Located in the Sycamore Public Library
103 E. State Street
Sycamore, IL 60178

Tuesday and Thursday


Crowe Brothers of Chicago Building Movers  

The year was 1903 and the plans for building a new DeKalb County courthouse (#3) in Sycamore were well underway.  One huge task in the process was to move the west wing, with vaults, of the old courthouse (#2) to make room for the new courthouse.  The contract stated that the work be done within 30 days, because the offices of the sheriff, county clerk, circuit clerk and records were housed in the wing.  So the process started in July 8, 1903, to move the west wing.  It was separated from the main part of the building and moved 80 feet to the north. 

Things were going smoothly until July 29, when Chase Glidden served a temporary injunction against Crowe Brothers to stop the work, saying the contract was illegally awarded and therefore void.  F. M. Munger, “a chicken raiser” and N. J. Henaughan, the mayor of DeKalb, convinced Judge Holdom of the superior court in Chicago to issue the injunction.  Crowe Brothers engaged their own attorney to have the temporary injunction dissolved.   All the while the wing was open and exposed to the weather, and the safety of the public records was in question.  The building had been moved back about five feet when the injunction was served and caused a real danger of the building settling and sinking into the soft earth or the walls cracking and the building collapsing.  By August, Crowe Brothers was anxious for the case to be tried so when the injunction was dissolved they would be able to bring suit against the people of DeKalb for damages for delaying their work some two weeks. 

Finally, on August 7, 1903, the injunction was dissolved by Judge Holdom, allowing Crowe Brothers to move forward with their task.  On September 5, the project was completed and Crowe Brothers was paid!  This is just one of the fascinating stories from 1903 when the new courthouse was being built. 

Historical Photos Available on Flickr

Over 700 photos from the Floyd Ritzman Collection which are part of the Northern Illinois University Digital Library are now available on Flickr at https://flic.kr/s/aHskqwXroS.  This collection of photos, taken in and around DeKalb County, was formerly part of the Taming the Wild Prairie website. Thanks to Matthew Short at NIU for making these historical photos available.

Illinois Adoption Law Passed By Illinois Legislature

Under this law, original birth certificates cannot be issued in person by state or county vital statistics offices.    This law allows adult adopted persons born in Illinois to request non-certified copies of their original birth certificates through the Illinois Department of Public Health.  In most cases, the original birth certificate will list the first and last names of one or both birth parents.    Birth parents of adopted persons born after January 1, 1946, may request that their names be deleted from this non-certified copy. All birth parents may indicate their preferences regarding contact with their adult birth child. The options available under this new law are different for adopted persons, birth parents and their family members. The options available also change depending on the date of birth of the adult adopted person.  For more information see www.newillinoisadoptionlaw.com.

Birth, Marriage, Death and Naturalization Records

The DeKalb County Clerk's office has birth, marriage, death and naturalization indexes online.These records meet genealogical guidelines.  Their website is www.dekalbgenealogy.com.

Copying/Scanning/Mailing Pricing

$ .25/page......Photocopy by patron at JHR
   .50/page......Photocopies by JHR staff
 2.00/scan......By JHR researcher
 2.00/each......Photo quality prints
Scans will be emailed. To keep your costs down, we will try to get as much on one scan as possible. Photocopies by JHR staff and photo quality prints are sent U.S. mail only. Postage is also charged.
Sycamore True Republican, 1893

How to Donate to the Joiner History Room

Joiner History Room is honored to be part of The DeKalb County Community Foundation.  The Joiner History Room Endowment Fund was established in 2008 to honor Ralph Joiner and the first appointed DeKalb County historian, Phyllis Kelley.  If you wish to donate to our Endowment Fund, please click here or send your donation addressed directly to the Joiner History Room, 103 East State Street, Sycamore, IL.  Your donations provide operating funds to maintain the Joiner History Room. 


DeKalb County Hall of Fame Application

Join the Illinois Bicentennial celebration by nominating a individual, family, or organization for the 2018 DeKalb County Hall of Fame.  Purpose of the DeKalb County Hall of Fame is to identify and recognize outstanding examples of community leaders. Annual awards to the Hall of Fame will honor men, women, families, and organizations, past and present, who have made outstanding contributions to the betterment of DeKalb County. The program will be a yearly opportunity to highlight the best in our county, present and past, and to recognize those accomplishments for future generations.

Click Here for nomination form and information.

Shabbona-Lee-Rollo Historical Museum Digitizes Newspapers

The SLR Museum recently announced the following newspapers from the southern part of DeKalb County and Lee County have been digitized and are available online through their website at http://slrhistoricalmuseum.advantage-preservation.com/
The Paw Paw News, 1874-1876
The Lee County Times, 7 Apr 1882-6 Apr 1883 and 1 Jan 1886-13 Aug 1959
The Shabbona Express, 13 Dec 1917-26 Mar 1925
The DeKalb County Express, 31 Jan 1929-27 Oct 1960
There are a few issues of The Compton Record, scattered issues from  1887-1895 and the Evening Times, September 1887. 

DeKalb Daily Chronicle Available Online

Due to the generosity of the Douglas C. and Lynn M. Roberts Foundation, a large selection of the DeKalb Daily Chronicle is available free online.  The issues are searchable.  Issues available cover the period January 2, 1918 through December 31, 1930.  Issues dated between June 1, 1930 and November 30, 1930 are missing. You can access this database at http://idnc.library.illinois.edu/cgi-bin/illinois?a=q&l=en.

Newspapers.com has made available past issues of the DeKalb Chronicle (1879-1895) and the Daily Chronicle (1895-1963).  These issues are searchable. Newspapers.com requires a paid subscription.

Obituary Database Reaches Milestone

We now have over 38,800 obituaries in our online, searchable database.  The link to the database is above.  Joiner History Room volunteers have worked for five years inputing obituaries. Because this is an ongoing project, we have many more obituaries to input and you may not find what you are looking for. Please contact us via email if this is the case.  

Burial Permit and Removal Permit List Available

A Burial Permit was initiated by the funeral home to report to the Department of Public Health where a deceased person was buried.  The information includes name, identifying information, date and place of death, cause of death and where buried.  A Removal Permit had to be completed if a buried body was to be moved to a different cemetery.  The Joiner History Room has a limited list of names, dates of death, and cemetery where buried.  This is not a complete listAccess list here.

Looking Back Index Available

The Midweek, a current DeKalb County area publication, has a column called "Looking Back" that has small snipits of local news dating back to the late 1800's.  Most items are one or two lines long, just enough to give you a flavor of what was happening at the time.  This index covers publication dates from the start of the column, mid-2010, through December 2014.  If you find an item of interest, e-mail the Joiner History Room with date of publication and page number.
Access Index

Burkhart Funeral Home Records

Funeral home records are often overlooked as a source of genealogical information.  Joiner History Room volunteer Fran Besserman diligently compared a hand-written list of Burkhart burials with obits available from other sources in our collection.  This may be the only record of a death.
View list here.