Chicago Genealogy

This guide contains a sample of The Newberry’s resources on this topic. To locate additional resources, please check our catalog or consult a reference librarian.

This research guide is also available as a PDF file.

Newberry Online Resource

Chicago Ancestors is a website devoted to helping people find and share historical information about Chicago

Vital Records

Consult Cook County Vital Records Guide (opens as a PDF)

Polish Marriages in Chicago through 1915. Marriages in Catholic parishes in Chicago. Compiled by the Polish Genealogical Society of America.

Request forms for genealogical copies of Cook County birth, death, and marriage certificates are available at the 2nd floor reference desk.

Newspapers

A full list is available at 2nd floor reference desk.

Chicago Daily News. 1879-1935 only. Open shelf microfilm behind 2nd floor reference desk.

Chicago Defender. 1909-1950 only. Open shelf microfilm behind 2nd floor reference desk.

Chicago Tribune

  • 1849-1872, lacking 1859. Call # Microfilm 605. Specify month and year.
  • 1914-1920, 1928-1939, lacking May 1917. Call # A6.169. Specify month and year. Papers are too fragile to photocopy.
  • 1940-1964. Open shelf microfilm behind 2nd floor reference desk.
  • 1849-1985 (ProQuest Historical Newspapers), fully searchable digitized version.

Illinois Newspaper Project. Search by town of publication or by specific title if already known. The database will provide you with a list of libraries in Illinois that have copies of the newspaper. Includes Newberry Library holdings. There is good coverage of Chicago newspapers

Directories and Telephone Books

Chicago city directories. 1839-1870 (irregular), 1871-1917 (every year), 1923, 1928/29 on microfilm behind 2nd floor reference desk. Selected years available online.

Chicago telephone books. Incomplete holdings. See binder at 2nd floor reference desk. 1930 and 1940 on microfilm behind 2nd floor reference desk.

Chicago criss-cross directories. 1953, 1955. See directories binder at the 2ndfloor reference desk. The 1928-1929 Polk directory is available online (opens as a PDF).

See also social, ethnic, fraternal, and other directories in the directories binder at the 2ndfloor reference desk or the online City Directories guide.

Census

Complete federal census on microfilm 1840-1880, 1900- 1930. Printed indexes through 1870. CD-ROM index for 1870. Soundex index and CD-ROM index for 1880. Soundex/Miracode index for 1900, 1910, 1920. Map finding aids for 1870, 1880, 1900, 1910, 1920, and 1930. Enumeration district descriptions for 1920, 1930. See A Look at Cook for ward/enumeration district boundaries, 1870-1880, 1910-1930.

Church Records

For more church records, see Guide to Chicago Churches and Synagogues at 2nd floor reference desk or the online guide.

Also consult the Family History Library (Salt Lake City) catalog at http://www.familysearch.org . Through a loan program, microfilm can be ordered for use at the Newberry. Ask at the 2nd floor reference desk.

Bethania Lutheran, W. Indiana (now Grand) and Carpenter. Call # Local History Ref Microfilm 1297 (2nd floor open shelf). Baptisms (1893-1906), Marriages (1878-1906).

Bethesda Lutheran Church, 3725 E.105th (Swedish). Call # Local History Ref Microfilm 1294 (2nd floor open shelf). Baptisms (1800s-1928), Marriages (1891-1928) Deaths (1893-1928).

Central Lutheran, Lovell and LeMoyne (Norwegian). Call # Local History Ref Microfilm 1299 (2nd floor open shelf). Baptisms (1922-1946), Marriages (1922-1946) Deaths (1922-1946).

Evangelical Lutheran Church of St. Luke, 1500 W. Belmont (German). Call # Local History Ref Microfilm 544 (2nd floor open shelf). Baptisms (1884-1975), Marriages (1884-1975), Deaths (1884-1975).

First Bethlehem Lutheran, 1645 W. LeMoyne (German). Call # Local History Ref Microfilm 1173 (2nd floor open shelf). Baptisms (1871-1934), Marriages (1871-1877, 1883-1902, 1904-1935), Deaths (1886-1891, 1900-1935).

