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Genealogy & Local History

Local History Collection

The DeKalb Public Library’s local history collection is located on the main floor of the library in the Richard Ryan Quiet Room.

Resources include, but are not limited to:

  • DeKalb city directories dating back to 1899
  • Family histories
  • The Daily Chronicle on microfilm dating back to 1871
  • Selected digitized resources are available as part of our Media Library

These reference resources are available only for in-library use, and can be accessed at any time the library is open.

A larger collection of local history materials is available at the DeKalb County History Center.

Appointments are available for one-on-one local history research assistance every Tuesday between 2:00 p.m. and 6:00 p.m. To make an appointment, contact Britta at [email protected] or (815) 756-9568 ext. 2100.

Library Databases

Other Resources


ArchiveGrid includes over 7 million records describing archival materials, bringing together information about historical documents, personal papers, family histories, and more. With over 1,400 archival institutions represented, ArchiveGrid helps patrons looking for primary source materials held in archives, libraries, museums and historical societies.

DeKalb County History Center 

After several years of conversations, focus groups, and meetings, March 1, 2018 marks the creation of the DeKalb County History Center in Sycamore, Illinois. This new organization is a result of a partnership between the Sycamore History Museum and the Joiner History Room, plus collaboration with 20-plus local history organizations throughout DeKalb County.

Digital Public Library of America

DPLA connects people to the riches held within America’s libraries, archives, museums, and other cultural heritage institutions. All of the materials found through DPLA—photographs, books, maps, news footage, oral histories, personal letters, museum objects, artwork, government documents, and so much more—are free and immediately available in digital format. The cultural institutions participating in DPLA represent the richness and diversity of America itself, from the smallest local history museum to our nation’s largest cultural institutions.

Illinois Digital Archives

The Illinois Digital Archives is a repository for the digital collections of the Illinois State Library as well as other libraries and cultural institutions in the State of Illinois. It contains historical photographs, slides, glass negatives, oral histories, manuscripts, letters, federal government documents, postcards, posters, videos, newspapers, and maps.

Illinois Newspaper Project

The Illinois Newspaper Project (INP) identifies, preserves, and digitizes historical Illinois newspapers. They also help patrons locate the Illinois newspapers they need. Some papers are available in digital form.

Joiner History Room

A variety of digitized DeKalb County records maintained by the Joiner History Room. Physical copies of some of these records, as well as additional records, are located at the Joiner History Room in the Sycamore Public Library in Sycamore, Illinois.

The world’s largest collection of free family trees, genealogy records, and resources.

Illinois State Genealogical Society

The ISGS website has been created to enhance your passion for genealogy. It not only features links to ISGS projects but also links you to other records and resources throughout Illinois including those individual genealogical home pages that have an Illinois connection.

USGenWeb Project

The USGenWeb Project is a group of volunteers working together to provide free online genealogy help and information for every U.S. state and county. The national site provides links to state sites, which, in turn, provide gateways to the counties.

Find a Grave

Find a Grave is a free resource for finding the final resting places of famous folks, friends, and family members. With millions of names, it is an invaluable tool for genealogist and history buffs.


BillionGraves is the world′s largest resource for searchable GPS cemetery data and is growing bigger every day.

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