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 phone number(s) and email address if possible, and where you have already looked for information, if applicable. For genealogical requests, please include: family names, birth & death dates, homestead location, and other potentially helpful information. For service, if at all possible email that information to using the subject line “Library Research Request”. The staff or volunteer researcher assigned to your request will contact you if more information is required. When the research project is complete, you will be contacted and payment must be received before the materials will be sent. Our staff is limited, so fulfillment of your request may take our volunteer researchers and staff two weeks or more.

Note: For MCHS members and McHenry County K-12 students, research services are FREE.   (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 per hour.

Note: If you represent a for-profit commercial organization, the rate is $20 per hour


A $30 fee is charged, resulting in:

• A report detailing resources searched, with results

Note: Supporting photocopies may be provided.

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 maintaing organizational histories subject to certain GUIDELINES. A RESEARCHER'S RESOURCE GUIDE shows the library location of all these items. A staff member will assist researchers in locating documents and materials pertinent to their research needs.  VERTICAL FILE INDEX (updated November 2019) contains 58 pages and will help you access the scope of our extensive subject file holdings. The index represents the contents more than 80 legal-size file drawers, available for research purposes, when you visit our library in Union.

Click this link for a Bibliography of Reference Materials about McHenry County History


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.