Here are several great Illinois genealogy and history resources I have used in the last couple of months.
Illinois Digital Archives
Tag Archives: Cook County Illinois
Here are several great Illinois genealogy and history resources I have used in the last couple of months.
My friend Thomas MacEntee over at Geneabloggers suggested a couple of weeks ago that I join Ancestry.com’s Expert Connect. Well I waited because I had so many other things on my to-do list and now Ancestry has shut their Expert Connect down.
If you are looking for a Chicago area, which also includes Indiana, Wisconsin, and Missouri, researcher, I’m happy to help!
In-depth Research Services
I conduct repository-based research; online research; and cemetery research.
Look-up Research Services
Just need a document or information or photos from a cemetery? I also conduct research in Northern Illinois for specific document searches such as Death Certificates, Census, Obituaries, etc., searches for a fee for each document plus postage. I will do cemetery look ups and email you digital photos. If plot layouts are requested, I will mail those to you. Contact me for a list of individual services and fees.
I prepare research reports; lineage society reports; blog, newsletter and magazine articles.
I am located in the Chicago suburbs and have access to many wonderful research facilities such as:
- National Archives, Great Lakes Region
- Harold Washington Library
- Newberry Library
- Chicago Historical Society
- Cook County Governmental Offices
- Illinois Regional Archives Depositories, statewide
- Illinois State Archives
- Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library
- Area Cemeteries
I am also able to conduct research in neighboring states, Missouri, Wisconsin, and Indiana.
For more information about rates and services, please contact me.
I have been doing a lot of Property research lately in an attempt to learn more about my ancestors. Looking online for some maps of neighborhoods I came across the City of Chicago’s Department of Zoning Maps. There are many things that make this website’s zoning tool so useful. In no particular order, here they are:
- I can type in 3145 S. Wentworth and a map will pop up showing a circle where that property is. Sadly it is now part of the Dan-Ryan Expressway so I cannot see what the house looks like. If I type in 3154 S. Ridgeway Ave, a map pops up that has this house. Take a look. It shows the house plus additional buildings on the property.
- A key on the right side of the screen allows you to select, or deselect, layers to view such as area schools, cemeteries, water sources, streets, metra stations and more.
- If you click the Identify icon on the left column and then the property you are searching, up pops a window that gives you information including the PIN for the property. Identifying the PIN is the first step in property research in Cook County. You are also able to access the Cook County Record of Deeds website, Cook County Assessor and CNT, from this popup screen. Very handy!
- By clicking the Cook County Assessor’s link it will pull up that property on their website with assessed value and some neighborhood and home information. Click on the Recorder of Deeds link and it pulls up the Deeds searchable online for that property. Click on any of the document numbers and the legal description of the property appears. That is step two in obtaining property records.
- I like that I can zoom out and view the surrounding streets and properties. It gives me a better visual as to where my families lived in relation to each other. That can provide clues on how they met as well.
Want to know more? Check out my Genealogy Using Chicago Maps and Property Records Tip Sheet available on the Kindle and Nook. This guide will walk you through step by step on how to find and view Chicago property records. It provides many mapping resources to view the footprints of the homes in which your ancestors lived and the surrounding neighborhood. Real life research examples are also provided with additional resources.
Clerk of the Circuit Court of Cook County – Archives Information
Yesterday I posted about the Clerk of the Circuit Court’s Declaration of Intention Database. Today I would like to highlight other ways this county office can help family history researchers.
The Clerk’s page has an Archives webpage. On this page you can search the Declaration of Intention Database; See Advisory Board Archives; See Famous Cases; View the Archive Holdings; and Request Archive Searches.
The Archive Holdings page contains information on what records and years are available such as: Naturalizations; Probate Cases; Law and Chancery Cases; Divorce Cases; Criminal Felony Cases; County Court Cases; Adoption and Mental Health Cases; and Juvenile Cases. The page also has a short listing of Cases not readily available.
Cook County Clerk’s Office – Genealogy Online
The Genealogy Online page allows users to search and order Birth, Marriage and Death certificates. You can enter first, middle, last names, a year date range to search, what type of certificate you are seeking or a year and file number if you have it. All possible results will appear and you can choose which one you wish to order.
By clicking on a person’s certificate the webpage takes you to an order form. Here you can add more certificates or check out. Once you have paid for your certificates, they will be available to you via download. Instructions are on the website. You do have 30 days to retrieve your records.
Please note: This is an ongoing project and while you might not find your ancestor on the webpage today, you might find them in the near future.
The Illinois State Archives has a link to the Cook County Coroner’s Inquest Record Index. The main page gives an extensive description about the job of a Coroner, what information can be found on an Inquest record, and how to obtain the records.
To search, click the search link and enter the decedent’s name. By entering only a last name, all results will appear for that name. When the results page does appear the following information is laid out: Name of Deceased, Volume, Page, Date Filed, Date of Death. If you cannot find a record you believe should exist, check the link on the main page for Missing Volumes of the Index.
On my Family History Research Tips blog I wrote about filling in the gaps in my research. One example I gave was recording the Immigration, Declaration and Naturalization information for the immigrants in my main lines. Once this is complete I will move on to their siblings and children who also immigrated.
