Online Genealogy Research Services from Your Library
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.
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.
RIHS Digital Yearbooks - Internet Archive
Rock Island High School Watchtower Yearbooks Online - 1911 to present.
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.
Helpful Links for Genealogy Research
- National Archives: Beginning Your Genealogical Research
- Illinois Digital Newspapers: Argus 1889 - 1915
- Rock Island County Historical Society
- Rock Island County Illinois Genealogical Society
- Upper Mississippi River Valley Archive
- Illinois Birth, Death, and Other Records
- Illinois Genealogy Trails
- Illinois State Archives
- The ILGen Web Project
- Census Online
- Social Security Death Index
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:
Upper Mississippi Valley Photo Archive Image Request
You may also open a research request by phone, email or mail to the Reference Department:
- 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.