Illinois Genealogy Resources
Chicago and Cook County
Libraries, Archives and
Chicagoland Genealogy Research Locations. An interactive map
of research facilities commonly used by genealogists.
Chicago Public Library - Harold Washington Center - (400 S.
State St., Chicago). The Washington Center has excellent
resources for doing Chicago and Cook County genealogical
- Biography. The Biography collection is strong in general
biography and also contains many collected biographies,
biographical dictionaries, and indexes such as the Who's
Who series and the Biography and Genealogy Master
Index. This collection offers a good starting place when
the only known information is a person's name. Other subject
divisions have biographies of noted persons in their subject
fields. (6th floor)
- Census. U.S. Personal Name Census, Chicago, 1850, 1860,
1870, 1880, 1900, 1910, and 1920; Soundex 1900 Population
Schedule: Illinois; Miracode 1910 Population Schedule:
Illinois; Soundex 1920 Population Schedule: Illinois.(3rd
Chicago Area Directory of Organizations. Listing 1,600
clubs, groups, and other organizations throughout the
- The Chicago Collection. Consists primarily of monographs
which are available for research and reference use.
Circulating materials are available in the open stack area.
Chronology of Chicago Newspaper Microfilm holdings. List
of Chicago newspapers on microfilm available in the GIS
Newspaper Department. (3rd floor)
- City directories (1839, 1843-1917, 1923, 1928/29) (3rd
- City of Chicago Documents. City Council, Proceedings,
1861-present. Bureau of Statistics, City Manual,
- Education. Chicago Board of Education. Annual Reports,
1867-1868 to 1925-1926.
- Family, employment and public service records. Registers
of Public Employees. Pilgrimage for the Mothers and
Widows of Soldiers ...
- Genealogy. "How to" books to assist beginners in
learning techniques for researching their family histories
are emphasized. Directories for locating sources to obtain
birth, marriage, and death records are available as well as
a directory listing professional genealogists in the United
States. Family histories are not collected, except for those
of famous American families. (6th floor)
Lerner Newspapers. The Lerner Newspaper microfilm
collection includes newspapers from Chicago neighborhoods
and suburbs ranging from 1905-1993. (3rd floor)
- Maps and gazetteers. U.S. Board of Geographic Names and
gazetteers (Reference area); U.S. Geological Survey
- Military records. Historical Register of the United
States Army. War of Rebellion: Official Records of the Union
and Confederate Armies.
- Passenger lists. (3rd floor)
- Newspapers. Has approximately 300 current papers from
every state in the U.S. and papers from more than 40 foreign
countries. Also received are U.S. and Chicago ethnic
newspapers and Chicago area community papers. (3rd floor)
- Special Collections. Neighborhood History Research
Collection; Civil War Research Collection; Chicago Authors
and Imprints Collection; Chicago Theater Arts and History
Collection; Chicago Public Library Archives; Book Arts,
History and Collecting.
- State of Illinois documents. Archives Marriage Record
Index (26 microfiche). Public Domain Sales Land Tract
Record Listing (144 microfiche).
- Telephone directories (1878-1971). (3rd floor)
- Biography. The Biography collection is strong in general biography and also contains many collected biographies, biographical dictionaries, and indexes such as the Who's Who series and the Biography and Genealogy Master Index. This collection offers a good starting place when the only known information is a person's name. Other subject divisions have biographies of noted persons in their subject fields. (6th floor)
- The Newberry Library
(60 West Walton St., Chicago, Illinois). The Newberry is a
reference library for history and the humanities, and
specializes in several areas including: local and family history
(county, town, church, etc. for U.S. and Canada), the history
< of cartography, the American Indian, printing, music, and the
Renaissance. It holds the largest genealogy collection in the
Chicago area. About 60% of its researchers are genealogy
- Census records. Microfilm of 1810, 1820, and 1850
Federal Population Schedules for all states; 1860-1900 are
especially strong for Midwest states; twentieth century
schedules are for Illinois. The library also has some
agricultural and mortality schedules, a few state censuses
for Illinois, the 1855, 1875, 1905 and 1925 census for New
York, the 1905 census for Wisconsin, the 1915 census for
Iowa, and a near-complete collection of Canadian censuses
for Ontario and the Maritime Provinces.
- City directories (1839, 1843-1917, 1923, 1928/29).
- Collection Guides
- African American Bibliography
- Biographical Resources. Guide to biographical indexes, dictionaries, and more.
- Census Holdings.
- Chicago Church and Synagogue Records
- Chicago Neighborhood Research Guide.
- City Directory Holdings
- Ethnic Group and Country Guides: African-American, Bohemian, Canadian,Cherokee, English, Germanic, Hispanic, Irish, Italian, Jewish, Norwegian, Polish, Swedish
- Fraternal Organizations.
