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Newberry Library
Newberry Library, 60 West Walton Street, Chicago, Illinois.


Contact Information



60 West Waltron Street
Chicago, Illinois 60610

Telephone:[2]  (312) 255-3512

Hours and holidays:[3]  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:[4]

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.

Collection Description

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.[5]

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, HeritageQuest On-line, American Ancestors, and They also have a significant American, Canadian, and British genealogical periodicals collection, and the Periodical Source Index (PERSI) for family history researchers.[6]

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.[7]


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)

Alternate Repositories

If you cannot visit or find a source at the Newberry Library, a similar source may be available at one of the following.

Overlapping Collections

  • Allen County Public Library, Fort Wayne, Indiana, premier periodical collection, including Midwestern genealogies, local histories, databases, military, censuses, directories, and passenger lists.[8]
  • 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,, HeritageQuest, Fold3.[9]

Similar Collections

  • 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.[10]

Neighboring Collections

Wikipedia has more about this subject: Newberry Library


  1. 1.0 1.1 "Contact A Librarian" in Newberry Library at August 2013).
  2. "Reference Services" in Newberry Library at (28 October 2010).
  3. "Hours" in Newberry Library at (28 October 2010).
  4. "Directions to the Newberry Library" in Newberry Library at (29 October 2010).
  5. Wikipedia Contributors, "Newberry Library" in Wikipedia: the Free Encyclopedia at (accessed 29 October 2010).
  6. "Overview of Newberry Library's Genealogy Collections" in Newberry Library at (29 October 2010).
  7. "Who is eligible to do research at the Newberry Library? FAQ" in Newberry Library at (29 October 2010).
  8. Genealogy Center Collections in Genealogy Center (accessed 27 February 2015).
  9. Genealogy in National Archives at Chicago (accessed 27 February 2014).
  10. Information for Researchers at the National Archives Building in Washington, DC in National Archives (accessed 31 December 2013).
  11. 11.0 11.1 11.2 11.3 11.4 Dollarhide and Bremer, 39.
  12. Pritzker Military Museum and Library in Wikipedia: the Free Encyclopedia (accessed 30 March 2015).
  13. 13.0 13.1 13.2 13.3 13.4 13.5 13.6 13.7 William Dollarhide, and Ronald A. Bremer, America's Best Genealogy Resource Centers (Bountiful, UT: Heritage Quest, 1988), 41. At various repositories (WorldCat); FHL Book 973 J54d.
  14. Genealogy Committee in Illinois State Genealogical Society (accessed 21 March 2015).
  15. Administrative Histories in Illinois State Archives (accessed 30 March 2015).
  16. Printed Materials in Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum (accessed 30 March 2015).
  17. Genealogy in Augustana College (accessed 30 March 2015).
  18. Dollarhide and Bremer, 134.
  19. National Archives at St. Louis in National Archives (accessed 18 March 2014).

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  • This page was last modified on 21 October 2015, at 18:50.
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