Fine Free in '23!

RIPL cardholders now have fine-free lending status. For questions about this new policy, please see the How Do I  section, or click the Fine Free Policy box to read our post on this exclusive benefit for RIPL cardholders! 

Genealogy & Local History

Downtown library building side view

Online Genealogy Research Services from Your Library

Ancestry

Ancestry Library Edition

Access over a billion names in hundreds of databases, including U.S. Census records (1790-1930); military records; court, land and probate records; vital and church records; directories and passenger lists. Only accessible inside the library.

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Heritage Quest

HeritageQuest

Discover your amazing family history. You can use this service from home with an Internet connection and a valid Rock Island Library card or from computers at Rock Island Libraries.

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RIHS Digital Yearbooks - Internet Archive

Rock Island school logo red R & I with yellow outline

Rock Island High School Watchtower Yearbooks Online - 1911 to present.

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Library Genealogy and History Research

Our Reference Department can help you find print and online materials, file interlibrary loan requests, and conduct genealogical research. Our holdings include: 

  • Article and newspaper indexes
  • Microfilmed records at our Downtown Library location 
  • City directories (1855-present) 
  • Rock Island Argus (1866-present) 
  • Selected magazines and newspapers 
  • Limited Obituary Index for the Rock Island Argus
  • Plat Maps
  • Biographical Files
  • Postcard Collection
  • Rock Island High School Yearbooks
  • Books by local authors

RIHS Yearbooks Digital Collection

RIPL Historical Room Digital Archive

Reference help is available during regular hours at the Downtown Library, by phone at 309-732-7341 or by email.

Finding Items in the Historical Room

Local History Research Room 

With the exception of microfilm, many of the resources you'll need are in the Rock Island Library Historical Room at our Downtown Library. The room is open Thursdays from 1:00 pm to 4:00 pm. A Reference Department staff member is available at those times to help your locate the historical and genealogical research items you need.

Research & Reproduction Requests

Staff research time is also available for a fee. Staff may help you with: 

  • Obituaries - $5.00 per obituary
  • Research - $15.00 per hour, 1 hour minimum

Checks or money orders should be made out to the Rock Island Public Library. Completing the following Research Request form(s) will help us better identify your needs: 

Research Request Form

Upper Mississippi Valley Photo Archive Image Request

You may also open a research request by phone, email or mail to the Reference Department:

  • 309-732-7341
  • Email
  • Rock Island Library, Attn: Reference, 401 19th Street, Rock Island, IL 61201

Requests are handled in order as received. Requests that require more time or access to resources we do not offer may be referred to the Rock Island County Historical Society.