Family History and Genealogy Services

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Illinois Genealogy Resources

Chicago and Cook County


  • 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 Imagebase (Maps). The Chicago Imagebase is a Web-based project aimed at enhancing knowledge about the built environment of the Chicago region. On this site you will find a wide variety of images and other data along with information on how to use this data to study the city.
  • Digital Past- images of Chicago and suburbs. Digital Past is a local history digitization project undertaken by libraries, historical societies, museums, and other cultural venues in northern Illinois in partnership with the North Suburban Library System in Wheeling, Illinois. It began in 1998 with a grant from the Illinois State Library and has become a popular resource for researchers of all ages and interests including schoolchildren, genealogists, historians, authors, producers, and special interest groups. Digital Past contains collections from nearly 30 institutions of varying topics and formats including 35,000+ records in over 100 collections.
  • The Electronic Encyclopedia of Chicago. Thousands of historical resources, including articles, photos, maps, broadsides and newspapers related to Chicago's history.
  • Jacob, Mark and Richard Cahan, in association with the Chicago History Museum. Chicago Under Glass: Early Photographs from The Chicago Daily News. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2007.
  • Kogan, Herman and Lloyd Wendt. Chicago: A Pictorial History.  New York: Bonanza Books, 1958.
  • Mayer, Harold M. and Richard C. Wade. Chicago: Growth of a Metropolis. Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 1969. Includes 1,000 photographs and fifty maps.
  • Pacyga, Dominic A. and Ellen Skerrett. Chicago: City of Neighborhoods: Histories and Tours. Chicago: Loyola University Press, 1986. Includes numerous photographs and maps.