Chicago Genealogical Society


  • 10 Nov 2018 10:30 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)


    Adding Context: Social History for Genealogists will be the Chicago Genealogical Society next program on Saturday, December 1st. Our speaker will be Ginger Frere.

    Learn how to add depth and greater human interest to your family stories by including the social settings in which your ancestors lived. We will discuss the value of adding social context to family stories, review samples of narratives where context is provided, and look at some published social histories to determine where and how to find materials of interest to genealogists.

    Ginger Frere, MLIS, MBA, is a professional researcher who provides a variety of research services to authors, professional historians, film makers and individuals interested in genealogy. Her primary research interests include Chicago history and the creation of online tools for genealogists. She was one of the driving forces behind the development of

    In addition to researching, Ginger is a frequent speaker in the Chicago-land area and a regular instructor in Chicago’s Newberry Library Adult Education seminar program. She is also a Newberry Scholar-in-Residence.

    This free program will be at the Newberry Library, 60 West Walton Street, Chicago, at 1:30pm

  • 21 Oct 2018 11:30 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)


    Join the Chicago Genealogical Society for our next program on Saturday, November 3rd at 1:30pm at the Newberry Library with speaker Jeanne Larzelere Bloom, CG. The program will be Valid and Unsound Assumptions: What Was She Thinking? The search for the deceased husband of Elizabeth Larzelere enumerated in 1820 with four young children leads to unexpected results and to new questions. Come learn about this research journey.

    Jeanne Larzalere Bloom, CG® is a full-time professional researcher with over fifteen (15) years of experience. She specializes in forensic genealogy, problem solving, multi-generational family histories, Chicago and Cook County research.

    As a case manager for the American History Company, Jeanne works on identifying family members that can provide Family Reference Samples (mtDNA, Y-DNA, and autosomal DNA) to aid in the possible identification of unaccounted for soldiers from World War II, the Korean War, and the Vietnam War and to determine the Primary Next of Kin and the Secondary Next of Kin of the servicemen. She has worked on over 400 cases with a success rate of over 95 percent.

    Jeanne researched the Chicago ancestry for many episodes of the television series, Who Do You Think You Are? and appeared in the Jason Sudeikis and Julie Bowen episodes.

    Jeanne lectures frequently at conferences, workshops, and institutes and writes articles for scholarly journals and society publications.

    She holds a Bachelor of Arts [History] from the University of Illinois at Chicago and a second-year certificate from the University of Chicago’s publishing program. She is a trustee and a former president of the Board for Certification of Genealogists.

    The words Certified Genealogist and CG are registered trademarks of the Board for Certification of Genealogists, used under license by board certificants after periodic evaluation, and the board name is registered in the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office.

  • 2 Oct 2018 11:30 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)


    Saturday, October 20, 2018 will be Family History Day at the Harold Washington Library. The Chicago Genealogical Society partners with Chicago Public Library for a full day of genealogy learning. There will be four lectures in the auditorium:

    -       An Introduction to Wikitree

    -       I Did My DNA test, now what?

    -       Guide to Overseas Research

    -       Adoption searches: past and present

    Also, the multi-purpose rooms will be staffed with genealogists and librarians to answer your research questions as well as expo tables. Cost is free. Please join us at 400 South State Street, Chicago, on October 20th!

    Here is the link to the HWL History and Genealogy page, which includes all of the events:

  • 31 Jul 2018 3:38 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    The Chicago Genealogical Society is offering a genealogical bus tour on Saturday, October 6, 2018. What is a genealogical bus tour? It is a genealogically related special full day tour with a focus on a Chicago topic for genealogists and family historians interested in researching Chicago family history. 

    The tour attendees are moved from site to site in a luxury motor coach and with several opportunities to get off the bus for walks to explore up close specific locations of tour interests. The bus will be ready for boarding promptly at 9:30 a.m. on October 6th and will depart from the northwest corner of the Ogilvie Transportation Center (Madison and Clinton Streets) in Chicago. The bus returns by 4:00pm to the same location.

    Our tour guide is retired history teacher, Craig Pfannkuche. If you have never been on one of our bus tours with Craig as our guide, you don’t know what you are missing. If you have been on one of our tours already, you are usually the first to register. Craig is a terrific tour guide sharing his incredible knowledge of Chicago history and genealogy research every minute of the tour. Ok – we do let him eat lunch.  

