Located on the second floor of the main library, the genealogy collection contains over 4,400 books and hundreds of reels of microfilm. The collection concentrates on Elgin and Kane County, Illinois, but also contains materials relating to twenty-five other states, mostly east of the Mississippi River, and five European countries.

Digital Preservation

On the second floor of the main library you can digitize your VHS, VHS-C, Mini-DV, Hi-8, 8mm/super 8mm film, Audio Cassette tapes, Kodak slides, negatives, photographs, and documents.  Our staff can help teach you how to use all of our equipment, just make sure to bring a USB drive/External Hard drive to save everything.  Walk ins welcome!

You can also digitize your vinyl records in Studio270’s Digital Media Lab. To learn more, click here.

Online Library Resources

In library use only

Elgin Area Memories is the starting point to access an online archive of historical Elgin Photographs and memorabilia from the local area. Details about local residents may be found in these publications.

Elgin Death Records
The Elgin, Illinois Death Records have been available on microfilm since 1995. Funding from the Elgin Genealogical Society and permission from the Elgin Heritage Commission has allowed this valuable resource to be digitized.

Recommended Links

The oldest and largest free genealogy site. Databases, internet mailing lists, and ways to contribute to others' research.

The best one-stop source for genealogy information on the state and county levels.

Cyndi's List
The most comprehensive list of genealogy links on the World Wide Web. Covers all family history subjects.

Crackerbarrel (Elgin History Museum's newsletter)
The Crackerbarrel is the Elgin History Museum's bimonthly member newsletter. It has a calendar of upcoming events, articles of historical interest, and updates on Museum projects and collections.

LDS Affiliate Library and Family Search

Gail Borden Public Library is a designated LDS (The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints) Affiliate Library. As an Affiliate Library, GBPL customers will have access to many, but not all, Family Search images that have been digitized from LDS's extensive microfilm collection. 

Access to the search process on Family Search does require creating a free account from that organization.

Back to the main research page

Getting Started

cover of genealogy handout

Download this guide to local resources. 

Local Newspapers Online

The Gail Borden Public Library is working on digitizing our communities historic Newspapers.  You can now view the online archive, of available content that is older than 95 years old. To see the full set of digitized newspapers , including current printings, you need to access it from the library.

Newspaper Index

The Elgin Newspaper and Vital Record’s Index is a searchable database of articles from the Courier News and Daily Herald for articles concerning Elgin. Try a keyword search for a name, place, or subject.


Back to the main research page


Chicago Tribune (1849-current)

 Courier News (1997-current)

One on One Assistance

The Elgin Genealogical Society Volunteers are happy to assist you on your next genealogy research project.  For more information you can contact the Elgin Genealogical Society via Email at elgingenealogy@gmail.com.

Monthly Schedule

  • 1st week of the month Tuesday 11:30am -1:30pm
  • 2nd week  of the month Thursday 9:30-11:30am
  • 3rd week of the month Wednesday 12:00pm-2:00pm