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Genealogy & Local History

The Emma and Robert Wegman Local History Room is an excellent place to begin your regional and family history searches. We feature access to the Ancestry database, as well as a variety of other resources related to Aurora and its inhabitants through the years. All of our facilities offer bi-monthly one-on-one walk-in sessions with the Liesinger sisters who have been working with genealogy for many years, and they will provide you with the knowledgeable and courteous service you’ve come to expect from the library. The Liesingers make it obvious that family history is their passion, and they can ensure you catch that passion, too!  Drop by our space on the second floor of the Santori Public Library. You will be amazed by the artifacts the library has gathered to meet your research needs.

 Collections

City Directories
Our collection runs from 1858/1859 to the present, and while gaps exist, we believe no City Directories were done for those missing years. These volumes function somewhat like a telephone book. Each book contains an alphabetical listing of Aurora residents in the pertinent year. Spouses and occupations are included in many of the early books. From the 1895/1896 edition onward, there is a section in the back of each directory that allows you to look up particular addresses by street to see who occupied the premises at that time.
Yearbooks
This collection includes yearbooks from various Aurora area colleges, high schools, and junior high schools. The selection of volumes for East Aurora High School, Waubonsie Valley High School, and West Aurora High School are fairly complete. Gaps in coverage exist for many of the other institutions.

• Aurora Central Catholic High School, 1970 – 2006
• Aurora Christian School, 1978 – 1994
• Aurora College, 1913 – 1980
• East Aurora High School, 1913 – 2015
• Illinois Math and Science Academy, 1990 – 1994
• Jennings Seminary, 1909
• Madonna High School, 1933; 1962 – 1963; 1966; 1968
• Marmion Military Academy, 1937 – 2013
• Mooseheart High School, 1923
• Nequa Valley High School, 1998 - 2001
• Roncali High School, 1966 – 1967
• Rosary High School, 1967 – 2016
• Waubonsie Valley High School, 1979 – 2015
• West Aurora High School, 1901 – 2010

Miscellaneous Collections
Miscellaneous Collections
The Emma & Robert Wegman Local History Room houses select collections of a variety of books of local interest, archival items, newspaper clippings, photographs, audio/video materials, a local author collection, atlases and plat books, and other microfilmed materials.
Newspapers on Microfilm

The library's collection of microfilm contains reels from a wide variety of Aurora newspapers published through the years. The most complete selection is for:
- Aurora Beacon News
- Aurora Blade
- Aurora Chronicle
- Aurora Daily Democrat
- Aurora Daily Journal
- Aurora Daily News
- Aurora Daily Times
- Aurora Economist
- Aurora Fox Valley Beacon
- Aurora Guardian
- Aurora Herald Weekly
- Aurora Labor Journal
- Aurora News Semi-Weekly
- Aurora News Times
- Aurora Post Journal
- Aurora Semi-Weekly Express
- Aurora Sentinel
- Aurora Sun
- Aurora Sunday Journal
- Aurora Volksfreund (major condition issues)
- Aurora Weekly Express
- Aurora Weekly Herald
- Dubuque Luxemburger Gazette
Special Collections
In 2017, the Santori Library received a generous donation of materials from the Charles and Marie Wilkinson family. This gift includes over 1,800 photographs, more than 1,000 documents, and a variety of personal realia that belonged to Charles, Marie, son Donald and daughter Sheila Scott-Wilkinson. One major item included in this donation was an authentic whip that belonged to former slave Charles Wilkinson, Sr, and was given to his son. Aurora icon and tireless social/civil rights activist Marie Wilkinson used this relic of a sad episode in American History as a teaching tool in many school and social club visits around the city.
Historic Maps of Aurora
This digital collection of historic maps shows the physical changes and growth of Aurora over several decades. They also illustrate changes in ward boundaries, street names, and, in some cases, building and business locations.

 Programs & Displays

Current Exhibits
  • Anna Williams
  • Anna Williams
  • Anna Williams
  • Anna Williams
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Anna williams

Anna Williams, a black resident of Aurora, successfully brought a case of racial discrimination to an Illinois circuit court in 1870. It was the first case of its kind in Illinois after the Civil War and the subsequent amendments to the Constitution.

Williams was traveling from Rockford, Illinois to Belvidere on the Chicago and Northwestern Railroad with a first-class ticket in August 1867. She was blocked from entering the ladies car by a brakeman. The man then proceeded to let several white women enter the car.

In the end, Williams won her case and was awarded $200 in damages. The Illinois Supreme Court affirmed the circuit court's ruling, framing the issue in terms of racial exclusion.

Genealogy Walk-In Assistance

Stop by any of our locations for genealogy assistance with our experts! Diane and Maxine Liesinger, have been working on their own genealogy since 1978. They also attend several conferences a year to keep up with and extend their knowledge of new genealogy procedures and interests. 

Genealogy & Local History Events
Mon, Mar 02, 10:00am - 12:30pm
Santori Library - N231 - Wegman Local History Room
Join our experts for one-on-one help with your family history questions, weather permitting.

Tue, Mar 03, 1:00pm - 3:00pm
West Branch - Small Conference Room
Need help with your family tree? Ask our expert volunteers, Maxine and Diane Liesinger, whose 62 combined years of experience can help you with your family history questions.

Thu, Mar 05, 6:00pm - 7:30pm
Eola Road Branch - Eola Second Floor
Need help with your family tree? Ask our expert volunteers, Maxine and Diane Liesinger, whose 62 combined years of experience can help you with your family history questions.

Sat, Mar 07, 1:30pm - 3:00pm
Santori Library - N125/N126 Combo
Join our genealogy expert, Maxine Liesinger, as she discusses the many changes that have taken place with the U. S. census since the first count was taken in 1790.

Sat, Mar 07, 3:00pm - 4:00pm
Eola Road Branch - Eola Large Meeting Room
Join us to learn about the women of Chicago who built hospitals and schools, contributed to the arts, created the progressive women’s club movement and more. In celebration of Women's History Month!

Mon, Mar 16, 10:00am - 12:30pm
Santori Library - N231 - Wegman Local History Room
Join our experts for one-on-one help with your family history questions, weather permitting.

Contact us

Didn't find what you were looking  for? Email us or call (630) 264-4122.