First Immanuel Lutheran, 1124 S. Ashland (German). Call # Local History Ref Microfilm 867 (2nd floor open shelf). Baptisms (1863-1958), Marriages (1854-1955), Deaths (1857-1950).

First St. Paul’s Evangelical Lutheran, 1301 N. LaSalle (German). Call # Local History Ref Microfilm 1076 (2nd floor open shelf). Baptisms (1863?-1985), Marriages (1872-1985), Deaths (1869-1947).

First Zion Evangelical Lutheran, 19th and Peoria (Swedish). Call # Local History Ref Microfilm 1260 (2nd floor open shelf). Baptisms (1868-1943), Marriages (1868-1941), Deaths (1886-1941).

Lutheran Church of the Redeemer, 4901 W. Bernice (Norwegian). Call # Local History Ref Microfilm 1298 (2nd floor open shelf). Baptisms (1916-1945), Marriages (1916-1945), Deaths (1916-1945).

Moreland Lutheran Church, 5443 W. Huron (Norwegian). Call # Local History Ref Microfilm 1300 (2nd floor open shelf). Baptisms (1886-1962), Marriages (1886-1962), Deaths (1886-1962).

Old St. Mary’s (Catholic), 25 E. Van Buren. Call # Local History Ref Microfilm 706 (2nd floor open shelf). Baptisms (1833-1929), Marriages (1803-1929).

St. James Evangelical Lutheran, 2248 N. Fremont (German). Call # Local History Ref Microfilm 374 (2nd floor open shelf). Baptisms (1870-1931), Marriages (1870-1923), Deaths (1870-1951).

St. John Evangelical Lutheran, Hoyne and Walton (German). Call # Local History Ref Microfilm 1262 (2nd floor open shelf). Baptisms (1867-1974), Marriages (1867-1974), Deaths (1867-1974).

St. Mathews Evangelical Lutheran, 2108 W. 21st. Call # Local History Ref Microfilm 1204 (2nd floor open shelf). Baptisms (1872-1934), Marriages (1872-1978), Deaths (1876-1926).

Saron, Shakespeare and Richmond (Swedish). Call # Local History Ref Microfilm 1295 (2nd floor open shelf). Baptisms (1888-1933), Marriages (1888-1933), Deaths (1833-1933).

Trinity Evangelical Lutheran, 1400 N. Laramie (German). Call # Local History Ref Microfilm 1302 (2nd floor open shelf). Baptisms (1870-1979), Marriages (1871-1979), Deaths (1871-1979).

Trinity Evangelical Lutheran, 7950 S. Burnham (Norwegian). Call # Local History Ref Microfilm 1303 (2nd floor open shelf). Baptisms (1900-1971), Marriages (1902-1971), Deaths (1903-1971).

Zion Lutheran, 2244 S. Irving (now Bell). Call # Local History Ref Microfilm 1296 (2nd floor open shelf). Baptisms (1884-1942), Marriages (1884-1942), Deaths (1884-1942).

Cemetery Records

Bohemian National Cemetery. Call # Local History Ref F548.61.B64 (2nd floor open shelf). Genealogical request forms at 2nd floor reference desk.

Cook County Honor Roll, 1956. Veterans’ graves. Call # Local History Ref E181.I34 1956 (2nd floor open shelf).

The Roll of Honor: …Soldiers, Sailors and Marines…buried in the cemeteries of Cook County. Call # E494 .L67 1922 and E494 .L67 1922 Index.

Norwood Park Home Cemetery, in Chicago, Illinois. Call # Local History Ref F548.25 .N69 1997 (2nd floor open shelf).

Records of Waldheim and Forest Home. Organized by date of burial. Call # Local History Ref Microfilm 1215 (2nd floor open shelf).

Union Ridge Cemetery (6700 West Higgins). Call # Local History Ref F548.25 .U55 1995 (2nd floor open shelf).

