Our Family & Local History area upstairs has books, magazines, a vertical file of resources and microfilm, and a dedicated research computer. This area is near the study rooms and staff desk.
On this page:
Ancestry.com Library Edition
Access to a wide variety of resources including: census records, military records, immigration records, and much more. Because this is the Library Edition of this product, it is only accessible from computers located in the library.
Want to learn more? Access the ProQuest LibGuide on Using Ancestry.com.
Chicago Tribune Historical Archive
Covers news stories of both local and national issues and events occurring over the past 150 years, from 1849 to 1984.
FamilySearch website includes free family history, family tree, and genealogy records and resources from around the world. FamilySearch basic access is available anywhere, but full access is only available in the library.
Fold3 provides convenient access to military records, including the stories, photos, and personal documents of the men and women who served.
The records at Fold3 help you discover and share stories about these everyday heroes, forgotten soldiers, and the families that supported them.
Heritage Quest offers a unique, growing collection of research materials for tracing family history and American culture. Want to learn more? Access the ProQuest LibGuide on Using HeritageQuest.
To see more records and archives we subscribe to, please visit A–Z Online Resources.
More Genealogy Resources
Do you have favorite genealogy resources that we don't share here? Please email firstname.lastname@example.org so we can list them.
General Family Searching
- United States Census Bureau
Learn how the U.S. Census Bureau serves America as the leading source of quality data about our people, business and economy.
- Civil War Soldiers and Sailors System
The Civil War Soldiers and Sailors System is a computerized databases containing very basic facts about servicemen who served both sides during the Civil War.
- Chronicling America Newspapers
Search America's historic newspaper pages from 1789–1963 or use the U.S. Newspaper Directory to find information about American newspapers published between 1690–present.
- Cyndi’s List
This site is one of the best! Cyndi’s list of genealogy sites on the internet. Take your time and review the categories that you want to search. One thing can lead to another.
Online searchable death indexes and records. Many free databases, some are connected to Ancestry.com and may require a fee to search.
- Ellis Island
More immigrants came to the United States through Ellis Island than any other spot in our country. Type in your ancestor’s last name and see if one of your relatives came through this important and historical port of entry.
- Family Search
Family Search website includes free family history, family tree, and genealogy records and resources from around the world.
- Germanic Genealogy Society
GGS offers information, educational opportunities, publications, and association with others researching German roots. This includes areas that are outside of the current borders of Germany. Their goal is to help you learn how to find and use records of your German-speaking ancestors.
- National Digital Newspaper Program
The National Digital Newspaper Program (NDNP) is a long-term effort to provide permanent access to a national digital resource of newspaper bibliographic information and historic newspapers from all U.S. states and territories.
- Polish Genealogical Society of America
Your starting place for Polish genealogical research. PGSA attempts to assist members in doing their own genealogical research by providing books, newsletters, bulletins, printed information, regular Society meetings, and an annual workshop.
A website so big we recommend taking the tutorial first. Type in your family name and let the fun begin!
- The Smithsonian Folklife and Oral History Interviewing Guide (Also available as The Smithsonian's Guide PDF)
- State Public Libraries
Publiclibraries.com provides regularly updated directory listings for library systems and all their branch locations across the United States. The listings are organized by state (or territory) and they contain the physical address and contact phone number for each library.
- US State and Local Historical and Genealogical Societies
The USGenNet Index of Online U.S. State and Local Historical & Genealogical Societies.
- USGen Web Project
Keeping free genealogy on the Internet. The USGenWeb Project is a group of volunteers working together and having fun providing free online genealogy help and information for every U.S. state and county. Their national site provides links to state sites, which, in turn, provide gateways to the counties.
- A Guide to Researching the History of a House by HomeAdvisor
If you live in a house that’s more than a few decades old, it’s natural to wonder about its history. Who built it, and when? Who lived there before you moved in? You might even wonder about the evolution of the home’s structure, as well as any changes made to it over time. (Thank you to our awesome local Brownie Scouts for this suggestion!)
Illinois & Cook County Resources
- Illinois State Genealogical Society
Illinois-wide genealogical events, classes, projects, databases, publications and more vital information.
- Illinois Department of Public Health
Each year, IDPH records about a half million vital record events (births, deaths, marriages, divorces, adoptions and abortions) as mandated by state statutes and federal uniform data collection requirements.
- Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum: Genealogy
Genealogists find the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library essential to their research. Records of interest to genealogists may be found in all of the Library’s collections.
- Chicago Ancestors
This map was developed by the Local and Family History department staff of the Newberry Library. The map allows visitors to research the history of a particular address or Chicago neighborhood.
- Chicago Federal Records Center (Great Lakes Branch of the National Archives)
This organization provides storage and other services for inactive records created or received by Federal agencies in Illinois, Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Federal courts in Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio, and Wisconsin.
Another great website for obtaining copies of many vital records from Cook County, IL at a much more reasonable price.
- Chicago Historical Society
An especially great resource for Chicago city and telephone directories.
- Cook County Government Vital Records
The Cook County Clerk’s office has available naturalization records from 1871-1929, probate records from 1871-1975, divorce cases from 1871-1986 and much more. Take a few minutes and access the records/archives section. (We would suggest using Chicago Genealogy resource when possible for requesting copies of vital records, as they are less expensive.)
- CyberDrive Illinois Archives
This site is sponsored by the State of Illinois. You can search marriage and death indexes for a family member’s name. They also have a number of databases for military records. It also lists the records held at the regional archives depositories in the state of Illinois.
- DeathIndexes.com (Cook County)
Online searchable death index for Chicago and Cook County, Illinois.
- Illinois Digital Archives
Photographs, slides, glass negatives, oral histories, manuscripts and letters, Federal government documents, postcards, posters, videos, newspapers, maps, and much more.
- Illinois State Historical Society
The Illinois State Historical Society was founded to encourage research and writing on subjects of Illinois history, encouraging everyone from University scholars to local historians to take an active part. The mission of the Society is to foster awareness, understanding, research, preservation, and recognition of history in Illinois.
- Newberry Library Genealogy and Local History
The Newberry Library is located here in Chicago, Illinois. If you ever have an opportunity to visit the library, it is well worth the “field trip!”
- Oak Lawn Public Library Local Obituary Index
This is an index to over 240,000 obituaries and death notices found in the following newspapers from the period January 1, 1985 to the present: Beverly Review, Blue Island Forum, Blue Island Sun Independent, Daily Southtown, Oak Lawn Independent, Reporter, Southtown Economist, SouthtownStar, Southwest Courier, Southwest News-Herald, and the Star. Although designed as a name index, many of the entries will also include maiden name, date of death, and place of death, in addition to name, date, and page citation of the newspaper.
Will County & South Suburban Resources
- Will County Licenses & Certificates
- Frankfort Area Obituary Index
This database is made possible by a collaborative effort between the Frankfort Public Library District and the Frankfort Area Historical Society. The database currently holds 2,187 obituary index records and counting.
- Will County Historical Museum and Research Center's Research & Genealogical Room
The Research & Geneological Room contains 70,000 documents concerning Will County history including: plat maps, obituaries, mortgages, chattel mortgages, historical architectural surveys, Civil War histories, African-American database and more. Some files available for download.
- South Suburban Genealogical & Historical Society
Archives serving south Cook and east Will counties, Illinois including Chicago's Roseland/Pullman neighborhoods.
- Joliet Area Historical Museum
The Joliet Area Historical Museum occupies the space formerly known as the Ottawa Street Methodist Church at the intersection of Cass and Ottawa Streets in downtown Joliet. Since its opening in the fall of 2002, the museum's main exhibition gallery serves as an introduction to the many stories of the Joliet area and its people.
- Joliet Public Library, Genealogy & Local History
The Genealogy/Local History collection, housed at the Ottawa Street Branch, includes books about Joliet and/or Will County history, Joliet newspapers on microfilm from 1846 to present, Will County directories in print (1859-60 and 1872-73), Joliet city directories from 1875 to present (in print and/or on microfilm), Joliet telephone directories as far back as 1908, Will County atlases and plat books, Joliet high school yearbooks, Printed obituary indexes (1915-18 and 1976-2012), and funeral brochures for African-Americans of Joliet and Lockport Illinois (1968-2012). The library also offers access to the Ancestry Library Edition and Heritage Quest databases, and an online index of obituaries published in the Joliet Herald-News from 1976 – 2012.
Genealogy Resources for Kids
- Genealogy for Kids: Building a Family Tree
This page comes highly recommended by a Boy Scout working on his Genealogy badge. Thanks, Isaac!