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Local History

What JPL has to Offer...

The Genealogy/Local History collection at the Ottawa Street Branch, includes:

  • Joliet and/or Will County history books

  • Newspapers on microfilm from 1846-present

  • Will County directories 1859-60 and 1872-73

  • Joliet city directories 1875-present

  • Joliet telephone directories from 1908

  • Will County atlases/plat books.

  • Joliet high school and IL university yearbooks

  • Funeral brochures for African-Americans of Joliet and Lockport, Illinois 1968-2012.

  • Archival materials concerning Joliet and Will County history

  • Computers for local history, genealogy and digitization

  • Printed obituary indexes for 1915-18 and 1976-2012

Researching Your Family History

Visit the Ottawa Street Branch and search items in our Genealogy/Local History collection. Microfilm copies can be made at no charge.

Library staff will search microfilmed editions of Joliet newspapers for obituaries, marriage and birth announcements, or other articles of interest. Due to the large number of pages published by Joliet newspapers, we can only do a search if you can give us the month and year that the event occurred.

Requests can be made by calling the Adult Services department of the Ottawa Street Branch at 815-740-2666, or by using our online Reference Request form.

Genealogy Databases

Free Genealogy Resources

These free resources can help you build your family tree:

History of the Ottawa Street Branch


Main Library image

Joliet History: Historic Summary of the Mexican Population in Joliet

This document was written by Navor Rodriguez and translated by Rebeca Ulloa and describes the history of the early Mexican population in Joliet. The author writes about social clubs, religion, the Depression Period and activities from 1905-1953.



Joliet History-Ottawa Street Branch Blue Prints


This collection of photographs from the Burnham side of the building, or the original 1903 building, showcases the original blue print plans.

Joliet History: Grand Masquerade

Grand Masquerade

Photocopies of the invitation for the Joliet Library Associations "Grand Masquerade" on February 7, 1877. The event was a fundraiser to buy books for the library.

Joliet History: Postcard Collection


This collection of post cards features many historic Joliet elements including the I&M Canal, Old Jefferson Street Bridge and of course the Joliet Public Library.

Joliet History: Tour Brochures

This collection features information brochures and literature from different organizations in Joliet collected over the years.

  • CAPA
  • Illinois Canal Society
  • This Olde House Walk
  • Victorian Manor-Jacob Henry Mansion
  • Contemporary Community Public Art Brochure
  • Joliet Jewish Congregation
  • Look at Us: Joliet Jewish Congregation
  • Joliet Cemeteries

    Catholic Diocese of Joliet
    16555 Weber Rd, Crest Hill, IL

    St. Cyril and Methodius Cemetery
    St. John's Cemetery
    St. Joseph's Cemetery
    St. Patrick's Cemetery

    Mount Olivet Cemetery Family Service Center
    1320 E. Cass St.

    Elmhurst Cemetery
    1212 E. Washington St.

    Mount Mariah Cemetery
    Joliet Jewish Congregation

    Mound Cemetery
    18750 Cherry Hill Rd.

    Joliet Cemeteries

    Oakwood Cemetery
    1137 E. Cass St.

    Zarley Cemetery (DesPlaines Cemetery)
    Patterson Road
    Contact Joliet Township
    175 W. Jefferson St.

    St. Peter Lutheran Cemetery
    1024 E. Cass Street

    St. Peter Lutheran Church
    310-350 N. Broadway St.

    Woodlawn Memorial Park I
    2306 W. Jefferson Street

    Woodlawn Memorial Park II (Hills of Rest Cemetery)
    2250 W. Jefferson Street

    Free Access to Digital Collections

    Biblioboard Library of Illinois: Browse 150+ books from Arcadia Publishing and the History Press about Chicago and Illinois History. 30+ Illinois community collections and many more free books, video and audio.

    Digital Public Library of America: Search 44 million images, text, video, and audio from cultural institutions across the United States.

    Europeana: Search millions of books, music, artwork, and more from cultural institutions across Europe.

    Google Books: Search 40 million books and magazines; download books in the public domain and search others.

    Hathi Trust Digital Library: Search 17 million books, periodicals, and more; 39% of the collection is available for download.

    ILGenWeb History Project: The compilation is a special project devoted solely to the history of the state.

    Internet Archive: Search millions of books, videos, audio, and more; pre-1926 books are available for download.

    Lewis University Digital Archives: Includes local artwork, I&M Canal research papers, and historic Joliet photographs.

    World Digital Library: Search more than 19,000 historically significant books, maps, manuscripts, and more.

    Sanborn Maps: Detailed maps of U.S. towns and cities from the 19th and 20th centuries.




    Mon-Thurs: 9 a.m.-9 p.m.
    Fri/Sat: 9 a.m.-5 p.m.
    Sun: 1-5 p.m. 

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