Genealogy & Local History

Customer Looking at Maps

Discover your ancestry in the Kathrine Shackley Room for Local History and Genealogy. Located on the first floor of the library, the genealogy collection provides access to books, periodicals, newspapers, maps and digital resources. The library has an extensive database collection to help you with your genealogy and family history research, and you can enjoy access to more record collections on Family Search with our library’s Family History Affiliate Library status and Family History Library microfilm collection. The Boyd-Huff Arlington Heights Collection is unique to our library and includes local church records, school yearbooks, and information on the people, places, and events of Arlington Heights. Three microfilm readers with printing capabilities and a scanner are available. Use our digital microfilm reader to manipulate images, email or save images to a flash drive.

We have genealogy programs for all skill levels. Join us at our genealogy events to meet other family historians, learn new techniques to discover your ancestors and to break down your genealogical brick walls.

Online Webinars, Lectures and Classes

There are lots of free online learning videos available to help guide you through your genealogy research. 

If you're just getting started with your family history research, our Genealogy and Local History Librarian has some tips and tools just for you. Created with beginners in mind, this 20 minute video outlines the steps to genealogy research and discusses using online tools to find out more about your family's past.

FamilySearch has hundreds of free virtual archived classes in their Online Learning Center. There’s something here for researchers of all levels, whether you're just getting started or have been doing genealogy for years. They have a broad range of topics and have speakers who are experts in their specialties. Depending on the topic, you’ll find classes available in different languages, including English, Spanish, Chinese, and more. 

RootsTech, an annual genealogy conference, adds several recorded lectures from their event to their website for online learners. Visit their website to see five years worth of RootsTech sessions. 

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Meet with a Specialist

While the library building is closed, Jaymie Middendorf, Genealogy and Local History Librarian, is available to help you with your genealogy questions through email. Send questions to 


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Reliable Genealogy Websites

Cyndi's List
A popular genealogy website.

Illinois State Archives
A depository of public records of Illinois state and regional archives with searchable databases for vital, land and military records.

Northwest Suburban Genealogy Society
A local organization offering education and programs in family history research.

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Swedish Genealogy Appointments

Do you have Swedish ancestors? Kathy Meade will help you with genealogical research and direct you to Swedish research resources. 

Swedish genealogy appointments have been postponed. 

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Online Genealogy Course

Gale Courses  - Genealogy

In-depth, instructor-led, 6-week Genealogy Basics course. Arlington Heights cardholders only.

More Info   |   Video Tutorial

Upcoming Genealogy Programs

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Genealogy & Local History Resources

Thousands of detailed international maps (countries, regions, states, etc.), as well as topographic maps, climate maps, and more.

Historical access to scanned pages from hundreds of newspapers. Coverage varies by paper. Includes the Daily Herald, 1901-present. [Note: and Access Newspaper Archive both cover different sets of newspapers, with some overlap.]

Chicago Sun-Times, Daily Herald, and Arlington Heights Post.

From newspapers across the U.S. Note: Chicago Tribune obituaries are in ProQuest Newsstand/Global Newsstream.

Extensive genealogical searching for census, vital and military records. From the New England Historic Genealogical Society. 

NOTE 6/22/20: Full remote access will be available to cardholders while the library building has limited public access.

Non-cardholders outside the library still have limited access to some records here.

Family history data, census information, immigration, etc.

NOTE: Ancestry Library Edition will be available to home users until DECEMBER 31, 2020.

Source for Swedish genealogy. Contains millions of historical documents, including church records, court records and estate inventories. | Login Tips

During the library's closure, you can ask for at-home access to ArkivDigital, which is normally only available inside the library. Use the library's contact form and specify "research" as the option for how to direct the feedback.

Local daily newspaper Covers January 1966 to June 1970.

Articles from 1/1/86-present. Approximately three months' daily issues are also available via PressReader.

Search the complete text of The Chicago Tribune from 1849-present. The most recent four days' daily issues are also available via PressReader.

1849-1984.  Less complete than the Proquest Chicago Tribune, but has easier obituary/death notice searching.

Articles from 1/1/95-present. For historical articles (1901-present) search the Arlington Heights listings in the Access Newspaper Archive.

Large genealogy database maintained by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Anyone may use FamilySearch from home, etc., but additional content is available only when used inside the library. NOTE: Requires creation of a free personal profile.

Access to over 2 billion records from the U.K., Ireland and the British Commonwealth, including census records, military collections, immigration and naturalization records, and the PERiodical Source Index (PERSI).

You can temporarily ask for at-home access to FindMyPast, which is normally only available inside the library. Details here.

Historical documents and personal histories from the National Archives and other institutions. Includes the Fold3 Holocaust Archives.

In-depth, instructor-led, 6-week classes on tech topics, health care training, business/accounting, personal development, law, test prep, and more. Some classes can lead to certification and continuing education units (CEUs)

Arlington Heights cardholders only

Census records 1790-1930, family/local histories, PERSI article index, Revolutionary War applications.

Primary source documents pertaining to the history of the United States.

Immigration lists, census records, vital records, parish/land records, etc. Replacing World Vital Records.

Historical access to scanned pages from hundreds of newspapers. Coverage varies by paper. [Note: and Access Newspaper Archive both cover different sets of newspapers, with some overlap.]

Full-page scans of recent Chicago Tribune issues (2008-3 months ago).

Searchable database of the fire insurance maps published by the Sanborn Map Company housed in the collections of the Geography and Map Division of the Library of Congress.