Newberry Library, 60 West Walton Street, Chicago, Illinois.
- 60 West Waltron Street
- Chicago, Illinois 60610
Telephone: (312) 255-3512
Hours and holidays: Tuesday-Friday 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.; Saturday 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.
Directions, maps, and public transportation:
Internet sites and databases:
Orientation and tours:
The Genealogy and Local History staff introduces novices to the basics of research at an informal orientation the first Saturday of every month. After the session, you are welcome to begin your research. A reference librarian will be available to provide suggestions and assistance. Reservations not required.
The Newberry is a private, non-circulating library free and open to the public. It is a research library for humanities and social sciences with 1.5 million books, 5 million manuscript pages, and 500,000 maps. This includes good American Indian, railroad archives, Chicago history, and cartography collections.
One of its strongest collections is genealogy with 17,000 published genealogies of New England and colonial America, and British gentry and nobility. The library collects church, town, county, and state histories, from all parts of America, Canada, and the British Isles, including comprehensive New England town histories.
The Newberry has Ancestry and HeritageQuest subscriptions for census indexes, all federal census microfilms 1790-1850, and Midwest states to 1880; book indexes through 1850 and most of 1860. The collection also includes 1855 and 1865 Illinois state censuses, and scattered other states and Canadian provinces.
Holdings also include birth, marriage, death, probate, deeds, court, tax, and cemetery abstracts and indexes from the Mississippi Valley to the eastern seaboard, Canada, and British Isles. American Civil War military unit histories, rosters and pension lists of colonial wars through the Civil War, and scattered records from later wars are also available.
Database subscriptions include Ancestry.com, HeritageQuest On-line, American Ancestors, and Fold3.com. They also have a significant American, Canadian, and British genealogical periodicals collection, and the Periodical Source Index (PERSI) for family history researchers.
The Newberry is also a Family History Library Affiliate. Registered readers can use FamilySearch’s online ordering system to borrow microfilm and microfiche from the Family History Library and work with it at the Newberry.
A reader's card is needed for research. To obtain a reader's card you must:
- Have a research interest supported by the Newberry’s collections,
- Be at least age 16,
- Show a valid photo I.D.,
- Show proof of your current address.
Click here for 78 online Newberry Library genealogical collection guides and research tools about:
- Collection guides (10)
- Ethnic guides (14)
- Military guides (6)
- Geographic guides (31)
- Researching Chicago (10)
- Uniquely Newberry (7)
If you cannot visit or find a source at the Newberry Library, a similar source may be available at one of the following.
- Allen County Public Library, Fort Wayne, Indiana, premier periodical collection, including Midwestern genealogies, local histories, databases, military, censuses, directories, and passenger lists.
- National Archives at Chicago old federal court and agency records for Illinois and Midwest U.S. federal censuses 1790–1940; military service and pension indexes, passenger lists, naturalizations, Ancestry.com, HeritageQuest, Fold3.
- Family History Library, Salt Lake City, Utah, holds 450 computers, 3,400 databases, 3.1 million microforms, 4,500 periodicals, 310,000 books of worldwide family and local histories, civil, church, immigration, ethnic, military, and Mormon records.
- Library of Congress, Washington, DC, Local History and Genealogy Reading Room is part of the world's largest library including 50,000 genealogies, 100,000 local histories, manuscripts, maps, newspapers, photographs, books, strong in North American, British Isles, and German sources
- New England Historic Genealogical Society, Boston, national in scope. Over 100 million name database, of vital records, genealogies, journals, over 200,000 books, 100,000 microfilms, and over 20 million manuscripts with emphasis on New England and New York since the 1600s.
- New York Public Library Genealogy Division has an outstanding collection of American history at national, state and local levels; international genealogy and heraldry in Roman alphabets; Dorot Jewish collection; photos; New York censuses, directories, and vital records.
- Mid-Continent Public Library Midwest Genealogy Center, Independence, MO, national censuses/ indexes, 80,000 family and 100,000 local histories, 565,000 microfilms, 7,000 maps, newspapers.
- Dallas Public Central Library 111,700 volumes, 64,500 microfilms, 89,000 microfiche, 700 maps, marriage, probate, deed, tax abstracts, or microfilm of originals for some states, online databases.
- National Archives I, Washington DC, census, pre-WWI military service & pensions, passenger lists, naturalizations, passports, federal bounty land, homesteads, bankruptcy, ethnic sources, prisons, and federal employees.
