Genealogy & Local History

Ancestry Library Edition

Ancestry Library Edition is available only in the main library and Hinkston branch.

Access an unprecedented online collection of information about individuals from North America, the United Kingdom, Europe, Australia, and more!  Answers await everyone—whether professional or hobbyist, expert or novice, genealogist or historian—inside the more than 7,000 available databases. HerWaukegan Local History Pagee, you can unlock the story of you with sources like censuses, vital records, immigration records, family histories, military records, court and legal documents, directories, photos, maps, and more.

Chicago Tribute

From historical issues and events, like the U.S. Civil War, immigration, industrial developments, race relations, and World War I and II; to today’s headlines, you can search full-text articles from the Chicago Tribune. Coverage dates back to 1849 (as Chicago Daily Tribune and Chicago Press and Tribune). Historical issues through 2012 can be viewed as full-page scans of the print edition. Publicly available content from journal articles, books, conference papers, and reports is also included.


Fold3 Library Edition by Ancestry provides convenient access to US military records, including the stories, photos, and personal documents of the men and women who served.  With content from the Revolutionary War onward, this continually-growing collection is an invaluable research resource for historians, genealogists, researchers, military enthusiasts, veterans and their families, teachers, and battle reenactors.  The Fold3 name comes from a traditional flag folding ceremony in which the third fold is made in honor and remembrance of veterans who served in defense of their country and to maintain peace throughout the world.


Discover the amazing history of you with this comprehensive treasury of American genealogical sources—rich in unique primary sources, local and family histories, convenient research guides, interactive census maps, and more.  With more than 4.4 billion records, it delivers an essential collection of genealogical and historical sources—with coverage dating back to the 1700s—that can help people find their ancestors and discover a place’s past.

Lake County News-Sun Digital Archive

Read today’s news, explore local history, and catch up on current events with the digital archive of Lake County News-Sun!  You can search it from a computer in the library or remotely through the library website – all you need is your library card! Choose from the full-color digital archive, which covers 2018 through the current issue, or the text-only archive which goes back to 1997. Archival copies of full newspaper issues prior to 2019 (including coverage before 1997) are available on microfilm inside the library. Please see a librarian for assistance.

Looking for an obituary or other past news article?

If you’re looking for an obituary that was published in a Waukegan newspaper, you can email a librarian to look up the obituary you’re seeking and send you a copy. This service is free! All we need you to provide is the person’s name, his or her date of death, and your contact information. You also may come into the library yourself to browse through past newspapers on microfilm and to print or email articles. Here’s what’s available:

  • Lake County News-Sun, 1845-1900 (This range has some gaps.)
  • Lake County News-Sun, 1900-present
  • Chicago Tribune, 1972-2000

Death Records from the Lake County Clerk’s Office

If you need an obituary but don’t have the person’s date of death, request a death record from the Lake County Clerk’s Office. Copies for genealogical purposes are available at the reduced cost of $4.

Database of Illinois Death Certificates, 1916-1950

Use this database to find death certificates filed with the Illinois Department of Public Health between 1916 and 1950. Once you uncover an ancestor’s death certificate, come visit us at the library to search for his or her obituary on microfilm. This database is maintained by the Illinois State Archives in Springfield.

Zion Genealogical Society of Lake County

Find genealogical information for the communities of Waukegan, Zion, Beach Park, Gurnee, North Chicago, Park City, Wadsworth, Wildwood, and Winthrop Harbor at the Zion-Benton Public Library.  The society volunteers are at the Zion-Benton Library to assist on Monday mornings, from 10:00 to 12:00 Noon, and on Tuesday & Wednesday evenings, from 7:00 to 9:00 P.M.

Looking for another community? See a list of Lake County’s genealogical or historical societies here.

Lake County Genealogical Society

The Lake County Genealogical Society (also known as LCIGS) is a great place to start the quest for your family history. Connect with other genealogy researchers and get tips on conducting your research. The Genealogy Room is at Vernon Hills Village Hall, 290 Evergreen Dr., Vernon Hills, IL 60061. Please call 847-918-3584 to verify that one of the volunteers is on duty. Contact LCIGS by mail at PO Box 998, Mundelein, IL 60060-0998.