Genealogy Research

The Library is pleased to offer the special Library edition of, the gold standard of genealogy databases. However, there is no "one stop shopping" for people seeking their family history. Below is a list of resources compiled by the Library that you may find helpful in your genealogy work. Some of them require you sign in with a Library card number, a good card to have no matter what you are researching!  Good luck on your quest to discover your heritage. 

African American Genealogy Records This source is useful to researchers who have African American ancestry. This site compiles records that pertain to African Americans and date back to the nineteenth century.

Ancestry® Library Edition, distributed exclusively by ProQuest and powered by, delivers billions of records in census data, vital records, directories, photos, and more. Ancestry Library Edition brings the world’s most popular consumer online genealogy resource to your library. It’s an unprecedented online collection of individuals from North America, the United Kingdom, Europe, Australia, and more. Answers await everyone—whether professional or hobbyist, expert or novice, genealogist or historian—inside the more than 7,000 available databases. Here, you can unlock the story of you with sources like censuses, vital records, immigration records, family histories, military records, court and legal documents, directories, photos, maps, and more. In-Library use only Another great website to search gravesites. This site uses searchable GPS cemetery database, which continues to grow.  

Chicago Tribune Archives This website provides researchers with digitized Chicago Tribune newspaper that date back to the nineteenth century. Provides a search engine and newspapers can be zoomed in or out to get a better view of photos and to better read the article. This website has a large list of sites that can assist with your genealogical research. The sources are broken down into categories (ie. countries, vital records, maps, waterways, religion and churches, etc.) so you can narrow your search. To use this resource, you will need to create an account, but it is free. The site allows you to create a family tree and search various historical records for your ancestors. This site also includes more up-to-date information, including obituaries. The site also contains church records. 
  Allows researchers to search over 150 million grave records. Research information can also be added.

HeritageQuest Online provides American genealogical resources including the United States Federal Census, local history books, Revolutionary War Era Pension and Bounty-Land Warrant Application files, and Freedman's Bank records. This site is similar to Ancestry and HeritageQuest. It allows you to conduct a wide search, providing you with census records, birth and death records, marriage records, and provides primary sources from countries outside the U.S. There is also an app that can be downloaded onto a smart phone so you can continue your research and family tree when you are not near a computer or laptop. 

Illinois State Archives This website has many sources, including death and marriage indexes, court files, emancipation records, and veteran indexes, you can use to research your ancestors if they were born or lived in Illinois.

Native American Heritage  Excellent source to help individuals research their Native American heritage, providing great sources, including oral histories, tribal enrollment records, and government records.

National Archives A great source that provides genealogical research tips and charts to help keep your research organized. This site is limited with the amount of primary sources available, but you can contact the National Archives to schedule a research appointment or to request primary sources you need for your genealogy research. NARA has an office in Chicago. The address is 7358 South Pulaski Rd., and this branch serves the Midwest (IL, IN, WI, MI, MN, OH). Phone number is (773) 948-9000. 

Public Records Electronic Database compiles public information from Will, Cook and surrounding counties and includes new homeowners and mortgages, new business licenses and incorporations, tax liens, tax sales for property, and foreclosures and bankruptcies.

US Gen Web Project This website only contains sources from the U.S. You can research records and various websites listed by state. Some states might be limited with the amount of sources available.

World Vital Records is massive library with billions of Family History and Genealogy records, and millions of family trees. It includes COMPLETE U.S. Federal Census images/layoutimages and indexes from 1790 to 1940; military records; enhanced Social Security Death Index (SSDI) records; millions of newspaper articles; and unique, exclusive local and international collections.