    So what is the genealogical topic for the October 6, 2018 Bus Tour?

    Rosehill Cemetery Mausoleum and Graceland Cemetery Tour

    “Burial” in an above ground niche is becoming more and more popular. The Rosehill Cemetery Mausoleum has been on site at the Western Ave side of the cemetery for many years and has undergone a number of beautiful renovations and expansions. A walk through the quiet, colorful and historic halls among the many rooms containing both the remains and cremains of many of Chicago’s most well-known leaders such as the Shedd family, is a fantastic thing for family history researchers to do.

    A walk through an “older fashioned” but still especially beautiful Graceland Cemetery where a large number of historic Chicagoans from John Kinzie and John Peter Altgeld to George Pullman and the Palmers are buried is a superb way to come “in touch” with the city’s interesting past will take place in the afternoon.

    Seats are limited on the coach bus and reservations are required. First come, first reserved. Fee based on member/non-member and optional lunch. See reservation form to mail in or pay online. Information link Reservations are due by September 29. No refund after September 29. We will depart from the northwest corner of the Ogilvie Transportation Center in downtown Chicago (on Madison Street between Canal and Clinton Streets) at 9:30am on October 6th.

    Register today!

  • 11 Jun 2018 11:30 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)


    The Chicago Genealogical Society announced in the spring a special gravestone photo project for members. We offered to take pictures of family gravestones in Chicago and Cook County, Illinois. Members could request up to three gravestones. The requests have been complied and the top two cemeteries have been selected for a “Meet Up” to complete the requests.

    On June 30, we will be meeting at 9:00am to take pictures at ST. BONIFACE CEMETERY, 4901 N Clark Street, Chicago. Around 10:00am we will be meeting at CALVARY CEMETERY, 301 Chicago Avenue, Evanston. The two cemeteries are about three miles apart.

    We will meet inside the front gates. The requests will already be researched providing gravesite locations. Volunteers will need to find the gravestones and take pictures. Bring a smart phone or digital camera. Don’t have either, come anyway and help locate gravestones.  Volunteers who take the gravestone photos will be given instructions to send the photos to CGS and then the CGS project coordinator will make sure the member who requested the photo receives it.

    So come join us on June 30th at 9:00am to volunteer!

  • 4 Jun 2018 11:30 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)


    The Chicago Genealogical Society announces first Chicago webinar “Using Family Photos to Learn About Your Ancestors” on Sunday June 10 at 4:00pm CDT.

    Join Chicago Historian, Craig Pfannkuche, to learn about using photos to learn about your ancestors. We will discuss how to date photos, identify photographers using city directories and locate neighborhoods where your ancestors lived and their socio-economic standing. All photo examples will be CHICAGO photos.

    Please register for this FREE CGS Webinar at:

    After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the webinar. There is a limit to how many people can attend so register and make sure you join the webinar early that day.

  • 15 May 2018 3:23 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)


    Chicago Genealogical Society’s next program, June 2nd - Chicago in 1893 and the Columbian Exposition.

    People came from all over the world to explore the wondrous Columbian Exposition in Chicago in the summer of 1893, but what else might visitors’ take the time to see or do during their visit? Like Paul Harvey, Donna Primas will tell you “the rest of the story” about city life and the most popular and amazing attractions that vied for tourist dollars (or quarters) circa 1893 Chicago.

    Our speaker, Donna Primas, has been giving tours of Chicago in Spanish and English since 1983. In recent years she has been combining tour commentary with fantastic visuals to produce intriguing presentations that give a feel of time and place while revealing little-known stories of Chicago history. She will help us genealogists better visualize life just before the turn of the past century in Chicago!

    This FREE program will be held at the Newberry Library at 60 West Walton, Chicago, and begin at 1:30 p.m.

    Please note: We will begin the June program with the Society’s Annual General Membership Meeting with the Election of Officers.

