John L. Raymond Research Library
The Society’s research collections are housed in the John L. Raymond Research Library, located on the second floor of Lilac Cottage in Bowen Park. The library is named for the man who first appreciated the importance of collecting the photographic and archival history of Waukegan.
The Research Library now has a new copy machine thanks to the assistance of of members contributing to the Library Equipment Fund. Our old machine served us well for the last 10 years, but it had become an antique (no, we didn’t add it to our collections). The library still needs a microfilm reader and hopefully one will be found or purchased in the near future. The staff at the library has been busy with the start of the inventory of the archives.
The staff is currently going through all books on the shelves and evaluating if they fit the scope of pertaining to the “research of Waukegan.” With our limited space, some books will not be able to remain on the shelves.
Research questions should be directed to Beverly Millard, Head Librarian. Leave a message at (847) 360-4772, write to the library at Lilac Cottage, or email Beverly Millard directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Saturdays by appointment
Closed Christmas Day and New Year's Day
In case of bad weather, especially snow, please call to make sure the Library will be open.
Head Librarian: Beverly Millard
Lilac Cottage, Bowen Park
1911 North Sheridan Road
Waukegan, IL 60087
Please keep us in mind when cleaning out your house or your relatives' houses. We accept a wide range of items. Photographs and postcards of Waukegan, especially buildings, are always needed.
Right now we are looking for Waukegan telephone directories from 1913-1923 and from 1957-1967.
Lake County Information
Information about births, deaths, and marriages can be obtained through the Lake County Clerk's office: countyclerk.lakecountyil.gov. Uncertified or "for geneological purposes only" copies are available at a reduced cost.
Marriage Licenses begin in 1839
Birth Records begin in 1871
Death Records begin in 1877
The Recorder of Deeds Office also has Lake County information: www.lakecountyil.gov/recorder/.
Information about wills and naturalizations in Lake County are held by the Office of the Clerk of the Circuit Court: www.lakecountyil.gov/circuitclerk/. Copies may be obtained in person or by mail.
Include as much information as you can for the person you are researching (name, birth date, where from, approximately when they arrived, and approximately when they were naturalized).
The fee is $5.00 per name searched (please confirm this information before sending payment by mail). This fee includes the search and the copy cost. It is not refundable if no information is found. Payment must be in cash (in person) or money order (by mail). Personal checks are not accepted. Include a self-addressed stamped envelope if inquiring by mail.
Clerk of the Circuit Court
18 N. County St.
Waukegan, IL 60085
Research Materials Available
The following is a sampling of research materials available at the library. You can also download the list of materials (pdf).
1861, 1873, 1885, 1907, 1913, 1926, 1935, 1936, 1944, 1963, 1976, & 1977
Books and Directories
Early Death Notices of Lake County, IL 1845-1879
First Land Purchases of Lake County-Mogg
List of Illinois Place Names-I.S.H.S.
Migration, Emigration, Immigration Vol. I & II-Miller
Newspapers in the Illinois State Historical Library
Peterson Funeral Home Records 1865-1945-L.C.G.S.
Tobin Funeral Home Records 1876-1934
Treasures From Northern Illinois-Mogg
(only a partial listing of collection)
Waukegan & Lake County
1810, 1818, 1820, 1840, 1850, 1860, 1870, 1880, 1900
Converse, Coulson, Darnall, Drew, Hazen, Jack, Knoll, Lush, Niblack, Sheldon, Strang, Tiernan, Wait, Walsh, White, and Whyte
People File (many obituaries included)
Waukegan Historic District Homes
Proper Name and Subject Files
Waukegan & Lake County
Bridge to the Past-Wadsworth
A History of Lake County-Halsey
History of Lake County-Partridge
History of Slovenian Community 1893-1952
History of Waukegan-Holmes & Darrow
History of Warren Township-Lawson
Historical Sketches of Lake County-Haines
Historical Highlights of the Waukegan Area-Osling
How It All Began-Meads
Illinois of Today and It's Progressive Cities
Immaculate Conception Parish 1841-1949
Lake County, Illinois-Virginia Mullery
Lake County Roots-News-Sun 1997
Makers of Illinois
Meehan's Settlement (Irish in Shields Township)
Men of Illinois-Halliday 1902
Old Waukegan Days-Dunn 1929
The Past and Present of Lake County-Le Baron
Portrait and Biographical Album of Lake County-1891
St. Patrick's Church-Wadsworth 1849-1949
South Side Memories-Osling
Waukegan, It's Past & Present-League of Womens Voters
Waukegan's Legacy, Our Landmarks Revealed-1976
Waukegan Scenes, Past & Present-Gregory 1977
The Best Ever-Waukegan Theatres 1865-1919 -J. Neal
Journal Of The Illinois State Historical Society
Includes early issues (not complete) and indexes
Victorian Homes: 1982-present
Old House Journal: 1986-present
Old House Interiors: 1996-present
Sanborn Insurance Maps 1912 and 1917, 1929
Sanborn Insurance Maps 1885-1949 (microfilm)
Several volumes including
Adjutant General's Report of Illinois (Civil War)
Index to 1862 Military Census of Lake County-L.C.G.S.
Roll of Honor, Record of Burial Places in Illinois 1929 (2 vol.)
Wright's Official History of the Spanish-American War
Large collection includes
Dahl 1885-1930, Yard 1875-1894, D.A.R., Military Personnel Photo & Scrapbook 1942-1948, Waukegan Women's Club, West School
Waukegan High School 1898-1990
Holy Child High School
Diaries, Post Cards, etc.