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Showing posts from 2008

Searching Chicago City Directories at

Chicago city directories, seventy-three volumes covering 1843 to 1923, are available on and because they are fully searchable, they offer plenty of research possibilities to those who learn how to easily access them. Here's my approach: 1) Log into and select BROWSE, NEWS AND TOWN RECORDS, CITY DIRECTORIES, ILLINOIS, CITY DIRECTORIES--CHICAGO. If you want to search every year available, scroll down and type in your key word(s) in the "Search within: News and Town Records » City Directories » Illinois » City Directories - Chicago IL" box. If you want to search a specific year, read on. 2) Click on the year you want to search. Then, type the surname you're looking for into the "Search within" box at the bottom of the screen. Scroll through the results until you find one that is close to the name you're looking for. "1843 » Rhines, Henry (p. 23)" will bring you to a page that begins with Rhines, Henry. If you were loo

Two Sets of Death Certificates--1908-1915

Between 1908 and 1915, there are two sets of Chicago death certificates listed in the Family History Library Catalog. One group (the largest) is organized by "certificate number"--the number you find in the online index. The other group is organized by "register number"--the number you find in the Chicago Death Index, 1871-1933, a microfilm index. So, what's the difference between the two groups? In some cases, but not necessarily all, the record found in the register number group appears to be a copy of the original death certificate. The writing is neat and in one hand. However, I don't think all of the records in the register number group are copies. I was unable to find a death record on a certificate number film today--it seemed to be missing--and when I located the corresponding record on the register number film, the record looked to be original.

Chicago City Directories Online

More are more Chicago city directories are appearing online. A number of years are available in PDF format at (Look under the "Tools" tab. Directories are also available at This is a subscription site, but you can access it for free at Family History Centers that have the portal set up on their computers. A list of some online Chicago directories is available here:

Parent Names on Pre-1910 Infant Death Records

Chicago death certificate blanks didn't have a place to record parent names until 1910 but if you find an infant in the index under "Unknown SURNAME" it's very likely that the actual record will read "Child of Given Name and Given Name SURNAME." If you're looking for infants who were born and died between census years, it's worth checking the death records for unknown infants.