Genealogy & Local History

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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.

1950 Census Information 

NEW!! The Census records from 7 states are now indexed and available for searching on FamilySearch and Ancestry. Delaware, Nevada, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, South Dakota, Vermont and Wyoming. 

The 1950 census will be released on April 1, 2022. The information will be unindexed, which means that it will not show up in search results on websites like Ancestry and FamilySearch. To find your ancestor on the 1950 census you will need to know where your ancestor or relative lived on April 1, 1950, which was census day for the 1950 census. With that address you can use the Unified 1880-1950 Census ED Finder located here to find the enumeration district, or the Ancestry 1950 Census district Finder which is still in BETA testing mode, located here

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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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 take place every other month on Zoom. 

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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


Genealogy Resources by Subject

If you are looking for more resources on Genealogy you can browse by specific subjects and interests by clicking the links below! 

African American Ancestors Resources 

Chicago and Cook County Resources 

House Histories

Polish Ancestors Resources