Genealogy and Local History | Newberry

Genealogy and Local History

Manuel Rodriguez. Compendio Geografico, c. 1768

Manuel Rodriguez. Compendio Geografico, c.1768. Case broadside BX3706.A2 C56 1768.

Our Chicago Suburbs - Hinsdale, ILL. and the Residence of O.J. Stough, Esq. 1873. Case Wing H 94.005.

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.

Finding What We Have

Explore the Newberry’s Catalogs and Guides, the primary tools for identifying and locating books, maps, periodicals, and manuscripts relevant to your research.

Programs and Additional Support

Researchers may wish to acquaint themselves with our Rights and Reproductions and Interlibrary Loan policies for information about requesting photocopies of Newberry materials. The Newberry’s affiliate status with FamilySearch enables registered readers to access some restricted content on For help in accessing FamilySearch content, as well as for help in hiring a genealogy researcher, see Referrals. Contact a Librarian for assistance with research questions, or plan Research Visits and Group Visits for Genealogists.

The Newberry also offers an assortment of programs that may be of use to genealogical researchers. See Programs for Genealogists to learn more about upcoming lectures and workshops. See our Adult Education Seminars or browse Seminars by Subject for more programs which may aid the genealogical researcher.

Learn more about how to Donate Books and Materials to the Local and Family History Collection.

Genealogy Collection Strengths


The Newberry has over 17,000 published genealogies.The collection’s coverage of colonial America and New England is particularly strong. Many rare titles covering gentry and noble families of the British Isles are also included.

Local Histories

The local history collection includes county, city, town, church, and other local histories from all regions of the United States, as well as from Canada and the British Isles. The Newberry holds a comprehensive collection of New England town histories, as well as a strong collection of county histories from the Midwest and Mid-Atlantic states. The collection of local histories from the British Isles is also noteworthy.

Genealogical Source Material

Published indexes, abstracts or transcriptions of pre-twentieth century records of birth, death, and marriage, as well as probate, deed, court, tax, and cemetery records form an important segment of the Newberry’s genealogy collection. These materials are primarily from the area of the Mississippi Valley to the Eastern Seaboard, as well as from Canada and the British Isles.

Military Records

The Newberry collects roster and pension reference works covering the colonial wars through the Civil War. Some materials on the Spanish American War and World War One are also available. The Newberry’s collection of Civil War unit histories is one of the country’s best.

Electronic Resources

The Newberry has subscriptions to several Electronic Resources of interest to genealogists. Among them are American Ancestors,, Fold3, Gen-line, and HeritageQuest Online. These databases are only accessible from within the Newberry.


The library has complete runs of many state and county historical and genealogical publications, as well as important regional and national journals such as The New England Genealogical and Historical Register, The American Genealogist, and The National Genealogical Society Quarterly. The Newberry also holds British journals of local and regional history.

Related Digital Resources

A project of the William M. Scholl Center for American History and Culture, the Atlas of Historical County Boundaries is a powerful historical research and reference tool in...
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In partnership with the Chicago Genealogical Society, the Newberry has provided full-text searchable PDFs of volumes 1-39 (1969-2007) of the Chicago Genealogist. The Chicago...
The Chicago Foreign Language Press Survey is a collection of translated newspaper articles originally published in Chicago’s ethnic press between the 1860s and the 1930s....
Chicago-area photographer Helen Balfour Morrison is largely unknown today, but she created impressive body of photographs documenting African American life in Depression-era...