Research Library

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The library hours by appointment only.

Research Requests
A request for research must be made by email or postal mail. Please include contact information including your name, phone number, email address, the subject of your request, and list references you may have already searched to avoid duplication of information. For genealogical requests include: family names, birth & death dates, homestead location, and other potentially helpful information. Send your request to: or mail it to: McHenry County Historical Society, P.O. Box 434 Union, IL 60180. The staff or volunteer researcher assigned to your project may contact you for more information. Research requests for nonmembers cost $30, payable below or by check.

Please allow 2 – 3 weeks for the volunteer researcher to complete your project. You will receive a written report by the researcher and scans of supporting documents such as maps, newspaper clippings, pages from history books, photos, letters, etc. by email.  If you are submitting a request by mail, your report and documents will be copied and mailed to you.

Note: Research services are FREE for MCHS members and McHenry County K-12 students. (Photocopy and scanning fees still apply)

For non-members, this table details our research fee structure:

When you visit the MCHS Library for research

When MCHS staff or volunteers perform research


Individuals and those from nonprofit organizations gain Guided Access (described above) to our library at $10 an hour.

Note: If you represent a for-profit commercial organization, and are not a business partner, the rate is $20 an hour.


A $30 fee is charged, resulting in:

• A report detailing resources searched, with results

Note: Supporting photocopies may be provided.

LIbrary Visit Appointments are currently unavailable due to MCHS COVID-19 guidelines.  Call our office for more information: 815-923-2267



For other information, including general guidelines, photocopy restrictions and fees, copyright rules and  the purchase of digital images, click HERE.



The McHenry County Historical Society's Local History Research Library contains an extensive array of information pertaining to McHenry County history including but not limited to subject files, biography files, photograph files, obituary files, local history books, scrapbooks, diaries, tax records, patentee books, plat maps, yearbooks, telephone directories and much more.  We also maintain select organizations' records subject to certain GUIDELINES. A RESEARCHER'S RESOURCE GUIDE shows the library location of these items. A staff member will assist researchers in locating documents and materials pertinent to their research needs.  VERTICAL FILE HEADINGS LIST  represents our extensive files on subjects and businesses. The BIOGRAPHICAL FILE HEADINGS LIST includes a list of file folders in the Biography vertical file and covers information we have about the people of McHenry County. These lists give an idea of the information available for research purposes when you visit our library in Union. The surname, if common, may have more than one folder, the second or third one with a geographic location added,. You also may find additional information under the “see references” heading.





The copyright law of the United States (Title 17 United States Code) governs the making of photocopies or other reproductions of copyrighted material.

Under certain conditions specified in the law, libraries and archives are authorized to furnish a photocopy or other reproduction. One of these specified conditions is that the photocopy or reproduction is not to be "used for any other purpose other than private study, scholarship, or research." If a user makes a request for, or later uses, a photocopy or reproduction for purposes in excess of "fair use," that user may be liable for copyright infringement.
The institution reserves the right to refuse to accept a copy order, if in its judgment, fulfillment of the order would involve violation of copyright law.