Nick M. Gombash
YourChicagoRoots@gmail.com

Chicago, IL, USA

 

Chicago & Cook County

For-Hire Research

Fee Schedule

Research is conducted at a rate of $35/hour and includes copies of the research material, unless otherwise mentioned below. All research is provided in digital format; please state if you require physical copies, as additional fees may apply.

Cemeteries

 

Cemetery Photography & Research


Cemeteries are a necessary aspect of research and can often shed light on previously unknown relatives. Cemetery research is unique to each project, large or small. Through previous work, I have completed photography of entire sections of cemeteries, as well as creating spreadsheets to plot out where each burial location is located. Any cemetery in Chicago can be visited.

Court Records

 

Court Records

 

Documents from the court systems are available back to 1871, when the courts resumed record-keeping after the Chicago Fire. The Circuit Court archive has records available for the following types of cases:​

  • criminal felony

  • divorce

  • law & chancery

  • naturalization

  • probate
     

The dockets from these court cases were executed through several courts:​

  • Circuit

  • County

  • Criminal

  • Probate

  • Superior

Newspapers

 

Newspapers

 

Many archives, libraries and repositories in Chicago hold newspapers on microfilm not accessible elsewhere or online, with some publications being unique content only at certain historical or genealogical societies. Chicago had, and still has, an extremely rich cultural heritage, and many of those cultures published smaller community newspapers. Newspapers are available from the 1830s to present-day. Below are a few of the known newspapers to contain obituaries:

  • African-American

    • Chicago Defender

  • English-Speaking

    • Chicago American

    • Chicago Daily News

    • Chicago Sun Times

    • Chicago Tribune

  • Czech

  • German

  • Polish

    • Dziennik Chicagoski

    • Dziennik Związkowy

 

Property Deeds

Property Deeds

 

The Recorder of Deeds office, located in the lower level of City Hall, has deeds dating from 1871, after the Chicago Fire. These records encompass everything from the deeding of real estate to personal property, liens, mortgages and rents.

Building permits for the city of Chicago, particularly from 1871-1954, are available and they provide an architectural flair to a property's history.

Fee Schedule:
Non-Certified Copies                Certified Copies

$10.00/1st two pages                  $20.00/1st two pages

$1.00 for remaining pages        $2.00 for remaining pages

 

Repositories

Repositories

 

The possibilities for research in Chicago are endless. There are several noteworthy archives and libraries:

  • Center For Research Libraries - Catalog
    This library has an extensive collection of publications, including local and ethnic newspapers from Chicago and across the US. They require a $25/day research fee with a limit of viewing 12 microfilm/day.

  • Chicago History Museum - Catalog
    This museum has an archive with content unique to Chicago and Cook County, with a fully searchable catalog. Their Chicago Building Permits collection, ranging from 1872 to 1954, is of particular interest, as well as the Chicago Police Department Records collection. They also have a small collection of orphanage records.

  • Chicago Public Libraries
    Many of the public libraries in Chicago have genealogy collections - try searching their catalog. The Harold Washington Library has a great deal of older Chicago newspapers not available online and they're a fantastic source of historical content. Several of these newspapers published obituaries, which are beneficial to genealogy research. Our inventory of newspapers available on microfilm can be found on the Guides page.

  • IRAD at NEIU
    This extension of the Illinois Regional Archives Depository (IRAD) at NEIU holds many Cook County and Chicago records. They have material relating to various business licenses, Circuit & Superior Court cases, coroner's inquest records, homicide records, naturalization records, probate and will files and vital records. You can find an inventory listing here.

  • NARA - National Archives at Chicago
    This is the Chicago branch of the National Archives and holds unique collections not found elsewhere. Commonly requested research has been within these record groups:

    • Record Group 21: US Circuit and District Court Records, covering federal courts from Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio and Wisconsin. Naturalization paperwork filed through the district court, not through the local court, can be found within this collection. A complete list and more detailed information can be found on their Naturalization Records page.

    • Record Group 49: Bureau of Land Management, has records involved in the early procurement of property from the federal government in Illinois, Indiana, Minnesota, Ohio and Wisconsin, and is comprised of abstracts of land warrants, copies of correspondence, credit certificates, entries for cash payments, homestead and purchase applications. These original files correlate with the land documents that can found at the BLM's Records Site. The content in this collection dates from 1800-1908.

    • Record Group 75: Bureau of Indian Affairs, covering records including agencies, area offices and schools. Extremely detailed information beneficial to genealogy and Native American research can be found within these records. particularly school records for the children, typed and written narratives, vital records, doctor's exams, unopened mail and even photos. This record group covers Native American tribes from Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota and Wisconsin, and ranges from 1869-1973.

    • Record Group 85: Immigration and Naturalization Service, which consists of two prominent collections focusing on Chinese ancestry: the Chinese Exclusion Case Files. Inventories of the case files for the Chicago and St. Paul, MN collections have been compiled.

    • Record Group 110: Provost Marshal General's Bureau (Civil War), which has content from 1861-1867, and covers material ranging from circulars, correspondence, descriptive books, general and special orders, memorandums, morning reports, musters, registers and telegrams. This collection covers the area of Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio and Wisconsin.

  • Newberry Library - Catalog
    The Newberry Library is a private research library in Chicago with an incredibly large genealogy collection, that has been growing since 1887. They hold original manuscripts and publications from all over the world, some centuries old, with an emphasis on North America.

  • Polish Genealogical Society of America
    The PGSA library is particularly known for their obituary indexes and coverage of the newspaper Dziennik Chicagoski on microfilm. Indexes to the obituaries can be found here:

 

Vital Records

Vital Records

 

Birth certificates for Cook County date back to 1878, though they were not required by state law until January 1902. Birth registers for Chicago date from 1871-1915 and contain slightly less information than a birth certificate would.

Marriage licenses are available from 1871 onward. Early marriage applications for Cook County do not contain much genealogical information.

Death certificates date back to 1878. Also, similarly to the birth certificates, there is an earlier index dating from 1871-1916; this index was previously mistaken for burial permits.

Birth and death certificates are available up to 1922, and marriage licenses to 1920. These are $6.50 each.