In Chicago there are a few ways to find out if an immigrant filed for Naturalization. One is to contact IRAD, the Illinois Regional Archives Depository and ask them to search the index for you. http://www.cyberdriveillinois.com/departments/archives/irad/neiu.html If you send them a letter with no more than two names, include as many of the following variables as you can: the date of birth, spouse, origin, a street address if you have one, an approximate date of Naturalization and immigration, they can search for you. If IRAD finds a potential match, they will mail you a photocopy of the index card(s) and you can write to them, or the County to obtain the documents.
Another resource is the ongoing indexing of the Cook County Clerk of the Circuit Court’s Naturalization Declarations of Intention’s database. Their page has a search form where you can enter just a last name or as many of the variables as you know. Just by entering a last name will pull up that specific spelling and other spellings, if the information is already in the index. This is an ongoing project so check back regularly if your ancestor’s name does not appear.
I have Alexander Urban’s original Declaration, but if I did not have a copy, I can utilize the search feature. I type in Alexander Urban and up pops five possible men (at this point in time). The last names include Urban, Urbanek, Urbanik, and Urbanski. I had Alexander’s date of birth so I was able to click the first Alexander Urban to appear and see his record. His record details are:
|Record Details for Volume 101|
|FIRST NAME||LAST NAME||OCCUPATION|
|BIRTH CITY||BIRTH COUNTRY||BIRTH DATE|
|CURRENT ADDRESS||CURRENT CITY|
|4358 S. WOOD ST.||CHICAGO|
|DEPARTURE LOCATION||ARRIVAL DATE||DECLARATION DATE|
Knowing this information, I can print out the record search request form and mail it to the Clerk of the Circuit Court with my payment. The Declaration will be located and mailed to me. I can also request the Naturalization Document or try IRAD for the document if it falls within the years they have those records.
The FAQ page of the webpage has a lot of great information on it such as what information is presented in the Declaration; Where do I find records before 1906 and after 1929; Why can’t I find a certain individual; and Could women file a Declaration. Information most of us probably know, but sometimes need a refresher on.
The last resource I have used is contacting the National Archives, Great Lake Branch, to conduct a search for records. A wealth of information regarding genealogical research exists on their webpage.
Unfortunately for me, Alexander Urban died before he was Naturalized. I know very little about his life because he was not in this country long enough to have had many documents created about him. My husband’s family knows very little about him because he died leaving two children who were only nine and 10 years old when he died. Their mother remarried roughly 10 years after Alexander died. The fortunate thing is we do have one photograph of him which exists on his grave stone.
DuPage Genealogical Society
If you live in the Chicagoland area, I encourage you to check out the DuPage County Genealogical Society. http://www.dcgs.org/ I attended their conference a month ago and it was fantastic. It has been a while since I have been able to attend anything like this because of busy schedules with my family.
I had the pleasure of hearing Elissa Scalise Powell and John Philip Colletta speak. This was the first time I heard Elissa speak and she was very enlightening about the Research Cycle and the Research Report. Both very helpful to me since I am now beginning to write my family’s history.
I heard John speak several years ago at another local conference and he was just as entertaining and informative this time. I love to listen to him speak because while some of the information was similar to what I heard before, because I was in a different place in my research, new things clicked. If you have not had the opportunity to hear John speak about Naturalization and Immigration records, I encourage you to do so. You will come away with so much knowledge!
The DCGS has monthly meetings and offers genealogical classes as well. They are a resource not to be missed if you live in the area!
The Great War Society
The last six months, since my parents visited some of the WWII Battlefields in Europe, I have started searching for information on all my WWI and WWII family’s soldiers. I have learned there are two very important files from both wars when a soldier was killed, that contain a great deal of information. For WWI it is the Burial File. For WWII it is the IDPF (Individual Deceased Personnel Record). I have both files now for two ancestors and am awaiting a couple more IDPF’s from WWII.
The Great War Society’s page has a lot of useful information on tracking down WWI information including the Burial File. Lynna Kay Shuffield wrote a great article for Ancestry.com called World War I Burial Case Files.
My cousin Michael Kokoska’s burial file contained letters written by his parents; a bit of medical information including dental records; a written statement about how he died; many pages of correspondence between the government and the family; telegrams about where his remains would be shipped and when they would arrive; and a good description of his remains at burial and disinterment. I cried as I read his file, especially the letters from his aging parents asking when their son’s remains would grace our Chicago’s Bohemian National Cemetery. I could really feel their pain through their letters. To me, this file is an invaluable resource in telling the story of this family.
The Burial File did not contain any Statement of Service history, but there are some wonderful books about the 32nd Division’s service in WWI and from those books and the U.S. Army’s Order of Battle book series, I was able to piece together where his infantry unit was during the few months he was in France. See my Bibliography for books on the 32nd Division.
If you are researching WWI or WWII and had a soldier die, I encourage you to obtain the files.
I came across this website on Chicago and just love it. It is called Chicagology. This page contains blog posts, galleries of photographs, a listing of Chicago newspapers and a fantastic bibliography. Check it out if you enjoy Chicago history or are researching your family in Chicago.
United Moravian Society