DeKalb County Genealogy Online - John J. Acardo, DeKalb County Clerk and Recorder

Community Links

Joseph F. Glidden Homestead & Historical Center

Joseph F. Glidden Homestead & Historical Center The Joseph F. Glidden Homestead & Historical Center at 921 W. Lincoln Hwy. in DeKalb, Illinois, is dedicated to telling an American story of migration, innovation, and philanthropy at the site where Joseph F. Glidden invented and first manufactured “The Winner” barbed wire.

The Joseph F. Glidden Homestead and Historical Center was established as a non-profit corporation in 1998 after the last Glidden to live in the home gave the site to the non-profit group. This historical treasure includes the original brick barn where barbed wire was first manufactured by Glidden in the mid-1870s, as well as his brick farm home constructed in 1861. Both buildings are listed on the National Register of Historic Places and designated as DeKalb Landmarks.

In 2010 the Phineas Vaughan Blacksmith Shop was opened in the former mill house to preserve the history of the DeKalb blacksmith who collaborated with Glidden on development of tools for manufacturing barbed wire. The Homestead’s blacksmith club provides living history demonstrations of the smithy craft periodically during the tour season. In 2011 a Welcome Center was opened in the former garage space attached to the home, which provides a welcoming entrance and enhanced visitor services.

The tour season runs from mid-May through November or by appointment year round. Visit our website for more information.

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Joiner History Room

The Joiner History Room is a cooperative effort of the DeKalb County Board of Supervisors, DeKalb County Finance Office, and DeKalb County citizens concerned with safeguarding their heritage represented by the historical documents in our collection. We are the official county archive. We are also an important source of genealogical information.

The Joiner History Room is staffed by volunteers under the direction of Sue Breese and funded by donations and grants. Our mission is to collect and provide access to all information.

We are located in the Sycamore Public Library and are open on Tuesdays and Thursdays, 10AM-3PM.

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Kishwaukee Valley Heritage Society

The Kishwaukee Valley Heritage Society is located in Genoa, Illinois and provides visitors a plethora of genealogical information.

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Waterman Area Heritage Society

The Waterman Area Heritage Society is located at 180 West Lincoln Highway in Waterman, Illinois. Regular hours are on Saturdays from 1 to 3, and by appointment. Outstanding displays include a complete barber shop which operated in Waterman for many years and as owned by John Kitner, father of our founding member, Bernice Kitner Kirkus. A telephone collection, a series of displays on Waterman High School graduates, original vintage town photographs, property abstracts, high school yearbooks, and a photo collection of our town's high school graduates are on display. A quarterly newsletter, "Town Clock Timeline, A Communiqué for Members of Waterman Area Heritage Society" informs members of updates and new resources.

The "Waterman Society Index" is available online for research and should then be followed up by a visit to the heritage society to see original documents available at the society.

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DeKalb County Historical-Genealogical Society

The DeKalb County Historical-Genealogical Society was formed in 1989 when two county groups valuing our county's rich heritage, the historical society and the genealogical society, combined forces to form a more vibrant organization with the express purpose of preserving and sharing our county's rich heritage.

The purpose of the DeKalb County Historical-Genealogical Society is to bring together people interested in history and genealogy, especially within DeKalb County, and to:

  • Promote a better understanding of these interwoven aspects of our community;
  • Promote programs that help illustrate the history and genealogy of DeKalb County; and
  • Lend assistance toward the preservation of county historical buildings, monuments, markers, sites, museum materials, and archival records.

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DeKalb Area Agricultural Heritage Association (DAAHA)

DeKalb Area Agricultural Heritage Association The DeKalb Area Agricultural Heritage Association (DAAHA) is dedicated to sharing the history of agriculture through exhibits, collections, and outreach programs. We are also committed to fostering historic stewardship and civic responsibility among the community as well as providing a hands-on experience to further expand educational understanding of local history and museum work through service learning and volunteer work. Come visit us at 111 South Second Street, Suite 204 in Dekalb, IL, or call us at 815-756-8737.

Mission Statement: DAAHA is dedicated to collecting, preserving, and sharing with people of all ages, the storied history of agriculture in northern Illinois.

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Regional History Center

The Regional History Center’s goal is to acquire, preserve, and make available to the public the most significant historical records of the eighteen northern counties of Illinois, excluding Cook County. Since 1964 the Center has evolved from a small university archive to a multifaceted research center containing three related sets of historical records available to researchers: Regional Collections, University Archives, and Local Government Records.

Regional Collections consists of original historical records generated by private individuals, farmers and their organizations, businesses, state and local politicians, women’s groups, ethnic and migrant organizations, churches, and labor unions.

The University Archives serves as the repository for all official records of Northern Illinois University and consist of materials pertaining to the history, organization, and administration of the entire university community.

The Center’s Local Government Records collection is part of the Illinois Regional Archives Depository (IRAD) system administered by the Illinois State Archives. The Regional History Center at NIU serves as one of seven regional depositories throughout Illinois involved in preserving local public records and making them available to researchers. Types of records in this collection may include vital statistics, tax records, circuit court case records, probate records, school board minutes, and naturalization papers.

The Center is located in room 400 of Founders Memorial Library on Northern Illinois University’s campus in DeKalb, Illinois. Our office hours are Monday through Friday from 8:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. and 1:00 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. Please feel free to contact the reference desk at 815-753-1779 or check out our website at: if you have questions concerning the Center or our collections.

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DeKalb County Gen Web

The DeKalb County Gen Web site is part of the Illinois Gen Web and the US Gen Web. These sites were developed to provide free genealogy websites for genealogical research in every county and every state in the United States. Volunteers at the county level are responsible for providing this information. DeKalb County’s current coordinator is Sheri Baker.

Learn more about Gen Web at the State and National level:

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Stone Mill Museum

The Stone Mill Museum at 315 E. Railroad St., Sandwich, IL 60548 is a 4-floor museum of local historical items. The building is a 3-story stone structure from 1859 that once was a steam powered grist mill.

The building was donated to the newly formed Sandwich Historical Society in the mid 1960's and opened as a museum in 1969.

It is open most Sundays 1-4 p.m. from April to October. Tours are available by appointment. There is no admission fee, but donations are welcome. It is located just east of the downtown area of Sandwich.

Contact information - Sandwich Historical Society, PO Box 82, Sandwich, IL 60548 or contact Joan Hardekopf at (815) 786-2513, email

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Sycamore History Museum

The Sycamore History Museum was founded in 1999. With the generosity of many people's time, talents and financial contributions the Society opened their first museum at 215 W. Elm Street in 2000.

In August 2005, the Society hired their first executive director, Michelle Donahoe. She has a Master's Degree in Public History from Loyola University that includes training in archives, education, exhibits, and grant writing.

In June 2009, the Museum opened at it permanent location, 1730 N. Main Street with "Journey Stories" a traveling Smithsonian exhibit provided by the Museum on Main Street. Over 2000 people from throughout the region visited and attended programs.

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Don't see your organization listed?

Contact the County Clerk & Recorder's office to add your Historical Society or Genealogical Society to the list!.