The Chicago Genealogical Society announces Special Joint Webinar with the Afro-American Genealogical and Historical Society of Chicago (AAGHSC) - May 1, 2021, 10:00am CST.
Funeral Home Collections: Utilizing Genealogical Societies and Others for Crowd Sourcing with Ari Wilkins
What useful information can you get from a funeral home for genealogical research? Funeral home records can contain so much more than a death certificate and obituary! Files can reveal the deceased and the family’s extended genealogical information, church affiliations, financial status, and even how they planned for the future. This lecture also describes processing the large donated funeral home collection using a genealogical society.
Ari Wilkins, a graduate of Louisiana State University, has been actively researching family history since 1998. Ari worked with the esteemed genealogist, Dr. James Rose, for many years on his final project Generations: The WPA Ex-Slave Narrative Database. She is the owner of the genealogical consulting company, Black Genesis. Ms. Wilkins also works as a contributor for Proquest’s African American Heritage database.
Ms. Wilkins has spoken nationally at the National Genealogical Society, Federation of Genealogical Societies, Texas State Genealogical Society, Ohio Genealogical Society, Samford Institute of Genealogical and Historical Research, American Library Association, and a multitude of local societies.
Ari has been a Library Associate at Dallas Public Library since 2007. She teaches a series of basic research classes using popular genealogical websites. She specializes in African American research.
Registration is required and registration fee is $5.00. Please register for Funeral Home Collections: Utilizing Genealogical Societies and Others for Crowd Sourcing on May 1, 2021 10:00 AM CST at:
After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the webinar.
CGS Members – make sure you read the latest issue of the Chicago Genealogist, vol. 53 no 3 Spring 2021
In this issue:
Good news! The Chicago History Museum will be reopening March 4, 2021. The Research Center will open March 9th. Before you plan a research trip and catch-up on all your back log, know before you go:
More information on the CHM website Home - Research Center - LibGuides at Chicago History Museum
Downtown Cook County Vital Records Office at Daley Center 50 W Washington, Suite CL-25 has moved to the Cook County Building at 118 N Clark Street, 1st Floor. More information on their website. Vital Records | Cook County Clerk's Office
The Chicago Genealogical Society is saying goodbye to 2020 and hello to 2021. We are excited about our upcoming programs to kick-off 2021. Hope you can join us!
4 January (7:00pm) - The South Side in Ten Families
*** Monday, 7:00pm CST via ZOOM ***
Mark Hansen, the author of The City in a Garden: A Guide to the History of Hyde Park and Kenwood, will recount episodes in the history of Chicago through brief portraits of ten South Side families.
6 February (1:30pm) - Everyone Has a Story: Why everyday life stories are worth capturing and how to do it
*** Saturday, 1:30pm CST via ZOOM ***
Our speaker will be Nora Kerr. Do you want to capture your own life story or that of a loved one? Take a trip down memory lane or get inspired to interview your family members. You'll leave inspired to tackle this important life work. Whether you're a writer, a storyteller, or a curious child or grandchild of someone with a lot of history, this workshop is for you! We’ll address questions such as...
8 February (7:00pm) – Open Mic Meet-Up: Genealogy Discoveries Made During Lock Down
Share a discovery you have made during the Covid-19 Lock Down with your fellow CGS members. Have you discovered a new online resource? Were you able to get a record from a closed repository? Did you learn a new technology that is a game changer for your research? Have you interviewed a relative using ZOOM? Join us to share your discovery or watch and listen to others share their successes. This meet-up will have a host to run the Zoom and to give the opportunity for everyone to share as time permits. If you plan to share a discovery please keep it to 5 minutes or less to allows others to also share.
8 March (7:00pm) – Friedrich Eiler: Building an Identity from Scant Clues
Our speaker will be Jill Morelli, CG. The ability to combine fragments of identity to form a single individual is an important skill for all genealogists. This case study illustrates the techniques used to identify the unknown! Friedrich first appeared in a marriage record for my great grandmother, Ida Berg. It was a surprise to know she had married again, but that wasn't the last of the surprises. Working from the known information, the identity of Friedrich was determined using correlation tools, source analysis and collaboration with a descendant. Not all of our ancestors can be the model citizens and Friedrich was far from it, but he serves as a great vehicle for illustrating tenacity and patience, reasonably exhaustive research and the joys of collaboration.
Join us on January 4, 2021, at 7:00pm CST for a webinar with speaker Mark Hansen, the author of The City in a Garden: A Guide to the History of Hyde Park and Kenwood.
Mr. Hansen will present The South Side in Ten Families. He will recount episodes in the history of Chicago through brief portraits of ten South Side families.
John Mark Hansen is the Charles L Hutchinson Distinguished Service Professor in Political Science and the College at the University of Chicago. He joined the Chicago faculty in 1986. A native of Kansas, he received his bachelor’s degree at the University of Kansas in 1981 and his Ph.D. at Yale University in 1987. Hansen’s research in political science ranges in top from elections and citizen activism to Congress and interest group politics. Lately, he has set out to chronicle the history of Chicago’s South Side. His first book from the project, The City in a Garden: A Guide to the History of Hyde Park and Kenwood, appeared in 2019.
Registration is required via the Chicago Genealogical Society website under Events. The webinar will take place virtually via ZOOM. Registration will be closed 1 hour before event. All people registered will receive an email the morning of the event with log-in instructions and a link. This information is not to be shared.
