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. This free program will be on May 4th, 1:30pm, at the Newberry Library.
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 http://www.eastlanddisaster.org/
We are excited to launch our new website. There has been a lot of planning, customizing, reviewing and hard work by the committee to make this happen. We have our features from the old website included with an updated look and several new features. Check out what is new:
New Home Page with Current News and Upcoming Events
You will find a list of upcoming events and current society news. There is also the current Facebook page post.
Members Only Section
The Chicago Genealogist – All volumnes full title index with volumnes 1-39 CARLI link and volumnes 40 to current on our website.
Vital Records from Chicago Newspapers 1833 – 1848 index and members can look up the article by year.
Past CGS Newsletters – 2006 to current
CGS Cemetery Book Publications
Chicago recorded webinars that members can watch as many times as they want.
We have many more items to add to the members only section, so stay tuned.
As a current member, you will be receiving an email soon to set-up your member profile to be able to access the members only section. We will be loading up your membership information. You will be able to set-up your privacy settings and add your surname data to share with other members if you like.
Purple Hearts Reunited Special Event: Experience a Return Ceremony + Honor our Researchers + Receive our Brick Wall Research Tips.
Join us and the Genealogy Interest Group of the St. Andrew Society of Illinois (GIG-SASIL) on March 2nd for a special program featuring the charitable foundation, Purple Hearts Reunited (PHR), whose mission is "to return lost or stolen military medals of valor to veterans or their families, in order to honor their sacrifice to the nation." Since 2016, twenty research volunteers from our and GIG-SASIL's groups have been identifying the veterans of now over 100 lost purple hearts, writing the veterans' biographies and finding either the veteran or their living next of kin so PHR can return these lost medals. Come to this moving program to experience a PHR Return Ceremony where a local family will welcome their hero's lost purple heart back home where it belongs. Help PHR honor our 20 research volunteers. And receive advice on how these volunteers used some interesting research techniques to get past some pretty incredible genealogical brick walls.
This special event is free and will be at the Newberry Library on March 2, at 1:30pm.
Learn how to use yearbooks as sources for genealogical information, for insights into personalities, and for historical and social context.
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. Jeanne researched the Chicago ancestry for many episodes of the television series, Who Do You Think You Are? andappeared 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.
Please register for CGS Webinar # Using Yearbooks for Genealogy on Feb 10, 2019 4:00 PM CST at:
Join the Chicago Genealogical Society for our next program on Saturday, February 2, 2019, at the Newberry Library. Our speaker will be Barry Love. As genealogists we strive to feel connected with our ancestors. By piecing together clues about their lives, we try to build a story about who they were and how they lived. Those clues may mention a specific place where an ancestor lived or worked.
We can use research methods familiar to genealogists to add enriching details about those places and companies to our family narratives. These seemingly tangential stories add context, create a better sense of time and place, and can make our family narratives far more complete and compelling.
Digging into the history of the century-old Eversharp mechanical pencil factory in Roscoe Village uncovered surprising links to key people and events in Chicago, the nation, and the world. Come learn about this research journey, and see some of the documents and artifacts discovered along the way.
Barry Love serves on the boards of the Chicago Genealogical Society, Roscoe Village Neighbors, and the condo association in the Pencil Factory Lofts. Barry also leads walking tours of Roscoe Village as a collaborator with the nonprofit Chicago for Chicagoans. He loves opportunities to connect his passions for genealogy and Chicago neighborhood history.
This program is free and will be at the Newberry Library at 1:30pm. Join us!
The Chicago Genealogical Society announces January Webinar “Genealogy Road Trips” on Sunday January 13 at 4:00pm CDT. There are several ways to explore your family history on a genealogy vacation. You can spend your time on a local day trip to neighborhoods where your ancestors lived and worked. Alternatively, you can visit for a few days overnight the domestic places your ancestors raised their families and immerse yourself in the culture and history of those areas. Finally, you can take a trip to your ancestors' original homeland, independently or with a genealogy tour group, even if you are not sure exactly where your ancestors were born. CGS's Julie Benson, a travel aficionado, will share with you tips on how to get the most out of your local, domestic and/or international Genealogy Road Trips.
Please register for CGS Webinar Series #2 - Genealogy Road Trips on Jan 13, 2019 4:00 PM CST at:
After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the webinar.
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 ChicagoAncestors.org.
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
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.
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.
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: https://chipublib.bibliocommons.com/events/search/local_start=2018-10-20%20TO%202018-10-20&fq=types:(53f20436e04c1e3b1c00d09d)
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 http://www.chicagogenealogy.org/rosehill-cemetery-mausoleum-and-graceland-cemetery-tour/. 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.
Chicago Genealogical Society is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization. Address: PO Box 1160, Chicago, IL 60690-1160