Genealogy Resources

Wilmette Public Library has many resources available to help you get started researching your family's history. 

Materials in the Local History Room 

Biography files, photographs, city directories, local business files, oral histories, yearbooks, and more. Learn more about the Local History Room’s resources. Most Local History materials, with the exception of yearbooks, require an appointment to view. Contact EvaAnne Johnson to schedule an appointment.

Local History Digital Collection

Some materials from our Local History Room are available online. See our digital collection, as well as search the index of our newspapers and vertical files, on our Local History website

Local Newspapers

Including the Wilmette Life, Wilmette Beacon, Lake Shore News, and Local News. Learn more about our local newspapers

Obituary Index

Obituaries from the local newspapers are indexed for the years 1898 - 1939 (many early issues are missing) and 1955 - present on the library’s Local History website

Reference books and research guides

Available in the Nonfiction section at 929.1, and in the genealogy reference section.


Magazines such as Family Tree Magazine and Internet Genealogy, as well as Illinois Heritage, the Journal of the Illinois State Historical Society, and The quarterly : journal of the Illinois State Genealogical Society. Look for current issues in the Periodicals Room.


Access genealogy databases that may help you with your research, including, HeritageQuest, and FindMyPast. Use the links below to access them.


The Library's Technology Center has scanners that you may use if you want to digitize your old family photos or documents. Visit the Printing & Copying page to learn more.

Genealogy Databases

Access these databases within the library, or remotely with a Wilmette library card.

Chicago Tribune Historical 1849-1986

Chicago Tribune Historical

The Chicago Tribune offers full page and article images with searchable full text back to the first issue (April 23, 1849).

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Find My Past

Find My Past

Find My Past hosts billions of searchable genealogical records, drawing from census, directory, and historical information.

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Fold3 in blue print

Provides convenient access to military records, including the stories, photos, and personal documents of the men and women who served. Offers a wealth of searchable original documents for genealogists.

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Heritage Quest Online

Heritage Quest Online

HeritageQuest Online is a comprehensive treasury of American genealogical sources, including unique primary sources, local and family histories, and finding aids.


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Explore your family history with the premier collection of U.S. obituaries and death notices for in-depth genealogical research from 1704 – today.

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New York Times Historical 1851-2017

New York Times Historical 1851-2017

Full-text content including articles and obituaries from the New York Times archive, covering 1851-2017. 

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Newspaper Archive

Newspaper Archive is a historical newspaper database that contains tens of millions of newspaper pages from 1607 to present.

View Resource provides access to historical newspapers from locations across the U.S. and worldwide.





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