Whose site is this?

ChicagoAncestors.org is a project of the Genealogy and Local History section of the Newberry, an independent research library in Chicago. The project is intended to help genealogists and local historians discover and share historical information about Chicago. Researchers and genealogists are encouraged to contribute their own family information, historical research, queries and photographs. User contributions are moderated. 


What can I find in ChicagoAncestors

The data in ChicagoAncestors is chosen by Newberry reference staff to provide a wide assortment of images, events, people and locations of interest to anyone studying Chicago and its history. It is organized by Collection.  A Collection is a group of items with a similar theme or source. For example, the Yearbook Collection contains information regarding yearbooks held by the Newberry and the Chicago History Museum. Each item is also assigned a Topic. Topics include education, transportation, religious institutions, etc.  The User Collection contains data submitted by users of the site.

Everyone is invited to share Chicago-related information. Tell us where your ancestors lived, worked, and worshiped. Share significant family and social events. Or perhaps you have a favorite piece of public art or architecture to highlight.


How can I contribute?

Go to our Share Your History page. Complete the form with your name and email address (don't worry, we won't share your information). Provide a name for your record, such as "Smith Residence," "St. Mark's" or "Eastland Disaster." Then provide an address so we know where to place your data on the map. Let us know if the address was before or after 1909, when many Chicago addresses changed. Add your description of the people, event or building you want to share. If applicable, enter a starting and ending year. This will help others understand the timeperiod about which you are writing. If the place still exists or the event is ongoing, check the "current" box. Have a picture to share? Go ahead and attach it. Just be sure that you have the proper rights to do so or that the image is out of copyright.

The ChicagoAncestors administrators will review your submission and enter it into the database. So come back in a few days to check it out. Then you can share your entry with your friends via Twitter, Google + or Facebook.


How do I look at books or periodicals referenced in a location/event description?

Unless otherwise specified, all call numbers listed on this site refer to Newberry items. Researchers who are at least 16 years of age may visit the Newberry to view these items in person.


Where does the funding come from?

Funding for the first version of ChicagoAncestors.org was awarded by the Illinois State Library (ISL), a division of the Office of the Secretary of State, using funds provided by the Institute for Museum and Library Studies (IMLS), under the federal Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA). Additional funding for bibliographic elements of the project came from a Carnegie-Whitney Award from the American Library Association. The Chicago Genealogical Society also supported the project with a gift.

The upgrade to the 2016 2.0 version of ChicagoAncestors and ongoing support  comes from the Newberry and the Chicago Genealogical Society. To support this and other initiatives of the Newberry, please consider a gift of support.