Genealogy & Local History

Premier Resources | Local Obituaries | Military Family Research | Genealogical Societies  | Get Started |

Web Sites

For more information on Genealogy and Local History resources please contact: or call 815-385-0036.

McHenry Public Library Local History Archives - This is an ongoing project to preserve and document local history images. The items are available to view and it is also possible to comment, tag and share photos.

The Genealogy Room

Microform: There is a dedicated Genealogy Room with three microform readers, two of which are ScanPro 2000. The Northwest Herald, formerly The McHenry Plaindealer, is available on microfilm back to 1875.

The print collection: There are approximately 2,200 items, including half of the McHenry County Genealogical Society collection (approximately 900 items); and approximately 140 items from BigWil (British Interest Group of Wisconsin & Illinois).

Magazines and Newsletters: include the American Ancestors New England and Beyond, Family Chronicle, Family Tree, Internet Genealogy, Illinois Magazine, MCIGS Connection Newsletter, MCIGS Quarterly, Journal of Illinois History, McHenry Area Historical Society Newsletter, and the McHenry County Historical Society Newsletter.

Premium Resources

American Ancestors and Ancestry Library Edition are only accessible inside the Library.

American Ancestors Founded in 1845, NEHGS (New England Historic Genealogical Society) is the country's leading resource for family history research. Only accessible inside the Library.

Ancestry Library Edition™   Instant access to a wide range of unique resources for genealogical and historical research. With more than 1.5 billion names in over 4,000 databases, Ancestry Library Edition includes records from the United States Census; military records; court, land and probate records; vital and church records; directories; passenger lists and more. These collections are continuously expanding, with new content added every business day. Only accessible inside the Library.

Heritage Quest  A collection of over 25,000 family and local histories, Federal Censuses, and other genealogical content. McHenry cardholders only.

Genealogical Societies

McHenry County Illinois Genealogical Society – click on Collection to see detailed title lists of the collection housed in both the McHenry Public Library and the Crystal Lake Public Library. Meetings are held at the McHenry Public Library on the second Thursday of select months at 7:00 pm.

McHenry County Historical Society & Museum Local History & Research Library - The McHenry County Historical Society Local History Research Library has as its purpose the acquisition, cataloguing and preservation of documentary materials that relate to the history of McHenry County and its people.

Get Started

Researching your family tree

A series of lessons on how to begin family history research, gateway to other websites (including Ellis Island, Castle Gardens, and many more), and basic forms to begin research.

Local Obituaries

NW Herald Obituaries - for recent obituaries.  

Northwest Herald Obituaries - archives are available online starting January 1, 2005 through today's most recent news. These archives are searchable and the articles from the last 7 days are free to read in full. After 7 days the articles are available for purchase through the terms indicated on the archives search page.

We have microfilm of the Northwest Herald available for viewing and printing for 10 cents a page. But narrowing down a date using the online searching method makes finding articles much easier.

Military Family Research

Fold3 - is a military records database. The indexes are open and free to search. Find names of people, places and topics.

Genealogy Resources from - a U.S. Government website that links to all the official state libraries or genealogical societies for help with genealogy research.

The Virtual Wall - a virtual representation of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Wall, a list of over 58,000 names of the veterans who lost their lives in the Vietnam War.


Family Search -   is the world's largest repository of genealogical records and manages the Family History Library in Salt Lake City. Microfilms of historic records are available for a fee through select public libraries. The Algonquin Area Public Library is the closest affiliate library.

Illinois State Archives - Records in the Illinois State Archive, Statewide Vital Records Database, and the Illinois Regional Archives Depositories. Marriages, deaths, 19th century veterans, place names, and much more from state government records.

National Archive - Databases include labor unions, passenger lists, military records, prisoner of war and much more.

Online Searchable Death Indexes & Records  - This website is a directory of links to websites with online death indexes, listed by state and county. Included are death records, death certificate indexes, death notices & registers, obituaries, probate indexes, and cemetery & burial records.

U.S. GenWeb - free non-commercial site with genealogy websites for genealogical research in every county and every state of the United States.


External links may be used as starting points in your research and are not intended to be exhaustive lists of all available external sites related to these topics. The library does not endorse or profit from these websites and external links are provided for use at your own discretion. For suggestions, comments, or to report broken links, you may contact the Web Team.