Find suggestions here for tracing your Chicago family history in our City’s fine repositories, as well as a summary of their holdings. There are, of course, additional genealogical resources in the city, but those listed here are basic starting points. Directions from Downtown using public transit are also included.
§ Cook County Coroner's Inquest Record Index (Illinois State Archives)
§ Chicago Police Department Homicide Record Index, 1870-1930 (by Northwestern Univ.): Search 11,000 Chicago homicide cases and view the case details
§ Cook County Clerk’s Office Search for B, M, D
§ Illinois Deaths and Stillbirths 1916-1947 (FamilySearch.org)
§ Cook County Online Historical Directories: An index to directories on subscription and non-subscription websites.
§ Cook County Cemeteries (Internment.net)
§ Cook County Cemeteries (ISGS Cemetery Location Project)
§ Wunders Cemetery, Chicago – a CGS publication (and an Ancestry.com $ database)
§ First Presbyterian Church 1833-1913 (only 1894-1913 is transcribed here)
§ Polish parishes Jubilee index: a compilation of names appearing in Jubilee, History and Financial books published by parishes to commemorate special events in their church history
§ St. Michael’s Catholic Church, Baptisms, 1870-1871: a German-speaking church on Cleveland Avenue
§ Chicago Institutions (mainly hospitals, medical colleges) from the “Historical Encyclopedia of Illinois” ©1901
§ Chicago Orphan Asylum Fifty-ninth Annual Report of The Chicago Orphan Asylum, For the Year Ending 1 Dec 1908. Incorporated November 5, 1849. 5120 South Park Avenue, Chicago. Telephone 520 Oakland. Published 1909.
§ Chicago City Council Proceedings: Explore this collection of early petitions, ordinances, communications and other official records from 1827-1933 to discover how police and fire protection, public works, schools and taxation originated in Chicago. Find out about the construction of the Illinois and Michigan Canal beginning in 1827, the incorporation of Chicago as a town in 1833, and the Great Fire of 1871 and its aftermath.
§ Cook County Assessor’s Office: Search properties in by address, neighborhood, or PIN number. Besides property value information, site also provides age of building, and photos.
§ Cook County Recorder of Deeds: Search properties by grantor/grantee, document number, PIN, trust number, find legal description.
§ Chicago in 1919: Explore such topics as the 1919 race riot, new roles for women, the increasing uses of electricity, trends in the arts, labor organizing, business developments, and more. This unique multimedia history program makes you the historian as you sift through documents and photographs, listen to oral histories, and enjoy the top jazz, opera, and pop tunes of the day.
§ Deaths, Disturbances, Disasters and Disorders in Chicago: Cholera and influenza epidemics, Iroquois Theater and stock yards fires, Pullman strike, beer riots, etc.
§ Digital Past: images of Chicago and suburbs
§ World’s Fair 1933-34: A Century of Progress: Explore the theme of the fair, scientific discoveries and their impact on industry and daily life, by viewing 350 pamphlets and official publications of the fair from the University of Chicago Library’s collection.
§ Census, A Look At Cook: Maps and Boundary Descriptions for Wards, Townships, and Enumeration Districts.
§ Chicago Street Address Conversion Guide: In 1909, Chicago changed its street-numbering system for most of the city. Use this address conversion guide to find a building’s original address.
§ Atlas of Historical County Boundaries: This database gives the historical county boundaries of every county in the United States. You can view and download Adobe PDF files for any state that is of interest to you in your genealogical research. ie. Illinois. Each county in Illinois is listed alphabetically with a map showing the outline of the county at a given period of time. The time period is shown at the top of the map and there is an explanation of what change occurred to the map of the county during the time period in question.
§ Chicagoancestors.org: Discover the past by address. An interactive online map of Chicago where you can find and share historical information about Chicago. Are you researching the history of a neighborhood? Looking for the church where your great-grandparents got married? Interested in mapping the places where your ancestors lived?
§ Chicago Imagebase (Maps)
§ Sanborn Maps for Illinois: These historical fire insurance maps of Illinois often include detailed drawings of the businesses, and occasionally details about operational hours or numbers of employees.
§ Chicago’s neighborhoods: This guide lists books, articles and maps in the Newberry Library and other links to neighborhood collections
§ Chicago neighborhoods: Explore Chicago’s 77 distinct community areas and diverse neighborhoods on the City of Chicago’s official tourism site. There is a downloadable, printable PDF map of the city. Discover stories and history on the North, West and South sides, and click on the neighborhood names for a more in-depth look at the communities.
§ Dziennik Chicagoski 1890-1929: index of death notices and obituaries in Chicago’s Polish language newspaper
§ Dziennik Chicagoski 1930-1971: index of death notices and obituaries in Chicago’s Polish language newspaper
§ Chicago Public Schools graduation and attendee’s records: also find alumni, and more!
§ Chicago school records: information, and what’s at the Newberry Library
§ Chicago schools: fact sheets, commencement programs, etc. (see boxes 35-37)