- Geographic Guides by Region and City, State.
- Illinois Newspaper Holdings.
- Map Holdings Bibliographies.
- Military. Revolutionary War, War of 1812, Civil War, Confederate Research, World War I, World War II
- Noble and royal lineages.
- Passenger Lists and Indexes.
- Genealogy and vital records. A collection of over
16,000 family histories.
- Many Lutheran church records. See
Chicago Church Records.
- Sam Fink's Chicago Marriage and Death Index.
Compiled by a Chicago researcher from Chicago newspaper
death notices covering 1833 to 1889 and Cook County death
records from 1878 to 1884. Also included are pre-Fire
marriage notices 1833-1871. Information for the index
originated in the Chicago Tribune, Chicago Evening
Journal, Chicago Democrat, Chicago Examiner, Chicago Evening
Post, Chicago Record Herald, Chicago Daily News, Chicago
Examiner, and the Inter-Ocean. It is available
on microfilm at the Newberry Library, the Illinois Regional
Archives Depository in Chicago, and various area Family
- Additional sources include: Biographical sources;
Maps, Atlases and Gazetteers; Military Records; Lineage
books, rosters, annual reports, periodicals and year books
from patriotic and hereditary societies; Passenger lists and
indexes and to passenger lists; and The Genealogical
Index of the Newberry Library (compilation of family
- Census records. Microfilm of 1810, 1820, and 1850 Federal Population Schedules for all states; 1860-1900 are especially strong for Midwest states; twentieth century schedules are for Illinois. The library also has some agricultural and mortality schedules, a few state censuses for Illinois, the 1855, 1875, 1905 and 1925 census for New York, the 1905 census for Wisconsin, the 1915 census for Iowa, and a near-complete collection of Canadian censuses for Ontario and the Maritime Provinces.
- Chicago History
Museum. The Chicago History Museum strives to promote
knowledge and understanding of Chicago and the nation's past by
providing access to the authentic, primary materials of history.
ARCHIE, is a searchable online catalog, which includes
materials in all CHS collections except costume, decorative
and industrial arts, painting, and sculpture.
Building Permits Listed in American Contractor,
Chicago Daily News Photograph Collection. This
collection comprises over 55,000 images of urban life
captured on glass plate negatives between 1902 and 1933 by
photographers employed by the Chicago Daily News,
then one of Chicago's leading newspapers. The photographs
illustrate the enormous variety of topics and events covered
in the newspaper, although only about twenty percent of the
images in the collection were published in the newspaper.
Most of the photographs were taken in Chicago, Illinois, or
in nearby towns, parks, or athletic fields. In addition to
many Chicagoans, the images include politicians, actors, and
other prominent people who stopped in Chicago during their
travels and individual athletes and sports teams who came to
Chicago. Also included are photographs illustrating the
operations of the Chicago Daily News itself and
pictures taken on occasional out-of-town trips by the
Daily News's photographers to important events, such as
the inauguration of presidents in Washington, D.C.
- Chicago City directories (1839, 1843-1917, 1923,
Chicago Street Name Changes. .pdf file - very slow.
- Chicago Tribune Historical Archive
Encyclopedia of Chicago, launched in May of 2005, is a
rich online resource provided free of charge to the public
- Fire insurance maps
1909 Street Re-numbering Guide for Chicago. .pdf file -
1911 Chicago Loop Street Numbering Changes. .pdf file -
1918-1929 Chicago Criss-Cross Directory. .pdf file -
- Telephone directories
- Research Tools.
University of Illinois at Chicago Library - Special Collections.
Richard J. Daley Library.
- Chicago building permits
- City directories (1839, 1843-1917, 1923, 1928/29)
- Complete run of many Chicago newspapers.
- Extensive map holdings.
- Fire insurance maps
- Chicago building permits
Illinois Regional Archives Depository (IRAD) - Northeastern
University. (Ronald Williams Library, Lower Level, 5500
North St. Louis, Chicago, Illinois)
- Chicago city cemetery records (in Chicago City
Chicago City Council Proceedings, 1833-1871. This
database provides access to the working papers of the
Chicago City Council for the period before the Great Fire.
Until their rediscovery in 1983, these files were presumed
to have been destroyed in that catastrophe. The database
contains entries for 35,650 different files. Each entry
shows the title of the file and a control number containing
the filing calendar or fiscal year, file number, filing
month and day. Includes only a few personal names and is of
limited value to genealogists.
Chicago Police Department Homicide Record Index, 1870-1930.
The Chicago Homicide Record Index was compiled by Michelle
Adams, an intern for the Illinois Regional Archives
Depository at Northeastern Illinois University in Chicago.
The 12,705 records in the database were extracted from the
Chicago Police Department Homicide Records. Precisely when
and how the Chicago Police Department's Homicide Records
were compiled is uncertain. What is known is that Police
Department personnel made a concerted effort to list all of
the homicides within the city of Chicago between 1870 and
Cook County Coroner's Inquest Record Index, 1872-1911.
