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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
  • Aurora Zouaves
  • Aurora Zouaves
  • Aurora Zouaves
  • Aurora Zouaves
  • Aurora Zouaves
  • Aurora Zouaves
  • Aurora Zouaves
  • Aurora Zouaves
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aurora zouaves

The Aurora Zouaves, a military close-order drill team, was formed in 1887. By 1896, wins in successive competitions earned them the title, "Champions of the World." From 1897 to 1906, the Aurora Zouaves were famous the world over. The team toured with Buffalo Bill's Wild West Show and with Forepaugh & Sells Brothers Circus. The Zouaves also toured Europe on their own in 1901-02, playing before thousands of spectators and the crown heads of Europe.

From Legacy of Resilience, by Patricia A. Pape

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, Feb 03, 10:00am - 12:30pm
Santori Library - N231 - Wegman Local History Room
Join our experts for one-on-one help with your family history questions, weather permitting.

Tue, Feb 04, 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.

Thu, Feb 06, 6:00pm - 7:30pm
Eola Road Branch
Need help with your family tree? Ask our expert volunteers, Diane and Maxine Liesinger, whose years of experience can help you with your family history questions. No registration.

Mon, Feb 10, 6:30pm - 7:30pm
Santori Library - N126 - Alarm Detection System, Inc. Meeting Room
Ginger Frere will present a wide variety of maps that can be used to tell the story of Illinois and will provide suggestions for finding maps to tell your family story.

Mon, Feb 17, 10:00am - 12:30pm
Santori Library - N231 - Wegman Local History Room
Join our experts for one-on-one help with your family history questions, weather permitting.

Contact us

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