- Cook County Clerk births, marriages, and deaths online
- Cook County Clerk of the Circuit Court recent probates, civil, criminal records.
- Cook County Recorder of Deeds land records, military discharge DD-214s.
- Cook County Medical Examiner suspicious or unusual deaths.
- U.S. District Court Northern District of Illinois recent civil and criminal court records.
- Arlington Heights Memorial Library a huge collection, with printed genealogies, manuscripts, periodicals, newspapers, special aids, surname folders—a great overall genealogy collection.
- Asher Library, Chicago, Spertus Institute for Jewish Studies 500,000 books, and films.
- Chicago History Museum 20 million manuscripts, letters, certificates, diaries, genealogy charts, log books, journals, memoirs, minutes, muster rolls, scrapbooks, sermons, speeches, and telegrams.
- Chicago Public Library reference books, how-to-guides, histories, biographies.
- Chicago Title and Trust for a fee they will search property records prior to the Chicago fire.
- Pritzker Military Museum and Library, Chicago, 45,000 military history books, unit histories, photos, uniforms, equipment, insignia, and ships of many world militaries. They help genealogists.
- Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Chicago Archives parish records, priest biographies, sacramental, school, or orphanage records.
- South Suburban Genealogical and Historical Society, Hazel Crest, a very good collection with local histories, genealogies, naturalizations, Pullman Car Works personnel, obituaries, church histories.
- University of Chicago Library plentiful historical records, including Durrett Collection of historical Kentucky and Ohio River Valley manuscripts of early people in the Ohio Valley.
- University of Illinois at Chicago, biography, periodicals, newspapers, oral history, ethnic studies.
- Repositories in surrounding counties: in Illinois: DuPage, Kane, Lake, McHenry, Will; and in Indiana: Lake.
- Illinois Dept. of Health Vital Records, Springfield, birth, marriage, death, adoption, and divorces.
- Illinois State Archives, Springfield, county/state records, pre-Chicago fire sources, indexed vital records, early land grants, military records, all fed/state censuses, surname card index.
- Illinois State Library, Springfield, state/federal records, federal censuses to 1920, plat books, IL county histories, Sanborn fire insurance maps, Rev. War pensions and bounty land warrants.
- Illinois State Genealogical Society, Springfield, research guidance, teaching via webinars and the ISGS blog for free, death certificates 1916-1947 for a fee. No research requests.
- Illinois Regional Archives Depository (IRAD), Springfield, HQ of 7 regional archives of local Illinois county/town records: birth, marriage, death, land, tax, voting reg., probate, naturalization, civil & criminal court, coroner, poorhouse. For Cook County see IRAD-Northeastern Illinois University.
- Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum, Springfield, genealogy, plat maps, atlases, oral and county history, cemeteries, census, vital records, naturalizations in many counties.
- John A. Logan College Library, Carterville, this library is a focal point of Southern Illinois genealogy. Their collection is huge.
- Lincoln Library, Springfield, indexed obituaries, city directories, the Sangamon Valley Collection has photos, yearbooks, histories, and maps for studying Sangamon and surrounding counties.
- Peoria Public Library enjoys a large genealogy and local history department, including many indexes, DAR files, and basic genealogy resources for the plains states.
- Southern Illinois University at Edwardsville Lovejoy Library best library in southern IL with a large genealogical collection of newspapers, biographies, county histories, family folders, and maps.
- Swenson Swedish Immigration Research Center, Rock Island, IL, Swedish church records, census, passenger lists, lodges, newspapers, directories.
- University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign Main Library one of the best book collections in America, including county histories, and farmers registers. Think of it as another archives for Illinois.
- Urbana Free Library their strength is Champaign County history, but they have good basic genealogy for the entire United States including printed genealogies, manuscripts, family folders.
- Brethren Historical Library and Archives, Elgin, IL, cultural, socio-economic, theological, genealogical, and institutional history of the Brethren.
- Evangelical Lutheran Church in America Archives, Elk Grove Village, IL, serves historians, congregations, synods, genealogists and others interested in Lutheran history.
- Repositories in surrounding states: Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Michigan, Missouri, and Wisconsin
- National Personnel Records Center (NPRC), St. Louis, MO, military and civil services personnel records. For servicemen and servicewomen discharged from 1912 to 1953. 
- Polish Genealogical Society of America, Milwaukee, WI, 60,000 books on Polish history, art, culture, reference.