Websites for this Topic | Research guides and databases


These databases are available from outside the Library using your Carol Stream Library card and pin number.


Search archives throughout the world, including those at local institutions such as the Evanston Historical Society, the Newberry Library, and the University of Illinois at Chicago.
Ancestry Library Edition (Available from within the Library only.)
Search Federal and state census records, military records, immigration records, birth, death and marriage records, and other genealogy resources.

This collection contains complete articles from 176 daily and weekly newspapers, blogs and online sources from 125 Chicago area communities. Sources include: the Sun Times, Daily Herald, Crain’s Chicago Business and Chicago Defender.

Search full-text back to the first issues of the Chicago Tribune. Once on the basic search page, select the Historical Chicago Tribune from the Database drop-down list.
Find your ancestors in Census records, genealogies, local histories, and military records.
Search the Chicago Tribune.
Search for people and businesses including healthcare, conduct market research and discover business opportunities.



Get started

These comprehensive sites provide tutorials and research aides to introduce you to genealogy and provide access to a broad range of topics and tools.

  • is a commercial site where some data is free, but the rest is available to subscribers only.
    Cyndi Howells has created the most comprehensive listing of genealogy websites in existence. This is the first place to go, especially when researching a new topic. There is a topical and alphabetical index.
    Family Search is a service of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints and provides free access to family history, family tree and genealogy records and resources around the world.
    Fold3 provides convenient access to US military records, including the stories, photos, and personal documents of the men and women who served. Fold3 has a partnership with The National Archives, and the Library of Congress, which allows you to view a substantial amount of images.
    RootsWeb is a free genealogy site, sponsored by, which includes links to genealogy search engines and databases, and to genealogy mailing lists.

Tools to Start

Surname Searching

Type in a surname and see what you find. Much of the data from these Web sites are from secondary (compiled) sources; someone has already found information about the person(s).

Social Security Death Index (SSDI)

Search by surname for people who have died after 1962, the year the Social Security Administration began recording the death index on the computer. Birth and death information will be provided. You may also order a copy of the person’s original application for a social security card which may provide additional genealogical information.

  •’s Family Finder searches for thousands of Web sites for your ancestor. The results link you to likely matches from the Social Security Death Index (SSDI) database, Virtual Cemetery, international and passenger records, census microfilm images, and more.
    Cyndi’s list of social security death index databases online. Try them all, especially if a name you are looking for does not appear on the first site you choose. The sites vary somewhat in data that is presented and in the format.

Vital Records include birth, marriage, divorce, and death certificates.

Obituaries and cemeteries

Online obituaries are not a good source for archival material. However, more recent death notices may be found.

Census Records

One of the indices to the U. S. Census records from 1880–1920 is the Soundex system. In order to use the index you must convert the surname(s) to a letter and number code. The following sites will automatically do the name conversions for you.

Genealogy in Illinois & DuPage County
The Cook County Clerk’s Bureau of Vital Records provides online copies of non-certified versions of Cook County vital records for the purpose of genealogical research. Available records include birth records 75 years and older, marriage licenses 50 years and older, and death records 20 years and older. Records found on this site are for Chicago and Cook County dating back to 1872. The Chicago Fire of October 8, 1871 destroyed all Cook County vital records prior to that date. More than 6 million of the 8 million genealogy records are already searchable and more are being added. The database is free to search, but payment is required to download copies of the records.
The DuPage Genealogical Society’s website is a great resource, with information about DuPage County history and how to obtain local genealogical information. The Society also holds meetings, classes, and an annual conference.
The comprehensive Illinois Gen Web Project has links to genealogical sites specific to Illinois and its counties and cities.
The Illinois State Genealogical Society, with Illinois genealogy links and information about the Society’s activities.
The Secretary of State’s office offers guides and pamphlets on getting started on genealogy research in the Illinois State Archives.
The Illinois State Archives include the Public Domain Land Tract Sales Database, Databases of Illinois Servitude and Emancipation Records, various databases on Illinois veterans, the Illinois Statewide Marriage Index (1763–1900), the Illinois Statewide Death Index (pre-1916 and 1916–1950), and indexes for selected local governmental records maintained by the (Illinois Regional Archives Depositories (IRAD) system.
A genealogical information guide from the Archdiocese of Chicago tells you what records you can obtain from their archives.
A project of the Newberry Library in Chicago, the website offers a place to find and share historic information about Chicago. The Tools provided include access to historic city directories and maps.

Miscellaneous Sites
A national project staffed by volunteers culling genealogical Web sites pertaining to each of the 50 states and counties therein.
Between 1892 and 1924 over 22 million passengers and members of ships’ crews came through Ellis Island and the Port of New York. On the American Family Immigration History Center Ellis Island Web site, you can research passenger records from ships that brought the immigrants, and even see the original manifests with passenger names.
The National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) genealogy site provides general genealogy information and information about using the records that are available in NARA’s archives. Research topics include military records, immigration records, Native American records, census records, and African American research.
The USA People Search Big List of Genealogy Links provide an extensive list of online genealogy resources to get you started on your genealogy research.
A page created by Action Donation services that provides links to websites with passenger lists and pages with information about searching for this information.

Genealogical Software

The library owns the 15th edition of the Family Tree Maker computer program (call number CD-ROM/929.1/FAM), which is available for check out for a two-week loan period. This program includes a guide to getting started in genealogy. It will also help you organize your genealogy data. Family Tree Maker contains the FamilyFinder Index with more than 170 million names from the U.S. Census, as well as the Social Security death index (U.S., 1937–1997), with approximately 55 million names.   

Other computer programs for genealogy research will also help you to organize your research, print pedigree charts and family group sheets, and share your files with others via the GEDCOM (Genealogical Data Communications). These programs are available for purchase as retail or shareware; information about the different programs that are available is located on Cyndi’s List and other genealogy sites listed above.


The Carol Stream Public Library also owns books on genealogy research via the Internet that can be checked out. Books on general genealogy research are available in the nonfiction area beginning at the call number 929.1.  Books on online genealogy research are available at 929.10285.