Beginning Your Search

Your time at the Library will likely be more satisfying and fruitful if you gather whatever genealogical materials you can prior to your visit: dates of births, deaths, and marriages; maiden names; states and counties of residence; military services; and any other pertinent information.

Many resources for genealogists can be accessed online.  Some that are available by subscription can be accessed at no charge at the Library.    Many records of genealogical interest are available in local and state government offices. For repositories that may hold records of interest to genealogists, see the Other Resources page. 

Electronic Resources

The Library subscribes to Ancestry Library Edition, Heritage Quest, HarpWeek, Sanborn Maps, Historical Chicago Tribune, and America: History and Life.  Those databases are available on computers in the Library’s Reading Room.  Those online resources provide access to a large number of databases that include Civil War Pension file cards; World War I draft registrations; state, national, and international census reports; vital records; immigration lists; military records; periodical source index; and out-of-print books of interest to the genealogist.