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

Tuesday and Thursday

Our New Look

The Joiner History Room’s new website look was made possible by the Douglas C. and Lynn M. Roberts Family Foundation.  We are deeply grateful for their support.  The website was designed by Trittenhaus Design of Sycamore.  Many pages had to be transferred to the new look and we think they did a spectacular job.  Thank you to both organizations.

A Brother's Complaint


The photo above, circulating on the internet, is supposed to be a 1923 teacher’s contract describing what a teacher can and cannot do.  This “contract” has been debunked by many sources.  It did, however, remind the Joiner History Room staff of a letter written to the DeKalb County Superintendent of Schools on January 3, 1891, from F. McRae Byers about his sister, Myrtie Byers, a young teacher at the time.  (Copy in our archives.) 
 “Dear Sir:
You are not aware that any of your teachers are in the habit of attending public dances, and particularly the kind that are given in Kirkland.

The influence of seeing a teacher there is bad in its effect on my pupils, and has begun to take a tangible hold of some of them and in addition to this the influence of such an example is pernicious in its effect on the minds of the pupils under her charge.
The dance given here on Christmas eve. Was a disgraceful affair where drunkenness prevailed; and in addition to this the characters of the persons under whose auspices these dances are given and of the persons who resort to them should be enough to guide any one in charge of other people’s children.

I refer to my sister Miss Myrtie Byers.  Her family, and myself among the number have given this misguided lady their views on the matter, without effect however.  A letter from you saying what you expect of your teachers and what the consequences of violating your expectations may be, will undoubtedly bring her to her senses.  She is not hard to win or to guide, but it is now influenced by a certain class –and you see the result of it.

You are at liberty to mention my name in this matter if you think best.  Many of my pupils expect soon to become teachers, and I shall not rest while any such exsample as that is furnished, and particularly in my own family.

What I say here is in the strictest confidence, and only to be used in your communication with her.  I shall feel that I owe you a debt of gratitude if you can adjust matters in this most unmentionable affair.
Please let me hear from you.”
We don’t know if Myrtie continued to teach.  We do know that as a married woman, she would have had to quit teaching.  On July 7, 1892, Myrtie married Frank Allison in Boone County.  She lived until age 85 when on December 19, 1955, she died of burns while trying to start a fire in her Parkin, Arkansas home.  Myrtie is buried in the Flora cemetery.


Birth, Marriage, Death and Naturalization Records

The DeKalb County Clerk's office has put online birth, marriage, death and naturalization records that meet genealogical guidelines.  You can print the document image for $3.00.   Their website is dekalbgenealogy.com.

New Malta Obituary Collection

“A Scrapbook of Obituary Collections, People with a Connection to the Community of Malta, IL”  Compiled by Dorothy W. Stoddard, December 2012.  3,274 obits.  These obits are not part of our online database.  If you are looking for an obit on someone from the Malta area contact the Joiner History Room. 

This collection is also for sale in printed ($80) and CD ($20) formats.  All proceeds go to the Malta Historical Society.

Can you help?

The Joiner History Room is seeking to add to its archives pre 1960 telephone books and city directories for the cities of Dekalb and Sycamore.  We are also interested in historical documents pertaining to DeKalb County.  You don't have to send the original historical document, copies will be just as good.  If you have such an item to donate, please email the Joiner History Room.  In the subject line enter "Item to Donate."  Thank you.

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

Joiner Room 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, click here or send a check directly to The Joiner Room at the address above.

Images of Sycamore

The Mighty Maroons boys' baseball team had this formal portrait taken at the local M. F. Carlson studio, circa 1900.  Mascot Raymond Branen is front and center.  Team members, from left to right, are (second row) Will Sell and Rex Shield; (third row) Doug Langhorn, George Murray, Captain Charles B. Townsend, Earl Branen, and George St. Dennis; (back row) Harry Cornwell, Jim Branen, and Walter Wallmark.


The Mighty Maroons

*Picture and historical information used with permission of Sue Breese and the Joiner Room Staff.

See More Like This In Images of America-Sycamore Available from Barnes and Noble, Amazon and at Local Stores

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 2012.  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.


Adoptee Law Passed By Illinois Legislature

Since last year when the bill was signed, about 645 adoptees born in Illinois before 1946 have been issued their birth certificates. Starting November 15, 2011, those born after 1946 will be able to do the same thing. The law also allows birth parents to have their names redacted from any released birth certificate by filling out a form by Nov. 1. For more information see newillinoisadoptionlaw.com.