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Chicago - What a Town!

Along Lake Michigan is the great mid-west city of Chicago, Illinois. It has served as a magnet for thousands of people to settle in and around this city for decades.  You may well have ancestors who at some time lived in Chicago.

There is an online site titled Chicago Ancestors, sponsored by the Newberry Library in Chicago which offers a variety of collections about this city.  The historic Chicago neighborhoods, churches, buildings, events and people are centered in this collection.

On the home page of the site, register free and then the full online databases are available for you to use. A big advantage to registering is that you can ‘tag’ a location found where your family may have been associated with, such as a school or business.  Then anyone else reviewing the collections will see a tie-in with that surname.

The assortment of categories include education, transportation, religious institutions, sports, buildings, crime and Chicago families. Using the top tabs with browse and search you can view the different categories and selection of collections. The tap listed as ‘Tools’ breaks down the topics into Chicago, Cook County, Illinois, and Maps.  All listed are the street guides and city directories for different time periods.  Not every year has a street guide or city directory but the period from 1866 to 1923 are covered.

A great collection you must view are the 669 postcards of Chicago from numerous time periods.  Not only with the full name and address for each postcard show but then a map to the right pin pointing where that place in the postcard is located. For example there is a great shot from a postcard of the inside of Kranz’s Candy Store which was at 78 and 80 State Street.  Or there is Little Club, a diner at 6249 So. Cottage Grove in Chicago which must have been a wonderful hang-out for any of your Chicago relatives in the 1940s.

In some of the listings in the categories like the schools, there are all named and pinpointed on a map.  Some will also have additional links to other sites with information.  The listing for cemeteries, some 23 in the Chicago area, is very helpful. With the full name and exact address and pinpointed on a map finding cemeteries is made easier. Any additional information, such when the cemetery was established or a web site will also be listed.

Any Chicago relatives, this is the site to explore.

Photo – Coolidge Hotel at Jackson and Sacramento Boulevards

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