the abstracts in our collection even includes information about an adoption! As you can see, these documents can hold a gold mine of information for the genealogist in your family, or local historians.

The Hayner Genealogy & Local History Library would like to supplement the Property Files Collection with more title abstracts. We are asking anyone in the Alton, Godfrey, and Fosterburg area who is fortunate enough to have a title for their property to donate a copy to the library.

If you are willing to donate a copy of your abstract, the staff at the Genealogy & Local History Library will be happy to make copies of your paperwork and process it into the Property Files Collection, which is housed at our 401 State Street location.

Placing a copy of your abstract in the library’s collection assures that your paperwork is archived and preserved in a central location. We also encourage you to include photos of your property in addition to the abstract. And of course, all abstracts and photos will be copied by our staff at absolutely no cost to you!

If you would like to archive a copy of your property abstract at the library, please call the Hayner Genealogy & Local History Library at (618) 462-0677, ext. 2865, or just bring it down during normal business hours.

Don’t have an abstract, but are still curious about the Property Files Collection? Then come visit us and let us show you how to look for information about your home or business.

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