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Sources of the Manuscripts

The information below pertains to source & locational codes found at the end of Digest entries.


Com. I, 17

In the lower right corner of the calendar entry, there is often an abbreviation with Roman numerals and numbers, such as Com. I, 17. This represents the location of the manuscript before the calendar was begun in the system devised in the early part of the twentieth century by Clarence Alvord of the University of Illinois. Sorted into three categories, Public Papers, Private Papers, and Commercial Papers, the manuscript were placed in roughly chronological order and then mounted on large sheets of paper, which were numbered more of less consecutively. Finally, each of the three categories was subdivided into smaller units, and numbered with Roman numerals to facilitate handling. Thus, Com. I, 17 was the number of the document on the seventeenth (approximately) sheet in the first box of Commercial Papers. In a few cases, the Alvord number has been lost and a question mark will be found in place of the number. This old numbering system has been preserved in the calendar because it was used in all scholarly references made to the documents prior to 1976.


Misc. I-IV Misc. V-VIII

In 1959, additional documents that had been borrowed by Alvord from the county were found at the University of Illinois. These documents were bound into two volumes, labeled “Miscellaneous Doc. I-IV” and “Miscellaneous Doc. V-VIII” and returned to Chester. Since they consisted of separate documents and not ledger-style entries, it was decided to remove the documents from the bindings and to file them individually in chronological sequence.


Rec. I, 312

This designation refers to one of the ledger-style manuscripts, a large, green-cloth volume labeled “Mss. Record Book. I.” It contains 445 numbered pages of copies of documents of many different dates and types, and was executed by several unknown copyists at an unknown date in the late eighteenth century. It has no document number representing it as a whole. However, each manuscript entry was microfilmed separately and can be found in its proper chronological position on the microfilm.


Rec. II, 7 verso

Prior to the creation of the calendar, Record Book II was formed by a group of several unbound manuscript folios and included in notaries’ lists. It also included a bound ledger (see Rec. IIa). One of these folios, document (37:1:15:3) is titled “The Register of Sessions of the Royal Jurisdiction of the Illinois” and bears the date January 15, 1737. It contains 36 leaves with entries from 1737 to 1743 and 1779 to 1789. Each calendar entry representing an item from this folio (37:1:15:3) bears a designation such as Rec. II, 7, verso. “7, verso” means that the entry can be found on the back side of the seventh leaf of the original manuscript, which is to be found on the microfilm at the end of the chronological series, after the “No Date” manuscripts.


Rec. IIa, 1

This ledger of extracts from the registers of court sessions, which was also part of Record Book II in the old filing system, is now distinguished from the manuscript of (37:1:15:3) by the designation Rec. IIa. It consists of 14 individual entries, most of which note the disposal of various suits by the court during the years 1747 to 1749. Because this manuscript has no number representing it as a whole, it is filed in Chester at the end of the entire chronological series. However, each manuscript entry was microfilmed separately and will be found in its proper chronological position on the microfilm.


Perrin, 5

The last of the ledger-style manuscripts is titled “The Register of Inscriptions of Gifts and Donations in the Seat of Illinois” (Registre des Insinuations des Donations aux siege des Illinois) and bears the number (37:1:15:4). The register contains 147 pages of extracts from various instruments, dating from 1737 to 1769. The original manuscript is held by the Illinois State Archives in Springfield, Illinois, as part of a group of documents referred to as the Perrin Collection. Thus, the calendar entries from this manuscript are marked “Perrin,” plus the number of the page in the register on which the entry is found. There is no microfilm of this document because the register is not a part of the present Kaskaskia Manuscripts.


C.C.. A85

A number of documents that had originally been part of the manuscripts were found in the office of the Clerk of the Circuit Court of Randolph County during the calendaring project. These manuscripts have now been reunited with the rest of the collection and the numbering system used in the Circuit Clerk’s office has been included in the calendar entries. For example, document 48:8:6:1 came from the Circuit Clerk’s office; thus, its calendar entry gives the location indication C.C. with the document’s old number, A85.


H356, K321

Some of the calendar entries bear location references such as H356 and represent deeds found in the two volumes of English translations of French land records made by William Henry from 1855 to 1857. The “Henry” number has been given in addition to the old Alvord number, in entries for documents that survive both in the original and in translation. Whenever the original document translated by Henry is no longer to be found in the collection, the record is included in the calendar, making the translation the only known record of the document. This has been done for the convenience of the calendar user who may prefer to consult a full English translation rather than the original French document. For this same reason, where pertinent, the “K” number appears, referring to the complete translations of a selection of documents published in the Brown and Dean volume The Village of Chartres in Colonial Illinois.


No Location Number

In addition to the documents from the Kaskaskia manuscript collection, the calendar also includes a number of items that were formerly part of the collection and that are now located in other repositories. The calendar entries for them do not, of course, show Alvord’s old numbering. These entries, for manuscripts whose originals are held elsewhere and that are present in the collection only in the form of facsimiles, give the name of the institution in which the original manuscript is to be found. These include the Illinois State Archives, the Chicago Historical Society, the Missouri Historical Society, and the Louisiana Historical Society. None of these manuscripts has been included on the microfilm.


Finally, there are calendar entries that have no location or source indications at all. These represent either (1) an entry taken from a notary’s list, in which case the summary is only one or two lines long and does not include a list of names, or (2) a manuscript that is not a part of the original collection but that was obtained in 1977 when the State Historical Survey Library in Urbana, Illinois, returned to Chester a number of original documents, for the most part fragments, that they had held, presumably, since the days of Professor Alvord.


Cross References

The last line of the calendar entry may list other document numbers that refer to the manuscripts, providing more information about the particular transaction represented by that entry. When a great number of cross-reference numbers is necessary, instead of including the complete list in every pertinent entry, the full list will be found in the earliest (first) entry of the series, and the remaining entries will be cross-referenced only to the first one.

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