Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Chicago Area Libraries

Libraries are great places and are often full of genealogy and local history resources. Some of the best local libraries in the Chicago area include:
Read About Chicago Area Libraries

The Gail Borden Library
The Gail Borden Library, located in Elgin, Illinois, is known for its genealogical resources. Its collection of over 3,900 books is concentrated on Elgin and Kane County, Illinois. There is also information for 25 other states, mostly east of the Mississippi River, and five European countries. The library has hundreds of reels of microfilm and access to on-line research sites. There is a 125-year newspaper index for vital statistics in the area. Good local history resources include newspapers on microfilm going back to the 1800s and “Views of Old Elgin,” a collection of photographs. The Elgin Genealogical Society meets at the library. The Kane County Genealogical Society also covers this area. The library phone number is 847-742-2411, and its website is http://www.elgin.lib.il.us/services/genealogy.html

Arlington Heights Library
This library, with an exceptional collection of genealogical information, is located in downtown Arlington Heights. There is ample parking and restaurants are nearby. Included in their over 8,000 reference books are Chicago city directories from 1838-1928 (on microfilm and microfiche) as well as other city and county directories and histories. There is a DAR member present on Saturdays to help patrons. The library staff is extremely helpful. The library subscribes to several databases, including America's Obituaries and Death Notices, the largest collection of newspaper obituaries and death notices in the U.S., searchable by individual record, date range, or text contained in the obituary or death notices. For information, phone 847-392-0100 or see the library’s website: http://www.ahml.info/find_information/genealogy.asp?Topic=Genealogy%20and%20Biography

Wheaton Public Library
The Wheaton Public Library, located near downtown Wheaton, is currently undergoing renovations and an addition. However, it is open and ready for out of town visitors. There is information here for all 50 states with emphasis on Pennsylvania, New York and Virginia. The library has a vital records index to Wheaton papers beginning 1885 and, also something not found everywhere, Digital Sanborn Maps, 1867-1970. The local genealogical group is the DuPage County Genealogical Society. For more information, phone 668-1374 ext. 510 or see the library’s website: http://www.wheaton.lib.il.us/library/wplgen.html

South Suburban Genealogical and Historical Society Library
Although a little farther removed from the conference site than others, this is a gem. The Genealogical and Historical Society was gifted with a large number of research books. From 1975 to present the library has grown to more than 11,000 books, microfilms and periodicals as well as CDs, maps, and directories. The material pertains to south Cook and east Will counties, Illinois including Chicago's Roseland/Pullman neighborhoods. If you are researching these areas, this is the place for you. Located in the Hazel Crest, Illinois Municipal building, the phone number is (708) 335-3340. See the Society’s website for details: http://www.rootsweb.com/~ssghs/

Barrington Area Library
The Barrington Area Library has a collection of genealogical resources and local history. Of special interest are the family trees, cemetery listings, and town history by Arnett C. Lines, who left his papers to the library upon his death in 1970. Much of this information is available on the "Barrington Area History" section of the library's home page. The library has copies of the Barrington Courier-Review newspaper from February 1890 to the present on microfilm. Library staff and volunteers produce the Barrington Courier-Review Index, which is updated on a regular basis. Indexes for births, deaths and marriages exist from 1890–present. News stories are indexed from 1970–present. For more information call 847-382-1300 or see the library website at: http://www.barringtonarealibrary.org/services/genealogy.htm

Schaumburg Township District Library
The Schaumburg Township District Library (STDL) owns a wide selection of materials for individuals interested in genealogy including books, cassettes, videos, handbooks and government documents for the beginning genealogist as well as for the advanced researcher. The collection includes general information on such topics as how to start a search to more specialized materials such as obtaining vital records, county records and land and property research. STDL employs a Genealogy Coordinator who is available to help genealogy researchers with finding materials or providing direction in doing in-depth research. Also available is the Local History Digital Archive. Begun in 2001, it is designed to be a historical collection of digitized photographs, documents, maps, and videos related to the Schaumburg Township area. For information phone 847-985-4000 or see the website: http://www.stdl.org/

Fremont Public Library
Fremont Public Library in north suburban Mundelein is home to the Lake County Illinois Genealogical Society’s research facility. The collection includes numerous family histories, cemetery books, and reference materials. There is an extensive obituary collection, and a probate index, newspapers and censuses on microfilm. Fremont Library itself has a good collection of local history books, newspapers on microfilm, and a map of township landowners in the 1830s. For details, call: 847-566-8702 or see the website: http://www.fremontlibrary.org/genealogy.htm

Cook Memorial Library
Cook Memorial Library is located in downtown Libertyville. The library has a collection of genealogical reference materials, including several journals, DAR books and newspapers on microfilm. The library also has an obituary index, and several subscription databases of interest. The Ansel B. Cook Victorian Museum is on the grounds; it contains furnishings and items of historical interest. For information, call 847-362-2330 or see the library’s website: http://www.cooklib.org/Research/Genealogy.htm

Winnetka Library
The Winnetka Library's Katharine Greeley Genealogical Collection has over 6,000 volumes that include manuscripts, magazines, microfilm, microfiche, CD-ROMs and computer databases. The collection contains information primarily about states from the Atlantic to the west bank of the Mississippi River, but also contains information from other areas. The Obituary Index covers obituaries published in The Winnetka Talk from 1917-present. The collection is also strong in military history, New England resources, local and family history and heraldry. The library has access to several genealogical databases and subscriptions to major genealogical periodicals. For details call 847-446-7220 or see the library’s website at: http://www.wpld.alibrary.com/genealogy.asp

For links to other Chicago-area libraries with genealogical collections, see these websites:

A Library Database - by the members of CAGG-NI

Barrington Area Library Local Information: Web Pages of Local Libraries

If your ancestors came from the Chicago area, why not check out the local library while attending NGS? You never know what you might discover.


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