Paper Resources

Available Resources

City Directories

These are very similar to phone books but include much more information. The earliest directories include general information about Aurora citizens, businesses, churches, schools, and organizations. You will need the general date you have for your home and the current and pre-1929 addresses. The 1929 City Directory includes this conversion chart in the street guide section. Prior to 1895, residents were not listed according to street address.

To find the resident of your home before 1895, try looking up the name of the resident listed at your address in the 1895 directory. You will need to take the same approach to find the listing before 1886 because the addresses were changed in that year and there is no conversion table. The earliest city directory dates back to 1858. It is also important to note that several of the street names also changed in the 1960s when the west and east sides of Aurora were integrated by bridges over the Fox River. For example, Downer Place and Fox became known as just Downer and Walnut and New York became just New York. The 1868, 1876, and 1886 city directories have maps in the front that shows the old street names.

Census Records (1840-1910)

These records are indexed by name only, and they can be hard to read since they are handwritten. It should be noted that records from 1840 to 1860 censuses have a high error rate. In some cases, the census records indicate the number of people residing in each household, and sometimes the birthplace of the occupants.

Prominent Citizens Obituaries

These are scrapbooks of newspaper obituaries from 1900 to 1945, listed alphabetically. If you the exact date of death, try looking up the obituary in the Aurora Beacon News on microfilm.

Now & Then Clippings

These are biographical sketches from 1920 to 1980 Aurora Beacon columns by "Putt" and later Bob Barclay. The file is alphabetically indexed in a small wooden card catalog outside the genealogical room.


Several local newspapers can be accessed on microfilm. The Beacon News is indexed back to the 1940s.

Plat Maps

These can be helpful in determining when your property was developed.
  • D.W. Ensign's 1892 Atlas of Kane County
  • Thompson and Everts 1872 Combination Atlas map of Kane County.

Research Guides

  • House Histories: A Guide to Tracing the Genealogy of Your Home, Sally Light (1989)
  • How Old is Your House? A Skeleton Key to Dating and Identifying 3 Centuries of American Houses, Hugh Howard (1989)

Reference Books

  • A Field Guide to American Architecture, Carole Rifkind (1980)
  • A Field Guide to American Houses, Virginia and Lee McAlester (1984)
  • A Guide to Old American Houses 1700-1900, Henry L. Williams and Ottalie K. Williams (1962)
  • American Architecture Since 1780: A Guide to the Styles, Marcus Whiffen (1974)
  • American Vernacular Design 1870 to 1940, Herbert Gottfried and Jan Jennings (1985)

Local History Books

  • A guide to Chicago's Historic Suburbs: On Wheels and On Foot, Ira Bach and Susan Wolfson (1981)
  • Aurora, Illinois, Illustrated: A Brief Sketch of a Beautiful and Progressive City, Reprint of 1890 special section in Aurora Beacon (1984)
  • Hill's Reference Guide to Aurora, Thomas E Hill (1907)
  • The Aurora Story, Vernon Derry (1976)