Research Library

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Note: Please schedule an appointment, at least 24 hours in advance.

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 NOTE: Additional mailing and copying charges could apply.

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.



For other information, including general guidelines, photocopy restrictions and fees, copyright rules and the purchase of digital images, please click below to read our 

Research Library GUIDELINES


In September, 2022, our Library Committee and Staff celebrated the library's 40th Anniversary of service to our constituents. An extensive eight-page commemorative brochure was edited and prepared by the committee for the event.

Click below to view it.

Commemorative 40th Library History Brochure



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. 

These lists give an idea of the information available for research purposes when you visit our library in Union.

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.

The 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. 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.

We also maintain select organizations' records subject to certain Organization Record Guidelines.

Another valuable resource: 





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.