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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.

 Programs & Displays

Current Exhibits
  • WWI
  • WWI
  • WWI
  • WWI
  • WWI
  • WWI
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November 11, 2019 marks the 101st anniversary of Armistice Day. Around 3,600 Aurora residents - about 10 percent of the population at the time - served in World War I. Aurora was among the many towns and cities that celebrated the news of the armistice. Still, members of the 129th infantry did not arrive home until June 1919. When their train stopped in Aurora on its way to Camp Grant, whistles and bells were sounded as the three passenger trains pulled into the station. Some 60,000 people from all over the Fox Valley had come to welcome the soldiers home!

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, Nov 25, 10:00am - 12:30pm
Santori Library
Join our experts for one-on-one help with your family history questions.

Tue, Nov 26, 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.

Contact us

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