Find suggestions here for tracing your Chicago family history in our City’s fine repositories, as well as a summary of their holdings. There are, of course, additional genealogical resources in the city, but those listed here are basic starting points. Directions from Downtown using public transit are also included.
§ Chicago and Cook County Online Death Records and Indexes
§ Cook County Coroner's Inquest Record Index (Illinois State Archives)
§ Chicago Police Department Homicide Record Index, 1870-1930 (by Northwestern Univ.): Search 11,000 Chicago homicide cases and view the case details
§ Cook County Birth Certificates 1870-1940 (Familysearch.org)
§ Cook County Birth Index, 1916-1935 (Ancestry.com)
§ Cook County Birth Registers 1871-1915 (Familysearch.org)
§ Cook County Clerk’s Office Search for B, M, D
§ Cook County Coroner’s Inquest Record Index, 1872-1911
§ Cook County Deaths 1878-1994 (Familysearch.org)
§ Cook County Death Index 1908-1988 (Ancestry.com)
§ Cook County Marriage Index 1930-1960 (Ancestry.com)
§ Cook County Marriage Licenses 1871-1920 (Familysearch.org)
§ Illinois Deaths and Stillbirths 1916-1947 (FamilySearch.org)
§ Illinois Statewide Death Index, Pre-1916
§ Illinois Statewide Death Index, 1916-1950
§ Illinois Statewide Marriage Index, 1763-1900
§ 1873 Strangers’ guide to the city of Chicago
§ Cook County Online Historical Directories: An index to directories on subscription and non-subscription websites.
§ Catholic Cemeteries at the Archdiocese of Chicago
§ Cook County Cemeteries (Internment.net)
§ Cook County Cemeteries (ISGS Cemetery Location Project)
§ Register of Confederate soldiers who died in Camp Douglas, 1862-65 and lie buried in Oakwoods Cemetery
§ Wunders Cemetery, Chicago – a CGS publication (and an Ancestry.com $ database)
§ Ada St. M.E. Church of Chicago: 1877 directory
§ Archdiocese of Chicago Archives and Records Center
§ Catholic Churches in Chicago
§ Catholic Churches in Chicago in 1926
§ Chicago Church and Synagogue Records
§ Chicago Parish Histories collection at the University of Notre Dame
§ Church of the Epiphany, Ashland Boulevard and Adams Street: Parish history and year book (1897)
§ Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) Archives
§ First Congregational Church of Chicago: directory of members in 1873
§ First Presbyterian Church 1833-1913 (only 1894-1913 is transcribed here)
§ Hyde Park Presbyterian Church, 1860-1910: Fiftieth anniversary celebration
§ New England Church, Chicago: directory of the congregation, 1891
§ Polish parishes Jubilee index: a compilation of names appearing in Jubilee, History and Financial books published by parishes to commemorate special events in their church history
§ Polish parishes marriage index through 1915
§ St. Charles Borromeo Church: Twelfth and Cypress Streets, Chicago: silver jubilee celebration, 1885-1910
§ St. Michael’s Catholic Church, Baptisms, 1870-1871: a German-speaking church on Cleveland Avenue
§ St. Paul’s Reformed Episcopal Church of Chicago: 1873 Directory
§ Chicago clubs and organizations
§ Chicago Genealogy Research Articles by Michael John Neill
§ Chicago Institutions (mainly hospitals, medical colleges) from the “Historical Encyclopedia of Illinois” ©1901
§ Chicago Orphan Asylum Fifty-ninth Annual Report of The Chicago Orphan Asylum, For the Year Ending 1 Dec 1908. Incorporated November 5, 1849. 5120 South Park Avenue, Chicago. Telephone 520 Oakland. Published 1909.
§ Chicago City Council Proceedings Files Index, 1833-1871
§ Chicago City Council Proceedings: Explore this collection of early petitions, ordinances, communications and other official records from 1827-1933 to discover how police and fire protection, public works, schools and taxation originated in Chicago. Find out about the construction of the Illinois and Michigan Canal beginning in 1827, the incorporation of Chicago as a town in 1833, and the Great Fire of 1871 and its aftermath.