Wunders. Indexed transcription of gravestones, Call # Local History Ref F548.61.W85 (2nd floor open shelf). Unindexed ledger books, call # Local History Ref Microfilm 1261 (2nd floor open shelf). Ask at 2nd floor reference desk for guide.

Obituary Indexes

Husband, Lori. Deaths in the Chicago Defender, 1910-1920. Park Forest, Ill.: L. Husband, 1990. Call # Local History Ref F548.5 .H87 1990 (2nd floor open shelf).

Novak, Joe. The Denni Hlasatel Obituary Index. 1891-1995 in 2 volumes. Sugar Grove, Ill.: Czech and Slovak American Genealogy Society of Illinois, 1996. For 1891-1970, Call # Local History Ref F548.9.B67 N679 1996 (2nd floor open shelf) and for 1971-1995, Call # Local History Ref F548.9 B67 N6792 1997 (2nd floor open shelf). Served Chicago’s Bohemian community.

Hollowak, Thomas. Index to Obituaries and Death Notices appearing in the Dziennik Chicagoski. 1890-1929 in 4 volumes. Call # Local History Ref F548.9 P7 H65 1984 through F548.9 P7 H653 1991 (2nd floor open shelf). Served Chicago’s Polish community. See also online versions for 1890-1920 and 1930-1971.

Buildings, Streets, and Addresses

Cook County Assessor’s Office. Search by address or neighborhood. Property value information, approximate age of the building, recent photo.

Plan of Re-Numbering City of Chicago. Shows house number changes that impacted most of the city in 1909. Ask at 2nd floor reference desk. Also available online (opens as a PDF).

City of Chicago Landmarks Commission. Chicago Historic Resources Survey. Information about pre-1940 buildings of architectural or historical interest. Search online by street name, neighborhood, architect, construction era or style. Book version has photos, community histories, cross-indexes and more. Call # Ref NA735.C4 C395 1996 (3rdfloor open shelf).

McNalis, John. Chicago Streets. Shows street name changes. Ask at 2nd floor reference desk. Available online (opens as a PDF). For street name changes, see also this RootsWeb resource.

Chicago Historical Society. Index to the American Contractor’s Chicago Building Permit Column, 1898-1912. Searchable by architect, original owner, or street name.

Maps

Checklist of Chicago region maps at the Newberry Library : including maps of the city, Cook County, and the collar counties of DuPage, Kane, Lake, McHenry and Will. Chicago: The Newberry Library, 2005. Call # Local History Ref Z6028 .N48 2005c (2nd floor open shelf).

Sanborn maps for Chicago. Call # G1409 C4 S3 1901 map8C Index Map. 1900-1950. Most volumes contain corrections dated to 1990. Also available on-line in Digital Sanborn Maps 1867-1970 (many suburbs also).

Miscellaneous

Chicago Police Department Homicide Record Index, 1870-1930. The Illinois Regional Archives Depository (IRAD) in Chicago created this online index of Chicago homicide victims.

Northwestern University has created a database with this information.

Cook County Coroner’s Inquest Record Index 1872-1911. Created by IRAD. Lists coroner’s inquests, which are investigations of deaths under criminal or suspicious circumstances.

Chicago and Cook County Biography and Industry File, 3rd floor card catalog. Indexes biographical sketches from over 25 local histories and biographical dictionaries.

Chicago Genealogist. Journal of the Chicago Genealogical Society. Call # Local History Ref F548.1.C45 (2nd floor open shelf).

DuMelle, Grace. Finding Your Chicago Ancestors. Chicago: Lake Claremont Press, 2005. Call # Local History Ref F548.25 .D86 2005 (2nd floor open shelf).

Grossman, James R., Ann Durkin Keating, Janice L. Reiff, ed. The Encyclopedia of Chicago. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2004. Local History Ref F548.3 .E53 2004 (2nd floor reference desk). Also available online.

Szucs, Loretto. Chicago and Cook County Sources: A Guide to Research. Salt Lake City, UT: Ancestry, 1996. Call # Local History Ref Z1278.C5S97 (2nd floor reference desk).