Family History and Genealogy Services

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Illinois Genealogy Resources

Illinois Local History

Some of the most valuable sources for family history research are local histories. Published histories of towns, counties, and states usually contain accounts of families. They describe the settlement of the area and the founding of churches, schools, and businesses. You can also find lists of pioneers, soldiers, and civil officials. Even if your ancestor is not listed, information on other relatives may be included that will provide important clues for locating your ancestor. A local history may also suggest other records to search.

Most county and town histories include separate sections or volumes containing biographical information. These may include information on 50 percent or more of the families in the locality.

In addition, local histories should be studied and enjoyed for the background information they can provide about your family's lifestyle and the community and environment in which your family lived.

  • The American Local History Network, Illinois: such items as WW2 Missing and Dead, Epidemics in Illinois
  • Bartholomew, Harland & Associates. The Comprehensive Plan, Skokie, IL. St. Louis: Harland Bartholomew & Associates, 1969.
  • Beaudette, E. Palma. Niles Township. Chicago: Beaudette. 1916.
  • Beaver, Joseph. The Geographic Growth of Skokie, Illinois. Skokie, IL., 1983.
  • Bennett, Fremont O. Politics and Politicians of Chicago, Cook County and Illinois. Blakely Printing Company, Chicago, 1886
  • Brief History of Kewanee - Hog Capital of the World
  • Buisseret, David. Skokie, A Community History Using Old Maps, Skokie Historical Society, Skokie, IL., 1985.
  • Buisseret, David, Rosemary Schmitt, Richard J. Witry, St. Peter Catholic Church, 1868-69 to 1993-94, Skokie, IL: 1994.
  • Bushnell, George D. Wilmette, A History. Wilmette, IL: Wilmette Bicentennial Commission, 1976.
  • The Chicago Fire An Online Exhibit
  • Chicago History Research Guide - Links to the locations of city records and photos for serious researchers. Chicago bibliography.
  • Chicago Imagebase - Historic photos and maps of Chicago and a study of its architecture.
  • Chicago Landmarks -Historic buildings and the Chicago Commission on Landmarks.
  • Chicago: Past and Present
  • Chicago Transit Authority, Research and Planning Department. Skokie Swift, The Commuter's Friend. Chicago, 1968.
  • Chicago Tribune. Chicago's Big Snow, January, 1967. February 19, 1967, section 7s.
  • Chronological History of Chicago - List of historical events developed by Municipal Reference Librarians
  • Custer, Milo, 1880-  Old family records / compiled and printed by Milo Custer. Normal, Ill. (P.O. Box 488, Normal 61761) : Bloomington-Normal Genealogical Society, [196-?]-1984. 9 v. in 6 ; 28 cm.
  • Deaths, Distrubances, Disasters and Disorders in Chicago - Compiled by Chicago Public Library Reference Librarians. An excellent source for reports about the Lady of Angels Fire, Iroquois Theatre Fire, Eastland Disaster, etc.
  • Early History of East St. Louis and Cahokia
  • Fort Dearborn
  • The Genealogical Index of the Newberry Library, Chicago. 4 vols. Boston : G.K. Hall, 1960. A surname index to genealogical periodicals and local history books in the Newberry Library completed in 1915.
  • Hansen, Harry. The Chicago. New York: Farra & Rinehart, 1942.
  • Haymarket Affair Trial
  • The Haymarket Tragedy
  • Historic Places in Chicago - Places on the National Register.
  • Historical Sketch of Chicago written about 1894.
  • History of Bridgeport and the Origin of the Illinois & Michigan Canal
  • History Of Gallatin, Saline, Hamilton, Franklin And Williamson Counties, Illinois : From The Earliest Time To The Present Together With Sundry And Interesting Biographical Sketches, Notes, Reminiscences, Etc., Etc.  Utica, Ky. : McDowell Publications, 1973. xiii, 961, 121 p. : maps, ports. ; 24 cm.
  • Illinois Community Websites
  • Illinois Trails History and Genealogy - 26 counties
  • Index to Names of all Illinois Local Government Entities
  • Johnson, Charles B. Growth of Cook County, A history of the large lake-shore county. Chicago: Board of Commissioners of Cook County, 1960.
  • League of Women Voters of Skokie? Lincolnwood. Early Skokie. Skokie: 1976.
  • Life (Skokie), 1963 Diamond Jubilee Edition, January 17, 1963, sec. 3.
  • Little Egypt
  • Living in Illinois - Locate Illinois Communities and Statistical Information
  • Municipal Code of the Village of Skokie, Illinois, enacted in 1961.
  • Neier, Aryeh. Defending my enemy: American Nazis, the Skokie Case and the Risks of Freedom. New York: E.P. Dutton, 1979.
  • News (Skokie). Special Issue commemorating the New's 30th Anniversary. February 3, 1955.
  • News (Skokie). Diamond Jubilee Edition, Skokie 1888 - 1963. July 3, 1963.
  • News (Skokie). Special Issue commemorating the New's 50th Anniversary. January 16, 1975.

  • Olcott, George C. Olcott's land values blue book of Chicago & Suburbs. Chicago. George C. Olcott, 1965 edition.
  • Olles, Wanda Mulholland.  Kaskaskia Roots / Wanda Mulholland Olles.  Danville, Ill. : W.M. Olles, 1993. viii, 281 p. : ill. ; 23 cm.
  • Petty, Selma Regan. History of the Skokie Public Library. Skokie, IL: 1960.
  • Population of Illinois by Counties: 1810 to 2000
  • Proceedings of the Chicago City Council (1833-1871) Database.
  • Rau, Jennifer B. Illinois: Her Counties, Her Townships and Her Towns / compiled by Jennifer B. Rau. Indianapolis: The Researchers, 1979.
  • Reeling, Viola Couch. Evanston; Its Land and its People. Evanston, IL.: Daughters of the American Revolution, Evanston Chapter, 1928.
  • Rosche, Bertha. Setting down the Record: A History of Skokie. Skokie, IL: 1949.
  • Secretary of State (Illinois). Counties of Illinois: Their origin and evolution. Springfield, IL., 1982.
  • Skokie Chamber of Commerce. Skokie Industrial Directory. Skokie, IL., 1974.
  • Skokie, Illinois. Department of Community Development. Planning Section, Characteristics of Housing, 1940-1963, 1964.
  • Southern Illinois History Page
  • Springfield & Central Illinois
  • Towns in Illinois
  • Tyse, Dorothy C. History of Niles, Illinois. Niles, IL., 1974.
  • U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. Flood plain information: North Branch Chicago River, West Fork and Skokie River: Cook and Lake Counties, Illinois, Chicago District, 1970.  
  • Wilson, D. Ray, Greater Chicago Historical Tour Guide, 1st Ed. Carpentersville, IL: Crossroads Communications, 1989.
  • Winslow, Charles S. Biographical Sketches of Chicagoans, 1948.