The Chicago Genealogical Society is pleased to now announce a new ancestor certificate relating to a major event in the history of the city: the sinking of the steamship Eastland in the Chicago River in 1915. Hundreds died in that sinking, becoming the greatest loss of life in Chicago history.
Our society will be issuing a variety of beautiful frameable Eastland Disaster Certificates to those who can genealogically prove (with primary documentation) that they are the descendants of those who were involved in some way in the tragedy and/or its aftermath. Eastland roles include:
- Crew Member, Staff Member
- Responder – Fireman, Fire Insurance Patrolman, Policeman, U.S. Coast Guard
- Other – Local Press, Funereal, Ecclesial, Narrowly Missed, Others who assisted, Witnessed, On Committees, etc.
In addition to the Certificates, the documented applications will be privately archived at Chicago’s Newberry Library.
Applicants for the new Eastland Disaster certificates need to complete a genealogical linkage form available online at ChicagoGenealogy.org, to be mailed in together with paper documentation. A small fee (as described on the application form) covers all certification, printing, and archiving costs. Additional duplicate certificates may also be ordered which can be used as gifts to members of your family. All certificates make great ways to ensure that your ancestors are remembered for generations to come.
CGS Announces November Webinar
Identity Puzzles: How to Make Sure You're Following the Right Character
Our speaker will be J.H. (“Jay”) Fonkert, CG
November 7, 2020 at 1:30pm CST
Merging or separating identities is a core genealogical problem. Sometimes we find a man or woman of the same name in several different places over time and need to merge identity fragments. Other times, we find two easily confounded individuals in the same place and time, and have to separate identities. A series of research vignettes, including the case of two Johan Sebastian Welhavens of Chicago, illustrate the importance of certain identity in genealogical research.
J. H. (“Jay”) Fonkert, CG, is a genealogy researcher, educator, and writer, who focuses on 19th-century Midwest research. He is a co-managing editor of Minnesota Genealogist and president of the Minnesota Genealogical Society. He has lectured at numerous regional and national conferences, lectured for genealogy societies in eleven states, and has published more than 80 research and teaching articles, including three in the National Genealogical Society Quarterly. He is a former trustee of the BCG Education Fund and a former director of the Association of Professional Genealogists.
Registration is required via the Chicago Genealogical Society website under Events. Registration will close 1 hour before the event starts. The webinar will take place virtually via ZOOM. All people registered will receive an email the morning of the event with log-in instructions and a link. This information is not to be shared.
CGS Announces October Webinar
Cartographic Tales of Chicago History
Our speaker will be Dennis McClendon
October 5, 2020 at 7:00pm CDT
Historic maps of Chicago tell all kinds of intriguing stories about the city’s origins and development: vanished creeks and woods, big projects never accomplished, forgotten ethnic groups and neighborhoods, mysterious subdivisions, abandoned industrial areas, vice districts and world’s fairs, ghosts of railroad stations and streetcar lines and freight tunnels, reminders of a constantly changing city. Learn about the interesting stories seen in various corners of three dozen maps from Chicago’s past.
Our speaker Dennis McClendon is a Chicago historian and geographer, who makes his living by drawing maps. His design firm, Chicago CartoGraphics, creates a wide variety of maps for the tourism industry and real estate firms, for books such as the AIA Guide to Chicago Architecture and the Encyclopedia of Chicago, the region’s CTA and Pace transit maps, as well as most Chicago-area bike maps. He is well known as an expert on the city’s built environment and transportation, quoted regularly on WTTW’s “Ask Geoffrey” and WBEZ’s Curious City. Check out his website of historic Chicago maps and map sources http://chicagoinmaps.com/index.html.
Registration is required via the Chicago Genealogical Society website under Events. Registration will close 1 hour prior to the event. The webinar will take place virtually via ZOOM. All people registered will receive an email the morning of the event with log-in instructions and a link. This information is not to be shared.
Chicago Genealogy Source: Suburban Digital Newspaper Collections
When you are researching your Chicago ancestors, do you ever think about looking in the suburbs? Many of them did move out looking for a larger piece of land or away from the big city noise. Did they have a summer home? Maybe they stayed in the city but their aunts, uncles and cousins moved out.
If any of your ancestors moved to the suburbs, you should check the local town newspapers for items such as birth and marriage announcements, anniversaries and obituaries. Can’t find the suburban newspaper on one of the big newspaper websites? How about checking the library in the town? You can be surprised what you find. Here are two examples:
Harvard IL – The town of Harvard is in McHenry County (last stop on the train line from Chicago) about 63 miles from the Chicago Loop. The Harvard Diggins Library has a digital archives collection of Harvard newspapers from starting in the 1860’s with a few issues through 1979. http://www.harvard-diggins.org/drtest/index.php Under Harvard Newspapers tab. No library card needed.
Elburn IL – The village of Elburn is in Kane County about 45 miles from the Chicago Loop. The Town and Country Public Library District has an archive of area newspapers database that covers 1882 through 2016. https://elburn.lib.il.us/ Under the History & Genealogy tab, select History & Genealogy Database, Historic Elburn Newspapers. No library card required.
If you know of any libraries in the Chicago suburbs that have a digital archives of newspapers, email the library name to CGS (put Suburban Newspaper Digital Archives Collection in the subject line) or post on our Facebook page so we can share the information. Email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Chicago Genealogical Society is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization. Address: PO Box 1160, Chicago, IL 60690-1160