[APG Public List] Record Access in LaSalle County, Illinois

Jeanette Daniels jeanettedaniels8667 at yahoo.com
Tue Dec 29 13:29:35 MST 2009


Find whoever is higher up at the courthouse.  Naturalization records are public records.  I had a friend who ran into a similar problem at an Ohio courthouse.  She was on limited time as she was just visiting the area.  Once she returned home, she telephoned and found out who was in charge of the particular types of records in that part of the courthouse.  She wrote a detailed letter about how she was treated.  She received a letter back with an apology and also an invitation to use the courthouse records whenever she was back in the area again.  

I suggest that you do the same thing.


From: David Suddarth <dwsuddarth at gmail.com>
To: apgpubliclist at apgen.org
Sent: Tue, December 29, 2009 11:27:13 AM
Subject: [APG Public List] Record Access in LaSalle County, Illinois

Hi everyone,

I was recently in LaSalle County, Illinois and had the opportunity to do some research.  I found an index entry at the LaSalle County Genealogy Guild for the naturalization record of my great grandfather and his brother, who were naturalized in the County Court in 1904.  So, I headed to the county courthouse in order to have a look at the records.  

When I asked to see the records, I was told that I could not because naturalization records are not public records.  I told the lady behind the counter that I believed they were, in fact, public records, whereupon she once again stated that they were not and never have been.  I could leave the information with her along with my name and address (which I did) and they would send me copies of any information they could make available, but I could not see the records myself.  Noticing that the book in which the records I wanted to see was laying on top of a cabinet in the waiting area, I asked if I could look up the pages myself.  She replied that she "could not let me do that" and stated again that they were not open to the public.

I asked if I could see a copy of the law which restricted the access of these records.  She replied that I could not (along with rolling her eyes), said that was their policy and then she left the counter.  I asked to see her supervisor, was told no and given a business card for the department.  Seeing that I was not going to get anywhere, I left.

I did not have a copy of the law with me to show, but I really don't think it would have made any difference.  I have never had a problem accessing records before (I have been lucky), so this was new to me.  Is there a better way I could have handled the situation?

David W. Suddarth
St. Paul, MN

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