Monday, January 23, 2012

Elgin Area Repositories

Guest Author, Becky Higgins

If you have ancestors from the Elgin, Illinois area, here are a couple of places you’ll really want to check out.

The Gail Borden Public Library ( is a treasure not to be missed. Their holdings include how-to guides, name indexes, family and county histories, cemetery indexes, census records, death records, and over one hundred thirty-five years of local newspapers on microfilm. The microfilmed Elgin death records contain wonderful information that may not be found anywhere else.

The Elgin Genealogical Society has been gleaning vital record information from the microfilmed local newspapers found at Gail Borden for many years. Gail Borden personnel and volunteers have and continue to include these findings in the online Local Newspaper Index. With the information found in the index, the researcher may go to the newspaper and find the actual announcement/obituary.

Also, at Gail Borden in the Genealogy Section is a card file of information found in the Watch Word—the newsletter published by the old Elgin Watch Factory. If you have ancestors who worked for the Watch Factory, be sure to check that file.

The Elgin Area Historical Museum is a genealogical gem for those with Elgin roots. There you will find original probate and divorce records for Elgin Township (Kane County), some Elgin mortuary records, a vertical file of surnames researched by the Elgin Genealogical Society, Elgin histories, business directories, phone books, memoirs, and more. The museum is also strong in Elgin Watch holdings and general Elgin history. For more detailed information about location, hours of operation, and contact data, check them out at

Elgin has a very interesting history and delightful historic section. Just driving past those historic places brings to mind a slower, quieter time.

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