Saturday, September 13, 2008

Trip to the Chicago Public Library

Posted by Craig on 9/13/2008
I went to the Chicago Public Library this afternoon to register for a library card and do some preliminary nosing around for genealogy. I must say, I left disappointed...

Not because the librarians weren't helpful. Are they ever not helpful?? Librarians are some of the nicest people, and they definitely steered me in the right direction, but the fact of the matter is CPL's genealogy collection is not very extensive.

I was up on the Special Collections floor, but there's a big absence of genealogy resources there. I checked out the catalog and there only a few scattered city directories, from random years, and a few random books on how to research genealogy in Illinois and the like. It's unbelievable, really, how few resources they had there for genealogists - but maybe I was looking on the wrong floor? Most libraries I've been to, you go to Special Collections for genealogy.

The one good thing I found was online. They have a number of genealogy databases that anyone with a CPL card can access, including access to, HeritageQuest, and searchable archives for the Chicago Tribune back to the 1800's. I particularly found the Tribune archive fun to search, as I got a bunch of hits for the names HILBURGER and IGLINSKI - two names I'm researching that also pop up in Chicago records. Maybe I'll take a closer look at these families later - and who knows, in time I could link them to my family.

I have access to these databases from anywhere - as long as I punch in my CPL card info - so that's good. I'll do some looking around later and I'll post any interesting findings here later. But for the most part, the trip to the CPL was disappointing.

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