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

David Suddarth dwsuddarth at gmail.com
Tue Dec 29 11:27:13 MST 2009

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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