Chicago Genealogical Society

Upcoming events

    • 4 May 2019
    • 1:30 PM
    • Newberry Library, Chicago, IL

    The Eastland Disaster: An Unparalleled Tragedy

    Early on the morning of Saturday, July 24, 1915, a light rain fell yet the air was filled with anticipation and excitement. Thousands gathered along the Chicago River for Western Electric's fifth annual employee picnic. More than 7,000 tickets had been purchased for the day‐long festivities. But the day quickly turned tragic, resulting in Chicago's greatest loss‐of-life tragedy. Find out what happened during a presentation given by the Eastland Disaster Historical Society.

    Come learn the answers to the following questions: Why was the picnic so highly anticipated? What happened? How did it happen? What was the impact? What was the response? Was it avoidable? Who was held accountable? What damages were awarded? What amount of relief funds were raised?

    Discover more about the Eastland Disaster Historical Society at

    • 1 Jun 2019
    • 1:30 PM
    • Newberry Library

    This is our CGS Annual General Meeting and Program.

    Adoption Searches Past and Present

    Our speaker will be Matt Rutherford. Having an adopted ancestor can often be one of the most frustrating and challenging aspects of genealogy research. In times past, records of adoptions weren't as well kept as they are today, making searching for the link between birth parents and adoptees difficult.  And, in modern times, adoption searches are often hindered by legal barriers. We'll discuss techniques & tips for researching American adoptions in all time periods.

    Matt Rutherford, MLIS, is Curator of Genealogy and Local History at the Newberry Library. In addition to managing the Newberry's renowned genealogy collection, Matt has also answered thousands of questions on a wide range of genealogy topics. He has spoken at the Illinois State Genealogical Society and the Conference on Illinois History, as well as several local genealogy societies, including the North Suburban Genealogical Society, the Elgin Genealogical Society, Genealogical Forum of Elmhurst, and the Illinois St. Andrew Society. In addition, Matt teaches seminars on a variety of genealogy topics, including beginning genealogy, researching at the Newberry Library, using repositories and archives, researching pre-fire Chicago, adoption searches, non-population census schedules, and the history of the federal census. He is the co-author of A Bibliography of African American History at the Newberry Library (2005).

    • 7 Sep 2019
    • 1:30 PM
    • Newberry Library

    More and more people are interested in learning more about “The Black Sheep” of their family! Find out how to become hot on the trail by using photographs, newspapers, court cases both civil and criminal as well as prison, parole, and other state and federal records.

    Ray Johnson is a former criminal investigator, author, local historian and tour guide. He was born in Chicago and currently resides in Brookfield, IL. He owns Johnson Research Services which conducts research for other authors, production companies, attorneys, government agencies and family historians. He is a former representative of the Chicago Chapter of the Association of Professional Genealogists, and a current member of the Jackson Park Advisory Council and Hyde Park Historical Society. He is President and founder of “Friends of The White City” which is a 501c3 dedicated to providing educational programs on the 1893 World’s Columbian Exposition and raising money to help preserve its rich history. Ray has published three books on Chicago history and is currently working on three more. He also writes a history blog called Chicago History Cop for ChicagoNow, a Tribune Company. He has been featured as an expert on Discovery ID, The History Channel, PBS, The Travel Channel and many local stations.

    • 2 Nov 2019
    • 1:30 PM
    • Newberry Library, Chicago, IL

    Discover the world-famous Chicago “L” in all its grit and glory with Greg Borzo, author of The Chicago “L.” This PowerPoint presentation portrays the growth and development of Chicago’s most enduring icon. The “L” has been running 24/7 for 127 years. See how it came to be and how it changed the region. Lavishly illustrated with more than 100 images and popular movie clips, Borzo’s rich historical presentation will inform, entertain and spark memories. Travel through time. Mass transit never looked so good!

    Greg Borzo is an award-winning journalist. He was editor of Modern Railroads Magazine and has been a health and/or science writer for the American Medical Association, Field Museum and University of Chicago. He conducts public tours of the “L” for the Chicago History Museum and other organizations. The Chicago “L” has been favorably reviewed by more than 30 media outlets. His other books include Chicago's Fabulous Fountains, Chicago Cable Cars, and Lost Restaurants of Chicago. 

    Born in Chicago, Borzo lives in the South Loop to better enjoy all the art and architecture, culture and history that the city has to offer. He gives tours for the Chicago History Museum, Chicago Cycling Club, and others.

    • 7 Dec 2019
    • 1:30 PM
    • Newberry Library

    Everything you ever wanted to know about lineage societies but were afraid to ask – the who, what, when, where and how of joining groups like the Daughters of the American Revolution, Colonial Dames and Mayflower Society are discussed.

    Our speaker, Kimberly Ormsby Nagy MD PLCGS, is a retired trauma surgeon with a lifelong passion for genealogy. She is nationally known for her work with lineage societies, and has served on national boards of several. She has 40 years of experience preparing lineage society applications, and has first-hand knowledge of what is necessary to have an application approved. She has extensive lecturing experience, first as a medical educator, now as a genealogical lecturer. She is excited to speak on one of her favorite topics - "Lineage Societies"


Chicago Genealogical Society is a 501(c)6 non-profit organization.  Address: PO Box 1160, Chicago, IL  60690-1160

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