  • 23 Apr 2018 11:30 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)


    As the Age of Canals absorbed huge numbers of Irish and other laborers in that time, such was also true to an even greater extent in the “Age of Railroads.” Rights of way, cuts and fills, and ditches and tunnels were excavated most often by sheer muscle power. Ties were hand laid and spikes to hold the rails in place were manually hammered home. A massive infrastructure of stations, water and coaling towers, round houses, section houses and a vast array of other supporting structures were built and maintained by hand.  Rail cars were hand built of wood. Miles of wooden trestles were erected and maintained. Armies of section hands inspected and maintained many thousands of miles of track. Agents, telegraphers and signal maintainers worked to keep trains running on time. Swarms of crossing guards kept watch over street and road crossings. An almost uncountable number of clerks and office workers filled out bills of lading and handled ticket finances.  Engine wipers, oilers, hostlers, coalers, ash pan dumpers, water tenders, wick trimmers, carpenters, painters, wheel knockers, and a wide variety of blacksmiths and other metal specialists worked behind a train’s engineer, fireman, conductor, and two or three brakemen to get it over the line. Switchmen in huge numbers aligned switches to get trains to the correct destinations. Clearly, railroads were the largest employer in the nation of workers, both male and female, of any industry outside of agriculture in the 1850 – 1930 period.

    Railroad companies were meticulous record keepers. Large amounts of family history data were collected by the numerous railroad companies which spun their web of rails across the nation.  These records cover work done by millions of working men and women even up to the present day. Much of this material survives and is a potential treasure of family history data to researchers.

    You are invited to attend the Chicago Genealogical Society’s next program on Saturday, May 5, to learn about using Railroad Records in family history research Our speaker, Craig Pfannkuche, Genealogical Archivist for the Chicago and Northwestern Railroad Historical Society, will discuss the type of such records which exist, how they meet genealogical research needs and how to access them by using the archives of the Chicago and North Western Historical Society as an example.

    This FREE program will be held at the Newberry Library at 60 West Walton, Chicago, and begin at 1:30 p.m on Saturday, May 5th.

  • 12 Apr 2018 3:26 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)


    Calvary Cemetery up in Evanston? Bohemian National Cemetery on the North side? Forest Home Cemetery in Forest Park? Queen of Heaven Cemetery out in Hillside on the edge of Cook County? Have you located the gravestone? Do you have a picture and transcription?  If not, the Chicago Genealogical Society can help!

    The Chicago Genealogical Society is offering a special gravestone photo project for members only. Let us take pictures of your family gravestones in Cook County, Illinois. Members can request up to three gravestones. Requests are due by May 31, 2018. Requests will be compiled and the cemetery with the most requests will be selected first for photographs on June 30th 9:00am – 11:00am. Other requests will be photographed as volunteers are able to complete. Depending on the number of requests received, it may not be possible for volunteers to complete every one. Also, volunteers may not be successful in finding the requested graves. If the grave is located, you will be emailed photo(s) of the grave along with a transcription and a photo of the cemetery gate and/or cemetery sign. If you mark the person as a veteran, CGS will put a small U.S. Flag beside the grave stone.

    Start reviewing your research and see what gravestones you are missing. Don’t delay! Complete the request form and send it in!

    Not a member, join CGS and see what we are all about. Join online at complete the membership form and mail it in.

  • 29 Mar 2018 11:30 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)


    The Chicago Genealogical Society’s next program will be on Saturday April 7th at 1:30pm. Our program The Newberry Library:  Genealogy Collections and Tools.

    The Newberry acquires and preserves a broad array of books, manuscripts, maps, and other materials relating to the civilizations of Europe and the Americas. They focus on collecting original or primary source materials – such as manuscripts and early editions of printed books and maps – that will be preserved and made available for generations. In doing so, they aspire to enhance the great collection strengths that have been built by curators, librarians, other scholars, and donors throughout the library’s history.

    The Newberry has been collecting genealogy and local history materials since 1887. Staff at the Genealogy and Local History desk can help you explore the Newberry’s rich collections of family histories; local histories; censuses, probate, deed, court, tax, and cemetery records; military rosters; periodicals; genealogical guides; and reference works.

    Our Speaker, Matt Rutherford, MLIS, is Curator of Genealogy and Local History at the Newberry. 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 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, researching pre-fire Chicago, adoption searches, non-population census schedules, the history of the federal census, and the Social Security Death Index. He is the co-author of A Bibliography of African American History at the Newberry Library (2005).

    This FREE program will be held at the Newberry Library at 60 West Walton, Chicago, and begin at 1:30 p.m.

Chicago Genealogical Society is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization.  Address: PO Box 1160, Chicago, IL  60690-1160

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