Sunday, April 02, 2006

Area Research Facilities: The Arlington Heights Memorial Library

The Arlington Heights Memorial Library (AHML) is just a short drive from the conference site. Why might you make the trip?
Read About the AHML

AHML’s genealogy collection is housed in the second floor's “Kathrine Shackley Room” and features over 8,000 books. Its focus is on Illinois and the surrounding states, and the states that people left or passed through on their way to this area.

In addition to great materials for Arlington Heights, including obituary indexes for the Daily Herald newspaper, high school year books, telephone books and criss-cross directories, they also have an excellent collection of immigration materials. Highlights of this collection include the Germans to America, Italians to America, Russians to America, Famine Immigrants (Irish), and Filby’s multi-volume Passenger and Immigration Lists Index. Once you find someone of interest in these books, you can go into the microfilm room and look at the microfilms of the ships’ lists from the bulk of the 19th century for most of the major ports. See their genealogy page for details.

The microfilm room holds the full set of Chicago city directories, many county histories, the Chicago Tribune from 1861 and the Daily Herald from 1901 to present. Under any given county in the print collection you might find farm directories, cemetery readings, funeral home records, probate and naturalization indexes, and more. Most of these books were published by that county’s genealogical society or local genealogists. Additionally, they have over 125 genealogical periodicals and newsletters.

Near the room’s entrance there is a map case housing a growing map collection. Unique to this library is an index created by staff and volunteers of maps found within the various books in the collection. Are you looking for a historical map of a region in Germany? This card index might hold the key. All new acquisitions are examined for maps and cataloged in this card file before shelving.

Itching to get online? The first floor has many computers available to the public. Check your email or search some of the databases to which the AHML subscribes. Of particular interest to the genealogist are Ancestry, Heritage Quest, America’s Obituaries and Death Notices, Biography & Genealogy Master Index, Biography Resource Center, Chicago Tribune Historical Archives 1849-1984, and Proquest Historical Chicago Tribune 1849-1984. Of the last two, Proquest is the more complete and links you to images of the newspaper pages.

If you are bringing your laptop, you can connect through their wireless network. Go to to view a list of their databases, and if you’re connected through their wireless network you can connect to any of these databases just as though you were sitting at one of the library’s own computers.

The AHML has a "staff" of part-time genealogical volunteers with different specialties. For example, on Thursday mornings from 10 until noon they have a volunteer who translates Finnish and Swedish. Check with the library for more on volunteers with specialties.

The AHML is number 5 on the Newberry’s Genealogy Research Locations map


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