Researching at Downers Grove Public Library

Author: Brenda Leyndyke / Labels: , ,

Our daughter, Kirsten, was performing in a musical in the Chicago area a couple of years ago and my  husband and I went to see it.  We decided to take advantage of a Chicago trip and do some family history research while there.  We decided on Downers Grove Public Library in Downers Grove, Illinois, just west of Chicago.

The Downers Grove library has a wonderful family history section.  This section covers the topics of:  general history of the area, atlas and maps, yearbooks, telephone directories, cemetery records, census records, newspapers and more.  In addition, there is a local history information file available.  Check out their website if you are planning a visit.  It has lots of local history information on it.  I used their card catalog search to prepare for our trip. 

Our research concentrated on Kirk's great, great grandfather Quirin Schmitt.  Luckily, he was a local businessman and we found quite a bit on him at the library.  The newspapers on microfilm start around 1891, with limited issues from 1891-1893; and from 1895-present they have a very good selection.  We found a large obituary for Quirin Schmitt in the Downers Grove Reporter.  You have to ask for the microfilm at the desk; but they were very helpful and pleasant to work with.

The cemetery records for DuPage county seemed quite complete.  I found all the records I was looking for without any trouble.  Other records I found were biographical in nature.  The library has "History of Dupage County, Illinois by Rufus Blanchard which was great.  It is available as a free ebook at google books. 

Another helpful resource was the book, "Downers Grove 1832-1982" by Montrew Dunham and Pauline Wandschneider.  It was this book where I learned about a 1893 fire that destroyed the Querin Schmitt livery and seven other buildings.

We had planned to visit the Wheaton Public Library that day too.  We were so busy at Downers Grove we never made it.  If you have Downers Grove or DuPage County, Illinois ancestors be sure to give the Downers Grove Public Library a look.


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