§ Cook County Assessor’s Office: Search properties in by address, neighborhood, or PIN number. Besides property value information, site also provides age of building, and photos.
§ Cook County Clerk of the Circuit Court
§ Cook County Clerk of the Circuit Court. Archives Department
§ Cook County Clerk of the Circuit Court. Naturalizations Declarations of Intent
§ Cook County Recorder of Deeds: Search properties by grantor/grantee, document number, PIN, trust number, find legal description.
§ Chicago in 1919: Explore such topics as the 1919 race riot, new roles for women, the increasing uses of electricity, trends in the arts, labor organizing, business developments, and more. This unique multimedia history program makes you the historian as you sift through documents and photographs, listen to oral histories, and enjoy the top jazz, opera, and pop tunes of the day.
§ Chicago Park District : history, background, organization (1936)
§ Deaths, Disturbances, Disasters and Disorders in Chicago: Cholera and influenza epidemics, Iroquois Theater and stock yards fires, Pullman strike, beer riots, etc.
§ Digital Past: images of Chicago and suburbs
§ World’s Columbian Exposition of 1893
§ World’s Fair 1933-34: A Century of Progress: Explore the theme of the fair, scientific discoveries and their impact on industry and daily life, by viewing 350 pamphlets and official publications of the fair from the University of Chicago Library’s collection.
§ Census, A Look At Cook: Maps and Boundary Descriptions for Wards, Townships, and Enumeration Districts.
§ Chicago Street Address Conversion Guide: In 1909, Chicago changed its street-numbering system for most of the city. Use this address conversion guide to find a building’s original address.
§ Atlas of Historical County Boundaries: This database gives the historical county boundaries of every county in the United States. You can view and download Adobe PDF files for any state that is of interest to you in your genealogical research. ie. Illinois. Each county in Illinois is listed alphabetically with a map showing the outline of the county at a given period of time. The time period is shown at the top of the map and there is an explanation of what change occurred to the map of the county during the time period in question.
§ Chicagoancestors.org: Discover the past by address. An interactive online map of Chicago where you can find and share historical information about Chicago. Are you researching the history of a neighborhood? Looking for the church where your great-grandparents got married? Interested in mapping the places where your ancestors lived?
§ Chicago Imagebase (Maps)
§ Geographic Names Information System (GNIS)
§ Index of various Chicago maps
§ Sanborn Maps for Illinois: These historical fire insurance maps of Illinois often include detailed drawings of the businesses, and occasionally details about operational hours or numbers of employees.
§ Chicago’s neighborhoods: This guide lists books, articles and maps in the Newberry Library and other links to neighborhood collections
§ Chicago neighborhoods: Explore Chicago’s 77 distinct community areas and diverse neighborhoods on the City of Chicago’s official tourism site. There is a downloadable, printable PDF map of the city. Discover stories and history on the North, West and South sides, and click on the neighborhood names for a more in-depth look at the communities.
§ Edgewater Historical Society
§ Englewood: Dorothy’s 1945 Daily Diary
§ Northwest Chicago Historical Society
§ Norwood Park Historical Society
§ Rogers Park-West Ridge Historical Society
§ Chicago Daily News, Photographs 1902-1933
§ Dziennik Chicagoski 1890-1929: index of death notices and obituaries in Chicago’s Polish language newspaper
§ Dziennik Chicagoski 1930-1971: index of death notices and obituaries in Chicago’s Polish language newspaper
§ Hyde Park Herald (1888-2008 when completely digitized)
§ List of articles about Cook County in ISGS quarterly
§ West Side Newspaper Collection
§ Chicago Building Permits, 1898-1912
§ Austin High School records 1879-1971
§ Chicago Public Schools graduation and attendee’s records: also find alumni, and more!
§ Chicago school records: information, and what’s at the Newberry Library
§ Chicago schools: fact sheets, commencement programs, etc. (see boxes 35-37)
§ Englewood High School records 1876-1959