102 W 3rd St, Sterling, IL 61081 ∙ (815) 625-1370
Mon - Thurs: 9AM–8PMFri: 9AM–5PM
Sat: 8AM–5PMSun: Closed

Local History / Genealogy

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Annual Cemetery Walk

Our next big project will be our annual cemetery walk at Riverside Cemetery to be held on Sunday, September 16th, 2018. Tours will begin at 1:30 PM. Dress comfortably and put on your walking shoes!

This year with the 200th birthday of the state of Illinois to be celebrated on December 3rd, we will be portraying and telling the stories of the first settler’s of Sterling, many of whom will be having their 200th birthday about the same time of the state’s celebration. We will have portrayers telling the story of Hezekiah Brink the first settler in Sterling who was born the 21st of May 1809. Hezekiah was our first settler and arrived in 1834. Hezikiah has many descendants, and they have visited Sterling many times.

We will have a horse and buggy on the grounds for anyone who would like to ride around the cemetery. A bag-piper will be on hand to finish the cemetery walk. Many more stories will be told. More information on the cemetery walk will be available on the library website soon.



The library has an extensive local history and genealogy collection supported by a part-time genealogist on staff. The collection includes periodicals, books, loose-leaf donated genealogies and microfilm. We also have Internet subscriptions to several internet databases that you may use on our on-site computers.

We will collect and take donations in the following areas: Sterling and its rural areas, cities of Sterling/Rock Falls and Whiteside County. The library does have some materials for counties that are near Whiteside County.

The Betty J. Gray Genealogy and Local History Room serves the community and library patrons in many ways from researching local history to helping patrons learn their family history.  Betty J. Gray left a trust fund to help purchase materials for this department.  Whiteside County Genealogists also contribute greatly as they house their research materials in the genealogy/local history department.  Anyone is welcome to use these materials, but because of the fragile and historical nature of this collection, almost all materials in this room are for in-library use only.

Helpful Links

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