Research Sites

Chicago History Timelines


Chicago Research

A Look at Cook - Maps showing Chicago ward and enumeration district boundaries for census years 1870 - 1940 (except 1890).

Chicago Biography and Industry File - An index to over 48 volumes, published between 1876 and 1937, containing biographical sketches of selected Chicagoans and businesses.

Chicago City Council Proceedings - An explanation of and links to the primary documents that record the business of the city.

Chicago Collections Consortium - A list of archive and manuscript collections about Chicago history and culture located at CCC institutions. 

Chicago Genealogical Society - A non-profit educational organization devoted to collecting, preserving and perpetuating the records of our ancestors, and to stimulate an interest in all people who contributed in any way to the establishment of Chicago and its surrounding area.

Chicago History in Postcards - An archive of images of historic Chicago buildings.

Chicago History Museum - The Chicago History Museum cares for, showcases, and interprets millions of authentic pieces of Chicago and U.S. history. The Research Center holds the printed material, archives and manuscripts, prints and photographs, architectural drawings, and assorted ephemera of the Chicago History Museum.

Chicago Public Library - Explore Chicago history materials at the Chicago Public Library.

Chicagology - A pictorial walk-through of Chicago history with a focus on the period prior to 1900. The goal is to tell the colorful story of Chicago’s growth.

City of Chicago - Official website of the City.

Early Chicago - Based on the book A Compendium of the Early History of Chicago to the Year 1835, when the Indians left. 

Encyclopedia of Chicago - The Encyclopedia of Chicago is a dynamic and unprecedented metropolitan history. Thousands of historical resources - including articles, photos, maps, broadsides and newspapers - related to Chicago's colorful and complex history are at your fingertips.

Newberry - The Newberry collections contain extensive research materials relating to the history of Chicago, including its birth, growth, politics, and eclectic inhabitants.


Cook County

Clerk of the Circuit Court Archives - The Clerk's office holds non-current records created by the Cook County Court systems dating from the 1871 Chicago Fire. Records include but are not limited to probates, wills, naturalization records, criminal and civil court cases.

County Clerk's Office - Main website for the Clerk's Office. For historical vital records, use their Genealogy Online site.

Naturalization Declarations of Intent - Index to declarations held by the Clerk of the Circuit Court Archives.



Family Search Databases - The Family History Library's online collections for Chicago, Cook County and Illinois.

Illinois Glory Days - Information regarding closed and consolidated high schools in Illinois.

Illinois Harvest - Digitized scholarly research contributions of the University of Illinois, and content about Illinois history, culture, and natural resources from the collections of the University of Illinois Library at Urbana-Champaign.

Illinois State Archives - The Illinois State Archives serves by law as the depository of public records of Illinois state and local governmental agencies which possess permanent administrative, legal, or historical research values.

Illinois State Genealogical Society - Active state society with many member benefits.


United States

National Archives at Chicago - This facility has extensive microfilm holdings, including Federal population censuses, military service records, and selected passenger arrival lists. They also hold more than 140,000 cubic feet of historical records dating from 1800 to the 1980s