The Chicago Family Photo Database is a listing of over 1,000 “carte de visite” and “cabinet card” photographs of individuals taken (mostly) in Chicago between 1855 and 1915. Only those with the names of individuals written on them have been collected. Many were found in antique malls while others were donated to the Chicago Genealogical Society. Photographs from about a dozen family albums (to date) are a part of that database. About half of all the photographs in the database have been “researched.” Research as to the genealogy of the others is ongoing. Many people in the photographs left Chicago for other areas of the United States in the years following the date of the photograph while others died with no direct issue although many left relatives.
The database will be updated occasionally as additional research is undertaken and as additional photographs are found and donated. Donations of “named” photographs will be accepted and added to the list.
The Chicago Genealogical Society is happy to accept requests for scans or photocopies of individual photos and, where possible, copies of the report of research.
The database lists name, description, possible age of person, year photo taken, success of research, additional photo info, photographer, and city of studio location. You can download this copy of the database here.
Requests for information can be sent to the society’s email firstname.lastname@example.org and put “Chicago Family Photo Database Request” in the subject line.