- 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 Library 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. It 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. They have 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. Regarding the Internet, the Newberry Library has database subscriptions including Ancestry.com, HeritageQuest On-line, IrishOrigins.com, New England Ancestors, and Footnote.com. They also have a significant American, Canadian, and British genealogical periodicals collection, and the Periodical Source Index (PERSI) for family history researchers.
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, genealogies, local histories, databases, military, censuses, directories, passenger lists, ethnic, and Canadians.
- National Archives Great Lakes Region (Chicago) federal censuses 1790–1930; military service and pension indexes, passenger lists, naturalizations, Ancestry.com, HeritageQuest, Footnote.
- 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.
- Cook County Clerk births, marriages, and deaths online
- Cook County Clerk of the Circuit Court probates, civil, criminal records.
- U.S. District Court Northern District of Illinois trial transcripts and court records.
- Cook County Recorder of Deeds and Registrar of Titles
- Chicago Public Library reference books, how-to-guides, histories, biographies.
- Chicago History Museum directories, address conversion, newspapers, biography.
- Asher Library, Spertus Institute for Jewish Studies 500,000 books, films, music, and artifacts.
- Polish Genealogical Society of America, 60,000 books on Polish history, art, culture, reference.
- University of Illinois at Chicago, biography, periodicals, newspapers, oral history, ethnic studies.
- Illinois State Archives, Springfield, getting started, local, state, and federal government records.
- Illinois Regional Archives Depository (IRAD), 7 repositories, births, marriages, deaths, naturalizations. land, probate, schools, courts, professional licenses and registrations.
- Illinois State Library, Springfield, family histories, periodicals, county histories and records.
- Illinois State Historical Library (ISHL), Springfield, (A. Lincoln Library) genealogies, county histories, atlases, plats, census indexes, cemetery inscriptions, BMD and naturalization indexes, databases.