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, Hi-8, 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 our digital media lab.  To make an appointment click here.

Online Library Resources

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.

Genealogy Basics Course
Take this free six-week online course, with a real professor, using your Gail Borden Library card.  This class will help you learn everything you need to get started on researching your family history.

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.

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 a free account from that organization.  Users may access the Family Search registration process here.

Researchers with Existing Family Search accounts may log-in from this page.

Back to the main research page

Getting Started

cover of genealogy handout

Download this guide to local resources. 


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.


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.  A schedule of volunteer availability is at the Main Library on the second floor by the microfilm machines.  One on one assistance is temporarily unavailable due to social distancing recommendations.  They are at the Gail Borden library on the second floor by the microfilm and genealogy collection.

For more information you can contact the Elgin Genealogical Society via Email at elgingenealogy@gmail.com.