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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. It houses materials related to the history of Aurora, Illinois as well as genealogy reference books. The purpose of the local history collection is to preserve materials that document the history of Aurora and to make these materials available for research. The library holds these materials in trust for future generations, and therefore they can be examined in the local history room only. 

The Wegman Local History Room is located on the second floor of the Santori Public Library in downtown Aurora.


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Archival Boxes
APLD's archival boxes contain primary source materials on a variety of topics. Find a box and folder listing in the link below.
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.
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.
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.
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

 Programs & Displays

Media Coverage of African Americans in Aurora: 1921

Please note: This exhibit consists of several articles that were published in the Aurora Beacon-News in 1921. These texts contain language that may be harmful to some readers. As primary resources, these historical materials are evidence of racial bias and racist attitudes prevalent in the early 20th century and in no way speak to current APLD values and practices. Naming and acknowledging injustice in our local history, as represented by these primary resources, is our responsibility and an important step towards holding ourselves and others accountable, supporting our community, and advancing toward equity.
  • African Americans in Aurora
  • African Americans in Aurora
  • African Americans in Aurora
  • African Americans in Aurora
  • African Americans in Aurora
  • African Americans in Aurora
  • African Americans in Aurora
  • African Americans in Aurora
  • African Americans in Aurora
  • African Americans in Aurora
  • African Americans in Aurora
  • African Americans in Aurora

Place your cursor over the image to pause the slideshow.

Virtual Programs

African Americans in Aurora: 1921-1955

 Baker Broderick All the World's a Stage 

 The Cemeteries of Aurora Part I 

 The Cemeteries of Aurora Part II 

 The Cemeteries of Aurora Part III 

 City in Crisis: Aurora and the Spanish Influenza 1918 

 City in Crisis: Aurora and the Spanish Influenza Second Wave 

 George Grant Elmslie and The Crucible of Creation 

 History of the Aurora Public Library 

 Introduction to Online LGBTQ+ Archives 

 The Language of Tombstones 

 Digital Resources

APLD Indexes

 Address Conversion Index 

 Beacon Obituary Index 

 Cemetery Index 

 GAR Post 20 Deaths 

 Kane County Marriage License Index 

 St. Nicholas Marriages 

 War Veterans and Aurora Burials Jan 30, 1927 

Get Started with Family History

Ancestry Library Edition
Powered by, the number one source for family history online. In-library use only.
Family Search Online Classes
Family Search Online Classes
Family Search offers hundreds of free online classes in multiple languages.
Beginning Research Techniques

Leccion 1: Elementos Fundamentales para la Historia Familiar

Where do I Begin? Getting Started with African American Research

Census Tracking for Beginners

U.S. Census Research: Techniques and Strategies

Registros Civiles y Censos

Unites States Research: Midwest Region
A series of webinars on the Midwest, including an overview of Illinois.
The Family History Guide
The Family History Guide
The Family History Guide is a free learning, research, training, & activities center for family history.
Getting Started with Ancestry
Ancestry is a leading resource for online family history & genealogy. Search billions of records and discover your family story. Accessible for free at the library.
Getting Started with Family Search
FamilySearch is a nonprofit organization and website offering genealogical records, education, and software. It is operated by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and is closely connected with the Family History Department of the church.
Getting Started with Find My Past
Find My Past offers a 14-day free trial. Trace your ancestry and build a family tree by researching extensive birth records, census data, obituaries and more.
Getting Started with My Heritage
Grow your family tree, find new relatives, and explore billions of historical records. Accessible for free with your library card.
Family Activities
Try some of these family history activities and see how the past and present can come together to strengthen family relationships, build your family tree, and make meaningful, lasting, fun family memories.
Individual Activities
Nothing makes family history more meaningful than personal involvement. Your life can be enriched through family history activities.
Teen Activities
Family history activities are a way to get to know those who have gone before, write about their lives, and to learn from and be inspired by their experiences. Teens can also connect with living family members, create and write their own family history, and make fun memories.
Kids Corner
Have fun with family history! Play cool games and discover some great activities for family history.
Research by Country

Heritage Hub
Heritage Hub
Explore your family history with the premier collection of U.S. obituaries and death notices for in-depth genealogical research from 1704 – today.
National Genealogical Society
Getting Started
Includes research tips and hints, organizing your work, how to build your family tree, and more!
Go to the Next Level
Includes online courses, book recommendations, and articles.
Building Advanced Skills
Among the important skills outlined in this section, family history researchers will learn techniques for solving difficult problems of identity.
Free Genealogy Resources
Find free genealogy charts, templates, and tutorials on the US Census and How to Borrow Books from the NGS Book Loan Collection.
United States National Archives
US National Archives Exhibits
The United States National Archives has many interesting digital exhibits to explore.
Discovering the Civil War

The Deadly Virus: The Influenza Epidemic of 1918

Powers of Persuasion: Posters from World War II


Listen to the BBC documentary, which focuses on the growing Latinx community in Aurora, IL.

Genealogy & Local History Resources

 African American History Resources 

 LGBTQ+ Archives Digital Resources 

Contact us

Didn't find what you were looking  for?

Email us or call (630) 264-4122.