The Cook County Coroner's Inquest Record Index was compiled
by Michelle Adams and Milan Jovcic, interns for the Illinois
Regional Archives Depository at Northeastern Illinois
University in Chicago. The 74,160 records in the database
were extracted from the Cook County Coroner's Inquest
Records. The inquests included in this index cover the
period from December 1872 to November 1911. The volumes for
the period from October 1879 to July 1880 (668 inquests) and
from May 1888 to October 1888 (720 inquests) are missing.
The Cook County Office of the Medical Examiner does not have
any inquest records prior to December 1872. Records after
November 1911 are in the custody of the Office of the
- Cook County Hospital patient registers.
- Cook County vital records and indexes.(some)
IRAD Local Governmental Records Holdings Database. This
database provides a listing of the local governmental
records held by the Illinois Regional Archives Depository
(IRAD) system. Local governmental records include those from
county, city, town, village, and township levels throughout
Illinois. Numerous offices are represented from these
levels. The record holdings of the IRAD system include over
5,400 different record series.For each record series the
following information is included: depository, accession
number, title, county, beginning date and ending date. By
selecting "Cook" in the "County" field of this database,
researchers can generate a list of Cook County records held
by IRAD in Chicago.
- Naturalization index and records.
- Probate records (1872-1895; 1921-1923). Partial
volumes, no index.
- Records of Bonds and Letters of administration &
Wills (1877-1922). No index.
- Records of foreign wills (1880-1908); 1904-1913;
1915-1922) No index.
- Chicago city cemetery records (in Chicago City Council Proceedings)
Great Lakes Region (Chicago). Appointment needed to use
- Naturalization records for the region.
- Selected passenger lists and records.
- U.S. census records.
- World War I and World War II draft cards for the
- Naturalization records for the region.
Cook County Assessor's Office Property Search
Cook County Circuit Court Archives. The Archives Department
of the Clerk of the Circuit Court of Cook County was established
in 1992, to collect, preserve, and make available to researchers
the non-current records created by the Cook County Court
systems. Some records are stored offsite and transferred to
Archives for viewing (allow 2-10 working days). Indexes are
located in the Archives unless otherwise stated. Archives
patrons should be aware that the Clerk's office began
computerized indexing and docketing of court cases in the early
1980s, which may affect their research. See
Cook County Clerk's Office. Birth, marriage, and death
records. The Cook County Clerk's office provides non-certified
copies of vital records for the purpose of genealogical
research. Under Illinois law, genealogical records are defined
as: Birth certificates older than 75 years; Marriage
certificates older than 50 years; and Death certificates older
than 20 years. The office is noted for poor service. It is best
to deal with them through the mail.
County Recorder of Deeds. All documents recorded prior to
1985 were recorded in tract books, which list areas by
subdivision. Those records are only available at the downtown
facility ("Torrens Vault") and require you to visit the downtown
office to perform your research. Ownership can be determined on
any property purchased after October 1985 at any of the office
locations on the Document Index Management System (DIMS)
terminals. Remember that you will be looking for the most recent
title document (i.e. deed, trust deed, warranty deed etc.). The
names listed, as grantee on the most recent title document
should be the current property owner(s).
- Family History Center - Wilmette Illinois
2727 Lake Avenue
Wilmette, Cook, Illinois, United States
Hours: T-Th 10am-3pm, 6:30-9:30pm; Sat 9am-1pm
See listing of all Family History Centers in Illinois.
- Cook County vital records and indexes.
- Cook County cemetery records.
- Polish Roman Catholic parish records.
- Hamburg emigration lists index.
- Cook County vital records and indexes.
Arlington Heights Memorial Libary. The library maintains a
large genealogy and local history collection in the Kathrine
Shackley Room, located on the second level. Over 8,000 reference
books, over 300 circulating books, over 125 genealogy
periodicals and newsletters, a large map collection especially
of Cook County.
Elmhurst Public Library.
- Evanston Public Library.
- Oak Park Public Library.
Library has a microfilm/microfiche collection of historic
local newspapers, telephone directories, and other resources.
- Schaumburg Township
District Library. Owns a wide selection of materials for
individuals interested in Genealogy including books, cassettes,
videos, handbooks and government documents for the beginning
genealogist as well as for the advanced researcher. The
collection includes general information on such topics as how to
start a search to more specialized materials such as obtaining
vital records, county records and land and property research.
STDL employs a Genealogy Coordinator who is available to help
genealogy researchers with finding materials or providing
direction in doing in-depth research.
- Skokie Public Library. The Skokie Obituary Index is a specialized database created by librarians at Skokie Public Library and is especially useful for local genealogical research.